By Dwelleth Morountodun
Determined to find lasting solution to the polluted environment of the Niger Delta, the Federal Government through the Minister of State for Environment, Barr. Sharon Ikeazor, on Thursday tasked the Governing Structures of the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) on the set objectives through charting a new and more efficient way of delivering on the project.
Recall that the former Minister of Environment, Dr. Mohammed Mahmood Abubakar, informed journalists not too long in Abuja, that the International Oil Companies (IOCs) operating in the Niger Delta region have contributed $1 billion to the Ogoni clean-up with substantial progress made since 2016.
The HYPREP members, according to Ikeazor, comprised of the Governing Council, the Board of Trustees, the Project Coordination Office and the Central Representative Advisory Committee.
Speaking at the sensitization retreat in Abuja, the Minister acknowledged that she had interacted with the members preparatory to the meeting in her capacity as Minister and by extension the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project.
She added that there is need to create synergy and complementarity roles for the various arms of the governing structures.
Ikeazor, said: “This will enable us to collectively chart a new, more efficient way of delivering on the HYPREP project together.
“Let me use this opportunity to introduce to all of us the newly appointed Coordinator for the Project, Dr. Ferdinand Giadom, whose appointment was officially announced on 8th March 2022 after due approval by the President Muhammadu Buhari.
“A lot is expected of you to set the project back on track and accelerate action on all deliverables in line with international best practice.
Giadom, she stressed needs the collective support of every stakeholder to succeed and his success is our success, she said.
“We are gathered here today to primarily familiarize ourselves with our different roles and to also fine-tune same into a seamless operation for the Project.
“The set goals and objectives, which is primarily to clean-up Ogoniland and provide the recommended deliverables as contained in the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Report can be easily delivered when we act as a team with a single goal.
“UNEP is facilitating this retreat and will at the discussion session clarify the different roles of each of the arms as contained in the gazette establishing the project.” The Minister said.
According to her, the governing council is empowered to manage and superintend the policies of HYPREP, provide the general policy guidelines relating to her functions.
While spelling out the functions for the body, she said: “It is necessary to state at this point that though these functions are assigned individually but are to be executed in synergy with each other to attain our goals and deliver on our mandate.
“No arm is to operate in isolation nor usurp the powers of the other or attempt to be a sole organ unto itself. We must at all times network, collaborate and inter-relate but within our limits as provided for in the gazette.
“I urge all of us to give our utmost attention to the discussions that shall go on for these two days and contribute meaningfully to the success of the retreat.”
In a remark, the Project Coordinator while soliciting the support of members, said: “Many leaders around the world have shared their visions for States, Communities and Corporations. We have seen, heard, read and visualized wonderful concepts and how they were intended to be delivered. Most often these visions often end up as mere pipe dreams. Ours will not be so.
“It is common place that the outcomes of most visions only become the rhetoric typified by glaring under performance. Some attempt to implement them and fail, others just did not have the courage to act.
“I stand here not because I am a superman but by the Grace of God. I do not have all the solutions and the antidotes to the environmental and socio-economic problems plaguing the Ogoni people.
“I stand here because I am committed to implementing the recommendations of the UNEP report to the letter. With an intent to improving the lives of the ordinary man, woman, boy and girl living in Ogoniland.
“I trained as a Geologist, an Environmental Geologist specializing in subsurface contaminant transport of petroleum hydrocarbons and other contaminants of concern, amongst other things. Furthermore, I have been involved in the conceptualization, design and execution of the largest single restoration of an oil impacted ecosystem in Sub-Saharan Africa; the Bodo Project. Which is still ongoing and has enjoyed a good measure of success.
“We are here to achieve One Goal. A purpose driven vision that is laced with the right philosophy, work ethic and culture and we shall strive to succeed.”
“We bring together our collective pool of knowledge, experience, network and determination to deliver a clean resilient and liveable environment for Ogoni people. An environment capable of delivering its ecosystem services in full; which will enhance the livelihood and wellbeing of the Ogoni people.
“To make this happen, we must be laser-focused on the goal. Engendering the support of each other and developing the kind of synergy that will fast track the implementation of well thought-through programmes that will resonate with all stakeholders.”