The National Coordinator of the Hydrocarbon Pollution Restoration Agency (HYPREP) Mrs Joy Nunieh-Okunnu has recently claimed HYPREP’s achievements in Ogoniland. Nunieh-Okunu claimed that the rejuvenation and restoration of mangrove has began in Ogoni.
In a typical Nigerian style, she was full of praises for the Petroleum Minister, Diezani Madueke for the establishment of a restoration department in the ministry. She talked about the minister’s achievements which she describes remarkably. Of course, she needs to keep her job by playing “sycophancy”.
However, Mrs Nunieh-Okunnu’s recent utterances throws up some pertinent questions within a widely acknowledged corrupt Nigeria for when lies, deception, corruption and praise singing and thrown up in any organization, then one can smell a rotten rat difficult to evacuate.
HYPREP has to answer two important questions:
1. Is $1Billion dollar not at risk of been wasted or channeled to the pockets of Nigerian politicians under the supervision of HYPREP?
2. Which companies have been involved in the restoration work in Ogoniland and who are the directors of these companies.
The simple answer to the first question is that HYPREP must make public, the steps and procedures used in the Ogoni restoration project and the milestones expected to be achieved or already achieved. It is the right of the Ogonis to know what HYPREP is doing outside helping Shell to campaign against oil theft.
Secondly, HYPREP has been widely acknowledged as corrupt – a key reason attributed to the interest of politicians in the organization and the much clamoring for the release of funds.
Without doubt, if HYPREP gets $100Billion dollars in the present circumstance, the likely result will be for the organization to help Shell cover-up spillage sites in Ogoniland and the money will end up in people’s pockets.
If HYPREP claims the allegations of corruption are untrue, then let her publish a list of her contractors for public scrutiny. Yes! HYPREP has to do this because the organization has lost public confidence especially in Ogoni which is suppose to be her primary focus.
In the circumstance, it will be proper for the Ogoni clean-up funds to be safely kept by the government and funding partners until HYPREP’s credibility and transparency is restored.
The work of HYPREP will require proper supervision by a credible organ such as the United Nations Environmental Propgramme, the agency which conducted the Ogoni environmental audit in Ogoniland.
The Ogoni people should be allowed to participate the process and a weekly report on HYPREP’s activities will have to made public to build the confidence of the Ogoni in the organization.
These measures are required to ensure that HYPREP is not swallowed up by corruption, Shell’s lies and deception.