As MOSOP Alledges Massive Looting of the Cleanup Funds
A former member of the Governing Council of the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project, HYPREP, Legborsi Pyagbara, has attributed the failure in the cleanup of polluted sites in Ogoni land to political interference in the affairs of HYPREP. Pyagbara who served as member of the HYPREP board between 2016 to 2020 said because of the money, everybody is lobbying to be part of the HYPREP leadership
Pyagbara’s comment was coming less that 24hours after the president of MOSOP, Fegalo Nsuke stated that HYPREP has received $800million and much of the funds have been looted.
Pyagbara whose tenure was not renewed on the board of HYPREP had previously applauded the progress of work done by HYPREP in Ogoni lands.
Pyagbara made the confession during a press briefing in Port Harcourt, Rivers State to mark the 2023 edition of the World Indigenous Peoples Day.
Pyagbara, who is the Executive Director of the African Indigenous Foundation for Energy and Sustainable Development, noted noted that until the leadership of HYPREP is detached from politics, the body’s progress would remain sluggish.
He explained that the continued interference of the political class in HYPREP activities was responsible for the frequent change of its Project Coordinator.
Pyagbara also admitted that he is aware of the proplems HYPREP faces because he has been part of the system
He stated, “I am not dissatisfied with the slow pace of progress of HYPREP, having been part of some of the things, I know that there are some systemic challenges in HYPREP that we need to deal with which I have raised on several occasions.
“The constant change in the leadership of HYPREP, both as Project Coordinator and Chairman of governing council does not conduce to bring about sustainable intervention.
“In less than seven years, HYPREP has six Chairmen of governing council. We had Amina that started the process, when Amina left, Jubril took over, when Jubril left it was Zawa, after Zawa there was Mahmood, after Mahmood there was Sharon.
“After Sharon there was Abdullahi, six Chairmen in a space of seven years. So where can there be policy consistency in that sort of environment?
Pyagbara stated that everybody comes into the place with their own knowledge and understanding of how to do things, but by the time they want to settle down, they are removed and another person is brought in.
He added, “Because of the money there, everyone is lobbying every day to go to control the place. So for me that has contributed to the slow pace of work.
“Until we get it to a situation where either we are removing the Chairman of governing council from the minister and make it an appointment from outside which was the original idea on the original gazette agreed in Geneva.
“It was agreed in Geneva that the Chairman board of trustees of the Ogoni trust fund and the Chairman of governing council should be appointed from outside.
“By the time politics got into it, we’ve seen the failure of that whole process, we practiced this for six to seven years now and, we have seen the pitfalls of the current system
“So, it’s time to raise these concerns and demand for a better deal especially now that there is a bee government.”
Meanwhile, the group has called on the Federal Government to establish centres for the promotion of cultures in other to avert the disappearance of indigenous traditional heritage.[PUNCH]