By Kelechukwu IRUOMA
FOUR months after The ICIR’s investigation on how pollution as a result of oil spills in Nigeria’s Niger Delta is silently killing the people of Ogoniland in Rivers state, the Federal Government has said it would hire six contractors to provide potable water in the affected communities.
Recall that two weeks ago, FG opened a fresh bid to select contractors to provide potable water in oil spills impacted communities in Ogoniland. Over 40 companies submitted their expression of interest to participate in the bidding for the project.
Marvin Dekil, the project coordinator, Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) said at the opening of the bid in Port Harcourt that the project was an initiative of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) report on Ogoniland.
“Today we are opening bids for six lots to six competent companies to provide potable water to various locations in the four local government areas of Ogoniland,” he said.
In 2011, UNEP recommended the provision of running water for Ogoni communities whose underground water got polluted by decades of oil spills.
Nine years after the recommendation, no action was taken by the federal government to implement the UNEP report.
Two journalists Kelechukwu Iruoma and Ruth Olurounbi released an investigative report published by The ICIR on how oil pollution and the lack of potable water in the Ogoni area contributed to the health issues of the people in the region. They visited Goi, Bodo, K-Dere and B-Dere.
Dekil said that HYPREP under the federal ministry of environment would coordinate the water projects in four local governments of Eleme, Gokana, Khana and Tai areas, covering Ogoniland to ensure early completion.
“In addition, the water that we are going to provide in Ogoni communities will meet the United Nations and World Health Organisation standards.
“Ogali, Kpean, Nsisioken, Korokoro, K-Dere and B-Dere communities in Ogoni are the communities that UNEP identified for the water projects. These communities will get the six lots in the first phase of the water project, while others will benefit from subsequent phases as we progress,” he said.