Ogoni clean – up: FG receives knocks over slow implementation
The Federal Government’s effort at cleaning Ogoni land and the entire Niger – Delta region remains insignificant to make any meaningful impact since the project began about two years ago.
African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development (Centre LSD), and its partner, Cordaid made the observation while expressing concern over the slow implementation of the clean – up exercise by the Federal Government.
Acting Executive Director, Centre LSD, Monday Osasah called to question the sincerity of the Federal Government while delivering his welcome address at a one day Policy Dialogue/Validation Workshop on Wednesday, 10 October, 2018 in Port – Harcourt, Rivers State capital City.
The workshop was organized to appraise the Research Report on the Operationalization of the Emergency Measures and the Clean up of Ogoni Land and the Niger – Delta by Government.
Slow implementation of the clean up exercise explains ‘politicization of the process’ he noted.
…”the Federal Government flagged-off the clean-up of Ogoni land on June 2, 2016.
“While the initiative of the flag off was applauded by citizens from across the country, the unending lull that characterized the commencement of the clean-up
Process, has left citizens in bewilderment over the actual intention of government towards the whole process.
“Agreed, some preliminary processes has started which include scoping and delineation, advertisement and pre-qualification of 140 companies to do remediation, carrying out health impact studies and provision of potable water to impacted Ogoni communities, in accordance with the procurement law of the Federal
Federal Republic of Nigeria, and just recently the approval of the escrow account by the Vice President, we feel that this level of work after over 2 years of flag off is not in any way impressive but point to as it were, the politicization of the process.
“The Minister of State for Environment disclosed that US$177million has been raised for the purpose and gave indications that the remediation of polluted sites would begin in October 2018, the veracity of the commencement action appears very difficult as citizens have repeatedly been encumbered with this type of tale since the flag off.
“The Minister few days ago also said US$23million is expected from Refineries by the end of the month, to make the total money in the account US$200million.
“While these efforts are lofty, the absence of work plan based on these efforts by the implementing agency, HYPREP makes the entire process hazy. This in fact, throws up the question of independence and who is really in charge of the entire process.
“HYPREP even though was established for the sole purpose of reversing the impact of oil related activities on the environment of the Niger Delta, and thus responsible for the clean-up, the current state of affairs points to HYPREP as a department in the Ministry of Environment and is thus subsumed by the usual bureaucracies of government.
“This in our view can constitute a bottleneck in terms of the fluidity with which HYPREP can carry out its duty functionally, which of course could be an explanation for the delay.”
According to Osasah the policy dialogue was conceptualized to bring government, citizens and other stakeholders together to examine the content of public policies and institutions that formulate and implement them with a view to examining the implementation and impact of the policies.
Specifically, the objectives were to:
- Provide a platform for interaction between citizens and policy makers and practitioners in the Niger Delta and
- Make suggestions to resolving the issues militating against operationalization of the emergency measures and the clean-up of Ogoni land and the Niger Delta, he added.
The research, Osasah disclosed, was done under the project ‘achieving a healthy and sustainable environment in the Niger Delta, supported by Cordaid and implemented by the African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development (Centre LSD).