Benin City Nigeria…The Environmental Rights Action, ERA, has asked the Federal government of Nigeria to consider the restructuring of the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project, HYPREP, so that proper clean-up of Ogoni land can take place.
Godwin Uyi Ojo, executive director of ERA who made the call to the Federal Government during an interaction with journalists and CSOs in Benin City said that with the constitution of HYPREP nine years ago, ‘it has been nine years of motion without movement, and nine years of unfulfilled promises, nine years of opaqueness and unaccountable operations by HYPREP’.
‘There is disquiet all over Ogoni and palpable discontent across the land. A wall of resistance is rising against the failing of HYPREP on a daily basis. Hence we call on the federal government to urgently restructure HYPREP because at the rate it is going, it will take them more than 100 years to complete the more complex polluted sites in Ogoni which they have not even started’, Ojo said.
Recall that on June 18, 2020 ERA/Friends of the Earth in Nigeria in conjunction with Amnesty International, Friends of the Earth Europe and MilieuDefensie of the Netherlands jointly published the NO CLEAN UP NO JUSTICE Report, a detailed investigative assessment of the current status of the Ogoni clean-up process.
According to ERA, HYPREP is bogged down by Nigerian government and SHELL bureaucratic bottlenecks, a flawed procurement process, issues of conflict of interest involving SHELL involvement in oversight functions in the governing board and board of trustees.
‘There is urgent need for the establishment of clean-up and remediation fund of US$100billion for the cleanup of the entire Niger Delta region, and the compensation of communities and individuals directly affected by over 50 years of oil extraction’, Dr Ojo said.
Against the backdrop of claims by HYPREP that it has cleaned up certain polluted portions of Ogoni land, Dr. Ojo said that an independent verification mechanism must be set up to evaluate that contractors have indeed met parameters set out in the contractual agreement with HYPREP.
‘Setting up a multi-stakeholder process to jointly define and determine success indicators and key performance indicators for the Ogoni clean-up process would be a step in the right direction’, Dr Ojo urged the government.