Oil spill ravages community
Former staff of the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP), Dr Zaki Ahmed- Labo and Dr. Aloysius Agunwa who were involved in an accident on May 1st 2013 at the Mbiama Bridge along East-West road, Ahoada West Local Government Area of Rivers State has not been paid any compensation for dying in active service nor have they been paid for the services they rendered.
The Ex- staffs in a statement signed by Adejoh Sam Okedi said “hundreds of the workers many recruited from the Diaspora have also suffered the same fate of not being paid.
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“The problem of HYPREP started when the Federal Government decided to implement the United Nations Environmental Report (UNEP) on the Ogoni cleanup. It founded HYPREP to commence the First Phase of the clean-up. HYPREP was therefore established on the 20th day of July 2012 as a special unit under the Ministry of Petroleum Resources. Due to the international dimension, the Ogoni-cleanup attracted, the exercise had to be handled up to international standard and so the invitation was extended to Nigerians in Diaspora to come back home and work their country. Many of them responded to the clarion call with a sense of duty to the fatherland, left secured lives and returned to render services only to be left emotionally bruised and traumatised after being disengaged without pay.
“The core group of the officers on the project were members of the Diaspora who were urged to come back home due to the Technical nature of the Project and also the high competence standard demanded at the inception of the Project. It is therefore unfortunate that most of the staff left secured jobs to come home only to be denied their earned entitlements with some losing their residency permits, families broken and mortgages recalled. The litany of woes is better imagined than experienced.
“President Mohammadu Buhari in 2016 directed the Minister of Environment set up an Inter-Ministerial Ad-hoc Committee to address the issues of outstanding salaries of staff of the defunct HYPREP with the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige as Chairman.
“On January 23, 2017, submitted its report with recommendations on how best the government should address the outstanding salaries of the defunct HYPREP. It also recommended the payment of salaries of staff of the defunct HYPREP which was graciously approved by Mr. President in June 2018, to be paid from the HYPREP funds under the Ministry of Environment.
“The approval by the President for the payment of the outstanding salaries of the defunct HYPREP Staff has not been paid.
“We call on the Project Coordinator of HYPREP to comply with the approval of Mr. President, the Approval of The Federal Ministry of Environment, the concurrent authorisation by the Governing and Board of Trustees of HYPREP by paying the outstanding salaries of the defunct HYPREP staff.”