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By Davies Iheamnachor, PORT HARCOURT

Leaders of Ogoni ethnic nationality in Rivers State, Gbo Kabaari Ogoni, have expressed regret over the bureaucratic bottlenecks and alleged sharp practices in the procurement process of the Hydrocarbon Pollution and Remediation Project, HYPREP.

The body in a letter to the Minister of Environment, Sharon Ikeazor, commended the minister for showing commitment in the provision of potable water, connection of the four LGAs of Ogoni (Eleme, Gokana, Khana and Tai) to the national grid, and the establishment of the centre of excellence.

The letter by Chief Monday Abueh, Chairman; Mr. John Uebari, Vice Chairman; Dr AlubaBari Nbete, General and others, urged the minister to make efforts on the speedy completion of the Ogoni clean-up project, promising cooperation of the leaders.

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It alleged that several anomalies were observed in the projects, noting that it worsened under the watch of a particular project coordinator.

The letter read: “We also wish to appeal to your good conscience to, in the same spirit of service, which you have shown, expedite actions on the actual clean-up and remediation activities in order to contain the scale of diseases and avert deaths due to hydrocarbon pollution.

“We assure you of our cooperation and support to ensure unhindered operations. Our enthusiasm is, however, blemished by a myriad of worrisome developments and anomalies in HYPREP, which are herein brought to your attention.

“In our previous letters to the Presidency and your ministry, prior to your appointment as the minister, we have expressed our concern about these anomalies, which have constituted a clog in the wheel of progress in the implementation of the recommendations of the Ogoni clean-up and remediation project coordinated by HYPREP.

“We particularly observed with dismay that the project had been encumbered by wanton multiplicity of strata of supervision and a complex governance structure, sharp practices in the procurement process, misplaced prioritization of projects, frequent replacement of the head of the Ministry of Environment (that is, the minister), unsuitability of certain appointments.”

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