By Egufe Yafugborhi
Port Harcourt—THE United Nations Environmental Programme, UNEP, has said it is bad that much time has been lost on the implementation of its recommendations on the cleanup of oil polluted Ogoniland, Rivers State, since 2011.
UNEP expressed the disappointment in Port Harcourt as its reintegration progresses into the contentious cleanup exercise by the coordinating Hydrocarbon Pollution Restoration Project, HYPREP, widely being described as incapable of implementing the cleanup to UNEP’s specifications.
Coordinator of the UNEP delegation on the Ogoni Cleanup, Mike Cowing said, “We wrote the report in 2011 and highlighted the seriousness of the environmental situation in Ogoniland. We identified a number of activities we saw needed to be done.
“It is not ideal that this much time had been lost for various reasons. Whether political or with challenges of mobilising resources, it is what it is. UNEP has been reengaged this year 2019. So it is our job to help HYPREP implement all recommendations enshrined in that 2011 report.
“Time has been lost but we are looking forward to making sure it is delivered to specs and on time. We are the right organisation to come back and see if these recommendations are being implemented. Does HYPREP have the tools and resources to implement those recommendations?
“If they don’t, we are backstopping them, building capacities, training their staff, scientifically in terms of communications and of technology. So we are really backstopping HYPREP across the range of technology needed so they can actually implement this project.”