By Lorine Emenike
Some civil society members have called for synergy between oil impacted communities and HYPREP to engender a good and speedy work process of the Ogoni clean-up.
Project officer, Energy and Climate Change at Environmental Rights Action, Mr. Kentebe Ebiaridor in company of representatives of some civil society organizations, HYPREP officials and newsmen, who were on a site visit to some oil impacted communities in Ogoni land currently undergoing remediation processes, said the basis for the site visit is to properly ascertain the level of clean-up/ remediation process work being done by HYPREP.
Ebiaridor said the visit has shown that work is going on.
“Lo and behold, I have been into field today with HYPREP, I have gone to several sites, I feel okay because the type of pollination I see there is very disturbing to my nose and my eyes, but as it is now I have seen for myself that work is going on.
“It may be slow but something is going on. They say a journey of miles, starts with a step, this step I think is in the right direction”
Referring to general remarks that HYPREP does not have much on ground, he said, “HYPREP, may not be as what we all expect it to be, but if we put our hands together and ensure that HYPREP get to where we want them to be.”
The ERA project officer commended workers at various sites of the lots, saying the process is still encouraging despite interruptions by rain.
According to him, the work may be slow, “but we must put our hands together to ensure that this process moves faster”
“I advise HYPREP to be more community engaged. There should be more interaction with the communities, just as what you have done with civil society groups, and if they have challenges, they should liaise with civil society groups. We can champion with some of these challenges for them and see how we can get the best out of this.”
He used the medium to call on other groups still in doubt of the ongoing remediation process in Ogoni land to liaise with HYPREP, civil society groups that have current information on the process, to extract updated information from newsmen conversant with the process or visit the sites rather than feed on rumours of non-implementation of the remediation process.
Also speaking, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, representative of Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Center, CISLAC, Abuja said he did not know HYPREP had done much work.
“What I saw from what has happened here today, we never believed HYPREP has gone to the level they are today. We are one of the people agitating to see what HYPREP has been doing and the level they have gotten to.”
He however identified a weak link in the process-the community engagement.
“One of challenges I think HYPREP has faced is the issue with the community people; they are giving them head-off in showing them the land where they will start remediation but at first, we thought HYPREP were the ones not working.
“I am not applauding them, but I really need to appreciate them for what they have done. I think they are really trying. The level of remediation to me, the process it took to get to this level it has, with the challenges they faced, I commend them. Remediation is already on;l they are treating the soil already,” he stated.
HYPREP communication officer, Kpobari Nafo said HYPREP is not relenting in ensuring the actualization of the clean-up project.
“We have given the assurance to Ogoni people that HYPREP is here for quality work and to ensuring that whatsoever UNEP has laid down as guidelines and standards, we are going to adhere strictly to those standards to ensure that the work that will be done as remediation in Ogoni land is done to the best international standard.”
On his part, HYPREP’s Operation Officer, Mr. Raphael Friday said, “different companies of the various lots have their own unique method of the remediation process. The treatments have actually started; treatments that will breakdown the hydrocarbons to produce carbohydrates, water and oxygen to restore soil nutrients are already on.”