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Barely few days after interest bodies in Ogoni threw accusations to the Federal Government and Shell over the claims and counter claims on whether there is actual cleanup going on in polluted areas of the community or not, the Federal Government Monday, inaugurated a Hydrocarbon Pollution and Remediation Project (HYPREP) Central Representative Advisory Committee for the clean-up of Ogoniland.
Before now, the civil societies and leading pressure group in Ogoniland, the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), have continued to accuse the Federal Government of playing politics with the project based on their observations that credible remediation works are not truly ongoing as claimed by the government since the flag off of the scheme in 2016.
In a recent interview, the European coordinator of the MOSOP, Professor Lazarus Tamana, averred that “There is no genuine program to cleanup Ogoni both by Shell and the Nigerian government,” recalling that during a stakeholders meeting with Shell in June, 2014 which held in Geneva,
“Shell made it clear that it was not ready to pay any money for cleanup of Ogoni. HYPREP has no presence in Ogoni. It is a system set up to deceive the world”.
He said he flew into the country to have a first-hand assessment of the situation in Ogoni, noting that he was shocked to hear that there was yet another spill from Shell even when the massive pollution it caused Ogoni is yet to be cleaned up.
According to him, “A highly responsible company like Shell should be worried about this kind of negative development. But it is going to two months now since the spill occurred and the company is not showing any interest of what to do to avert danger in the community. This is a way of exterminating the Ogoni people”
“With Ogoni currently being militarised, the Ogoni activist said the last resort is to undertake litigation against Shell. We will take Shell to court. The court can be anywhere. That is the last resort. Government will not listen to us. We will not allow any oil company to enter Ogoni.
“We are ready to collaborate with all genuine international organisations like amnesty international and the rest to fight our case. They are waiting patiently for us. They are ready for us. We will do all that we can legally the moment I return back to Europe”.
Prof Tamana decried that “I don’t think that the situation in Ogoni will improve for good. The Nigerian authority is not interested in the welfare of the Ogonis. The oil companies are not interested because the oil keeps flowing back to them. On February 17 or 18, 2019, a spill was noticed in the community. Shell has always been playing tricks with the community.
On the allegations and counter allegations flying around on an oil company bribing a section of the community to deepen ‘Divide and Rule’, the European based don disclosed that “I don’t have much information about that. Shell should be held responsible for all these atrocities against the Ogoni people.
“I have heard N300million, N400million. Like I said, I don’t know how true it is. There is a strong possibility that money was paid by Shell,” he alleged.
However, in his address during the inauguration of the HYPREP, the Minister of Environment, Suleiman Zarma, said in setting up HYPREP, the Federal Government was aware that in executing the clean-up project, there may arise issues from several areas that would require resolution, noting that “The committee has a mandate to act as a bridge between stakeholders, communities, and groups on all issues relating to a successful project execution.”
The minister said it was in consideration of this that it was embedded in the HYPREP Gazette that a Central Representatives Advisory Committee must be established.
A statement on the inauguration made available to our correspondent quoted Zarma as saying that “The interface between the communities and HYPREP on thorny issues arising from the clean-up project would help build a peaceful and secured environment for the successful implementation of the clean-up of Ogoni land.
In his remarks, Chairman and Project Coordinator of HYPREP, Dr Marvin Decal, assured that they would deploy their wealth of experience towards achieving their mandate.
However, efforts to get the views MOSOP and other interested Civil Society Organisations (CSO) on the latest move by the Federal Government on Ogoniland cleanup failed at press time.

By Business Hilights

Business Hilights is an online news channel conceptualized and structured to report and track on a daily basis; latest developments in critical business sectors to serve as a one stop news gateway for governments, foreign and indigenous investors.

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