President Muhammadu Buhari, Friday, inaugurated the 2nd Governing Board Council of the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project,HYPREP and the Board of Trustees of Ogoni Trust Fund domiciled in the Federal Ministry of Environment.
The president,who explained that his action was part of his deliberate effort to create an environment for enhanced structured and focused delivery of the project, tasked members to proffer solutions to challenges affecting timely completion of the project.
In a keynote address he delivered at the inauguration ceremony in Abuja, Buhari particularly enjoined members of the council to proffer solutions to the challenges of community disruption due to land disputes, leadership tussles and unnecessary pressure on the contractors.
Represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation,SGF,Mr Boss Mustapha,Buhari regretted that the development had resulted in what he referred to as “as lost times.”
Noting that,” Though some milestones and timelines could not be accomplished circumstantially”, the president assured that “we are nevertheless determined to recover lost grounds and achieve our goals through deliberate efforts to reinvigorate our processes and the machinery of delivery.”
“In addition to your roles and responsibilities, as stated in the HYPREP Gazette of 2016, I expect you to proffer solutions to the challenges of community disruption due to land disputes, leadership tussles and unnecessary pressure on the contractors.
“If these bottlenecks are removed, work will progress freely and we will regain lost timelines,”he said.
He explained that the inauguration was informed by the Minister of Environment,who requested to “further rejig and restructure HYPREP in order to create an environment for enhanced structured and focused delivery of the Project.”
H ear him:”The Honourable Minister of Environment has informed me that remediation of polluted land is progressing in various parts ofOgoniland and I have approved his request to further rejig and restructure HYPREP in order to create an environment for enhanced structured and focused delivery of the Project.”
“Your appointment therefore, is part of this deliberate effort and I hope that you will live up to expectation accordingly,”he told members.
Going further,he said:”We have carefully and painstakingly considered your backgrounds profiles and competences in affording you the opportunity to serve in these offices.
“You are therefore being inaugurated today as Representatives of the Federal Government on the platform of HYPREP and I strongly appeal to you to take this trust bestowed on you with all sense of responsibility and commitment.
“You should see your appointment as a patriotic national duty and a clarion call to service.
“You will be required to promote transparency, propriety and integrity in the operation of HYPREP to ensure optimal and satisfactory delivery of the required services.”
The president explained that,”At its meeting held on 3rd March 2021, the Federal Executive Council approved the award of contracts for six water supply schemes at the total cost of about N6.05 billion to facilitate the provision of potable water to the impacted communities in Ogoniland, in a firm demonstration of its commitment to improving their socio-economic conditions pragmatically.”
He recalled that during his campaign tour of Rivers State in 2015, he promised the people of Ogoniland that hisgovernment, if elected, wouldensurethat the Report of the United Nations Environment Project (UNEP)wasimplementedfor thebenefits of Ogonipeople and theecosystem.
“After taking office as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and in fulfillment of my campaign promise, I flagged- off the Project for the remediation of hydrocarbon impacted Sites in Ogoniland and provision of potable water and alternative livelihoods to impacted communities on 4th June 2016 and have been monitoring implementation progress over the years,”he said.
On his part,the chairman of BoT,Mr. Mike Nwileaghi, said the inauguration of a second governing council and BOT was an indication of the president’s commitment to HYPREP.
“The preponderance of representations of Ogoni in these two boards is a clear indication of the result of the federal government to allow our people own the entire process of the project,”he said.