HYPREP: group congratulates new coordinator, calls for probe of agency

Bori—The Ogoni Development Drive (ODD) has reacted to the appointment of Dr. Ferdinand Giadom as the new coordinator of the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP).

In a statement sent to and signed by its convener, Comrade Solomon Lenu, the group thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for listening to the passionate demand of the majority of Ogoni people.

The group appreciated Buhari for giving the full backing to the current minister in charge of the ministry of environment to discharge her duties independently and devoid of interference from some powerful vested interests.

“ODD and Ogoni people at large also wish to express our profound gratitude to the Hon. Minister of State For Environment, Dr. Sharon Ikeazor, for her doggedness to follow the path of truth and justice despite the campaign of calumny against her person and her office, simply because she said the right things must be done in HYPREP.

“We want to also congratulate the newly appointed Project Coordinator of HYPREP, Dr. Ferdinand Giadom, on his meritorious appointment.

“Grace found you, and this we know because we were also aware of all the in-fighting against you while you served as the UNEP rep for the project because you had wanted the right things to be done at all times. Now you can be that shining light and holy grail Ogoni people had been waiting for.

“We want to extend our compliment to all those who supported us openly and covertly in the course of this battle.

“We thank our elites who supported us from the sidelines, our royal fathers who prayed for our safety, and the few Ogoni youths who were not bought over with peanuts but stood their grounds and openly matched with us all the way to this victory. We want to say thanks to you all for you already have a special date with history.

“To all the big men of Ogoni, and Ogoni contractors in HYPREP who felt slighted by the actions of ODD in the course of the battle to bring this project coordinator home from the north, we sincerely apologize for whatever embarrassment or perceived loss of revenue our actions may have caused you, it wasn’t intentional.

“It was just a means to bring the project closer to our people, and thank God we did,” the statement reads.

The statement reminded the new coordinator that Ogonis have an expectation from the project because of the quantum sacrifice they made to bring about this project.

ODD further stated that it will not hesitate to demonstrate on all fronts if genuine people’s orientated programmes and tangible projects are not seen.

“We want to see that the pace and direction of the project are changing for the better to the initial direction of the recommendations of the United Nation Environmental Programme UNEP.”

The group stated that it did not only protest for an Ogoni son or daughter to head HYPREP but also to enshrine corruption-free sustainable development, transparency, and effective leadership.

The statement added that Ogonis must feel the impact of HYPREP to the remotest part of the land, saying that the heat and the stereotyping from the Ogoni struggle back then affected everyone, hence the ancillary benefits should also go round to all.

“We understand that the environment must be cleansed, but beyond cleaning the environment is the issue of improving the livelihood of the people.

“This is because of the symbiotic relationship between man and his environment, which has made it impossible to annex one from the other.

“The current HYPREP management should make a concerted effort to look into the livelihood programmes with honesty as recommended in the design of this project because if that is not done, the people will continue to pose a threat to the environment and the environment a threat to the people.

“This is not what we want, therefore; there should be a sincere renaissance to this aspect of the project as we proceed,” the group urged.

ODD revealed that they did not just fight to get an Ogoni man as HYPREP coordinator for ethnicity sake, but because they felt pained by the injustice of neglect and manipulation against the Ogoni people, by abandoning a people with the most requisite qualifications and in need of the same opportunity to sojourn abroad to bring in an outsider to head such sensitive project.

The statement charged the new coordinator to justify the group’s clamour by setting an unbeatable record and precedence that will be difficult to vacate soon as far as environmental remediation work is concerned.

“We do not just fight for the fun of it, after all, there is no pleasure on the battlefield, but look closely whenever you find Ogoni man fighting, for beneath the surface there must be a clear case of injustice.

“And because we are a distinct group of people who are allergic to oppression because we have lived so long with it, and as a people whom God has elected to champion the course of justice amongst the black race, that is why our name is synonymous to struggles for justice.” 

The statement urged Ogonis to take pride in every genuine struggle they champion so that history and posterity will be kind to them. 

ODD thanked those who have served in various capacities on the project in the past, especially the first coordinator, Dr. Marvin Dekil, and Prof Philip Shekwolo.

The group urged the newly appointed coordinator upon resumption to immediately relocate the corporate office of HYPREP from Port Harcourt back to Bori the traditional headquarters of the Ogoni people.

According to the group, Ogoni is at peace today and there is no conceivable justification for which HYPREP considering the humongous rent being paid in the Rivers capital and the economic benefit of relocating it to Bori.

While thanking the press corps of Rivers state and their media partners across the nation, they called for a thorough probe of the agency over allegations of financial mismanagement.

“We understand that a process to probing the financial incongruity in HYPREP has already begun, we want to urge the ministry of environment to find the courage to press on until all misappropriated funds are recovered and those responsible brought to book because only that can serve as a deterrent to save and also put the project on the right track for success.

“It is expedient at this point to redeploy all the “UNIT HEADS” who have served out and overstayed their statutory recommended period in HYPREP,” the group demanded.

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