By Oscarline Onwuemenyi & Yemie Adeoye
ABUJA – President Goodluck Jonathan on Friday, approved the setting up of a Hydro-Carbon Pollution Restoration Project, HYPREP, a step taken in furtherance of the Federal government’s commitment to implement the United Nations Environment Programme, UNEP Assessment Report on the spill disaster in Ogoni land.
The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, who announced this in a press conference in Abuja, told journalists that the setting up of HYPREP by Mr. President is in keeping with the Federal Government’s determination to protect the environmental human rights of the people.
According to her, the project shall implement the recommendations of the UNEP report on Ogoni land as well as investigate, evaluate and establish other hydrocarbon impacted sites and make appropriate recommendations.
She noted that, “With the establishment of this project, it is expected that all stakeholders, especially the impacted communities, will cooperate fully with Government and grant unfettered access to all impacted sites to ensure complete success.”
She solicited the cooperation of all stakeholders especially community leaders to ensure the effective implementation of the programme.
Alison-Madueke further announced that the Presidential Investigation Committee originally set up to consider the report would “move into an advisory capacity, with the Minister of Environment as its head. This committee would be working with UNEP to implement the report,” she added.
Recently, the Council of Ogoni Traditional Rulers had lamented the apparent neglect by the Federal Government, even as it disclosed that thousands of children in the community are found to be suffering from cancer and other deadly diseases from exposure to contaminated water and food as a result of oil spill from activities of oil companies in the area.