….want FG’s adherence to original mandate of HYPREP
…. we’ve recruited, deployed over 500 youths to support clean-up sites – HYPREP
The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria, ERA/FoEN, and over 20 Civil Society Organizations, CSOs, tasked the new leadership of the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project, HYPREP, on full implementation of the United Nations Environment Programme, UNEP, Assessment Report on Ogoniland in Rivers State.
Speaking during a One-day National Roundtable on the HYPREP organised by the Peoples Advancement Centre, PAC, in Port Harcourt, the Executive Director, ERA/FoE, Chima Williams, as contained in a statement signed by the Communications Officer, Elvira Jordan, pointed out that despite HYREP now has an activist as its Project Coordinator, Prof Nenibari Zabbey, the CSOs will not slow down to press for full implementation of the UNEP report.
Williams said advancing the full implementation of the report is the way out to address the devastation of the environment in Ogoniland which had left bitter taste in the lives of the people and their future, hence they will work with Prof Zabbey to achieve the objective.
He also recalled how Prof Zabbey is had campaigned for the restoration of the Ogoni environment as recommended by the UNEP and had equally published papers on how the cleanup exercise will succeed.
Meanwhile, the HYPREP Project Coordinator, Professor Nenibari Zabbey, assured that CSOs will be carried along and work together with HYPREP to ensure all identified gaps in HYPREP’s operations, and added that the abysmal five per cent of women in the agency would be addressed adequately in order for them to be at par with their male counterparts.
According to the HYPREP boss, over 500 youth have been recruited and deployed as civil security supporting clean-up sites and facilities.
He also added that mangrove restoration remains a priority under his leadership, which would pave way for the livelihood challenges of the locals to be adequately addressed.
Meanwhile, he (Zabbey) said a framework is being put in place for inclusion, community engagement and standard operating procedures within the shortest possible time to ensure that the gaps observed by Ogoni people and civil society are addressed holistically.
Earlier in an address of welcome, PAC Convener, Celestine Akpobari, explained that the essence of convening the workshop was basically to put the new leadership of HYPREP on their toes and focused on holistic implementation of the UNEP assessment.
According to Akpobari, HYPREP had deviated from its original mandate in some cases, hence the need for it to have a sense of direction as entailed in its mandate.
Meanwhile, there were some critical recommendations that the stakeholders made as contained in the statement, which one of them was for the Federal Government to strictly adhere to the HYPREP original mandate.
“The need for Federal Government to go back and adhere to the original mandate that the HYPREP was conceived to achieve, the need for a civil society liaison desk within HYPREP, the immediate need for HYPREP to carry out chemical, air and health assessments as recommended by the UNEP Assessment Report in Ogoniland and the need for the agency to address current observed staff shortages in key areas such as monitoring and operations for it to be able to deliver on its mandate, among others”, it added.[VANGUARD]