A group, the Ogoni Peoples Assembly (OPA), has warned United Nation Environmental Programme (UNEP) not to collaborate with Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) in award of remediation consultancy contracts to foreign firms competent indigenous company can handle.
The group also called on Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) to provide an immediate relief materials as well as compensation to residents of Bodo community affected by oil spillage from its ruptured Trans National Trunk Line in Benbon Bodo, Gokana local government area of Rivers State.
The oil spillage which occurred a couple of weeks ago is yet to be clamped up by Shell.
The group in a press statement issued in Port Harcourt on Thursday by its Leader, Reverend Tom Probel Williams, and Secretary General , Dr. Evidence Ep-aaBari Enoch, berated the federal ministry of environment and the Bureau of Public Procurement for allegedly not considering local content in the award of contracts.
Reverend Probel said the Ministry of Environment and its agencies must understand the peculiarities of Ogoni and HYPREP in arriving at project specific tendering templates saying that single source and waivers must be factored in to encourage the 60% Ogoni content as was obtainable in Bodo -BMI-Embassy of Netherlands.
Reverend Probel said that the Ogonis want an immediate suspension and review of all awards being packaged by HYPREP, BPP and UNEP in the ongoing 37 remediation and 14 water projects adding that so much evil is being orchestrated against Ogoni people if not nipped in the bud.
He pointed out that dichotomy policy respecting right of first choice as is tenable in North East development commission (NEDC ) must be institutionalized as to carry along the indigenous people of Ogoni whose environment were destroyed by oil pollution.
He said, “It is quite sad to note that the quality of the water sourced from the on-going water supply infrastructure projects in Ogoni does not meet local Nigerian standard, not to talk of World Health Organisation (WHO) Hence the Ogoni people continue to drink Benzene polluted water even from recent HYPREP water schemes. A right of first choice and 60:40 Ogoni-non-Ogoni quota for all job awards in HYPREP must be institutionalized as a matter of affirmative action. We will deny access to Ogoni if a 60% fair share of the 51 lots doesn’t get to Ogoni.
“A comprehensive reassessment of all over 1000 spill incidents in Ogoni with a view to reviewing all budgets and costs in line with current realities and international best practices. Environmental assessment for polluted sites are only tenable for 3 years after which the dynamics of change would have altered the veracity of results. By fair calculation if 1billion USD can clean 69 sites in Ogoni as against 30billion in the Gulf of Mexico, then the magicians of Ogoni should at least be allocated at least 15billion USD to clean 1000 spill incidents. We demand an upward review of the project cost”
“All livelihood, empowerment, surveillance contracts and training programmes of HYPREP MUST be implemented immediately as all aspects of the recommendations including but not limited to emergency measures, restoration, wetlands, ground-water remediation, artisanal refiners integration, livelihood, Center of Excellence, and Integrated Contaminated Soil Management Centre must commence now, or HYPREP must be shut down pending full implementation .”
The group therefore issued a 7-day ultimatum to the Federal Ministry of Environment, HYPREP and all the relevant stakeholders in the Ogoni cleanup to reverse all the policy actions it has taken that does carry along the indigenous people of Ogoni and warned that it will consider stopping all oil exploitation activities in the area.
“May we not be forced to declare PERSONA NONGRATA on all oil and gas operations in Ogoni including ongoing SHELL and oil pipeline transport to Bonny through Ogoni.
Nobody will be allowed to dance on the graves of the Environmental Martyrs of Ogoni, killed by the instruments of state for rightfully demanding their environmental justice and right to live,” the group warned.
HYPREP Project Coordinator, Dr Ferdinand Giadom last week unveiled a power and hospital project for the Ogoni communities.
He said that the project is part of HYPREP projects aimed at bringing sucour to the residents of Ogoni affected by oil pollution.