By Davies Iheamnachor
The Environmental Right Activist, Nnimmo Bassey, has stated that the environmental pollution in Ogoni ethnic nationality in Rivers State and the Niger Delta environment was facing systematic neglect by authorities.
This is just as the KEBETKACHE Women Development & Resource Center, has lamented the continuous delay in the cleaning up of Ogoniland by the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project, HYPREP.
Bassey the Director of the Ecological Think Tank Health of Mother Earth Foundation, who spoke as one of the panellists at a virtual conference held on Webinar, weekend, to review the process and implementation of the UNEP report in Ogoni, organized by KEBETKACHE in collaboration with Cordaid, said the money was not a problem in the clean up of Ogoni and the entire Niger Delta.
Bassey, who made his presentation on an overview on HYPREP activities stated that environmental pollution across the Niger Delta region is a systematic problem, stressing that finance is not a problem.
He said: “The environmental pollution in the Niger Delta is now a systematic problem. Finance is not the problem of the situation.
“But the pollution in the region has remained as a result of systematic neglect 1 billion dollars has been earmarked within the first five years of the commencement of the clean up which has been paid through a joint venture contribution, and the money deposited in the Trust Fund.”
Also, Comrade Celestine AkpoBari, who recounted the achievement of HYPREP, noted that from the process of setting up the Board of Trustees, to awarding of contracts, that there has been a cumbersome process and not a mean feat.
AkpoBari reiterated that at this stage of the project, finance is not an issue but decried the slow pace of work at the lots as none of the 21 contractors has yet completed their contract.
He said: “It is not fair to say nothing is happening in HYPREP. Setting up the BOT and the duplication of committees and the intrigues that played before we get to this point can be counted as achievements.
“I won’t say money is the problem, money is not the problem, but the pace of work is slow. I urge the Project Coordinator to step up his game because I don’t see why treatment of the polluted soil cannot run simultaneously with the provision of potable water.”