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Ogoni Oil Spill: Floundering Clean-up roadmap and tales of anguish of oil communities

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By Blessing Ibunge

THE Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project, HYPREP, under the Federal Ministry of Environment, was charged with the responsibility “to ensure full environmental recovery and restoration of Ogoni ecosystem for Ogoni people and other impacted communities. Six years down the line, Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt, reports that while the roadmap to that clean-up is floundering, the communities are still reeling in pain and anguish over the damage done to their lives and ecosystem 

The Ogonis are a people in the Rivers South-east senatorial district of Rivers State. With its over 2 million residents in the Niger Delta community, their running battles with oil spill and its attendant environmental consequences have negatively affected Ogoniland.

According to records, four years before Nigerian Independence, Royal Dutch/Shell, in collaboration with the British government, found a commercially viable oil field on the Niger Delta and began oil production in 1958.

In a 15-year period from 1976 to 1991 there were reportedly 2,976 oil spills of about 2.1 million barrels of oil in Ogoniland, accounting for about 40 per cent of the total oil spills of the Royal Dutch/Shell company worldwide.

In Ogoni, virtually all the oil wells operated by multi-national companies commonly experience spillage. The oil wells, the pipelines and other facilities like manifold routinely spill crude petroleum substances in large scale and at disturbing frequencies.

The ownership of these wells, pipelines, and related facilities are generally spread among Shell Petroleum Development Company, (SPDC), the Petroleum Pipelines Marketing Company, (PPMC), the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, (NNPC), and the Department of Petroleum Resources, (DPR). Often, the incidents of spillage are traced to sabotage or equipment failure.

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Consequences

Because of oil spills, oil flaring, and waste discharge, the soil is no longer viable for agriculture. Furthermore, in many areas that seemed to be unaffected, groundwater was found to have high levels of hydrocarbons or were contaminated with benzene, a carcinogen, at 900 levels above WHO guidelines.

Fanfare about Cleanup

So in 2016, when the federal government made a fanfare of its agenda for a cleanup of oil spillage in Ogoni, it bore the marks of a major media event. President Muhammadu Buhari promoted the planned event with uncharacteristic energy, promising that the project was a priority. The media was awash with commentaries that highlighted the event as a departure from previous government’s marking a milestone for the new administration. A date was set and communities across Ogoni were agog in anticipation.

A few days to the scheduled date, President Buhari flew out of the country obliging Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to flag off the event. The locals turned up jubilant, offering praises to the government. In the euphoria of the moment, the federal government set up the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project, (HYPREP), under the Federal Ministry of Environment, charged with the responsibility “to ensure full environmental recovery and restoration of Ogoni ecosystem for Ogoni people and other impacted communities.”

Initial Report

Prior to the clean-up attempts, the United Nation Environment Programme (UNEP) initiated the investigation and assessment of the situation in Ogoni. The exercise lasted about 18 months with its report released to the federal government on August 4, 2011. The report marked a watershed in charting a roadmap to addressing the perennial Ogoni environmental disasters.

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For instance, the report established that commercial oil activities in the manner and at the scale it was going presented an existential threat to indigenous communities particularly in respect to sustainable livelihoods from natural and environmental ecosystem. It pointed to stark environmental disasters on land, aquatic life, and the mangroves.

All these, according to the report, were polluted, completely destroyed, or altogether blighted. Disconnected from the natural resources such as farmlands, fishing areas, and agencies for production of herbal remedies, the indigenous people of oil-bearing communities despaired and turned restive.

The report recommended a restoration of the environment, remediation of the land, including the construction of integrated soil management centre for excavation and treatment of soil. It called for a comprehensive health audit on the indigenous people. It further recommended for alternative means of livelihood for the people as well as training for new skills for the youths. Several communities spanning four Local Government Areas, including Eleme, Gokana, Khana, and Tai in Rivers state find themselves in this situation.

Floundering Implementation

Expectedly, HYPREP was called upon to implement the key recommendations of the UNEP report. The lingering, even cruel environmental neglects in the oil rich Niger Delta had given rise to the prolonged anti government militancy of the youths. At the onset of the project, over 21 contractors were selected for different levels of the clean up. But rather than douse tension, the very presence of the contractors seems to have engineered a contrary emotion in Ogoni communities. Excitement and jubilation that heralded the flag off ceremony petered out so dramatically.

Activities of contractors at the clean-up sites became subjects of renewed acrimony and agitation by the communities.

For instance, across the Ogoni communities, many people do not seem to have any confidence in the technical competence of the contractors. Ostensibly, enormous funds had already been expended on the projects by government but the communities insist they have not seen any pronounced change in their condition. The air did not offer them a fresh breath, the blighted mangrove vegetation did not show new life, the water in the streams did not wash away the oil coating on its surface neither did the soil return offer any promise of fertility.

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Eco project Services

THISDAY visited the clean-up sites in July, 2022 and was unable to meet any of the contractors on site. There were security personnel on the sites visited. At lot nine at Sanaako Mogho Gokana LGA, the contractor, Odun Environmental Ltd had evacuated from site. Also, at lots 10 and 11 Debon Mogho/Bodo Gokana, the contractors” Rey and Reina International Ltd and Mosvinny Nigeria Ltd have also left sites with their equipment, including the signpost indicating the contractors on sites.

At lots 13 and 14, Nweekol Zorbuike K-Dere, Gokana, the contractors; Centinnial Investment and Development Ltd and Navante Oil and Gas Company Ltd have all removed their equipment from sites and left. At lots 13 and 14 some of the makeshift (temporary houses) were seen but no personnel was at the supposedly remediated sites.

Ogoni cleanup
Concluded remediation sites in K-Dere and Bodo communities, Ogoniland

Officials of government hold the position that the contractors had completed their job satisfactorily, but community dwellers and independent monitoring team have repeatedly challenged this position.

According to a recent HYPREP report on the status of work done on phase 1 of remediation lots: “as at July, lots 9, 10 and 14 have been successfully completed with National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) certification processes.” It stated that work had equally been completed on lots 11, 12 and 13, but NOSDRA closeout sampling was being awaited.

Renewed Oil Spill in Bodo Community

Aside growing dissatisfaction with the quality of work at the clean-up sites, new cases of oil spillage continue to be reported. There is the case of Deebon-Bodo community in Gokana LGA where residents woke up on August 31, to notice a very heavy oil spill within their surroundings. This latest incident, according to residents, is the fourth large scale occurrence of spillage in the community within a month’s interval.

The burst was on the trans Niger pipelines located on Sugi, Deebon and Kol-naana river.

THISDAY visited the affected areas early in September and observed a large expanse of land space covered in dark, greasy mass of sticky substance. Residential houses and farmlands were seen soaked in the sticky substance emitting from a heated pipeline. The air was thick with gaseous elements and this reporter choked and sweated under this heavy spell.

Mr. Vikere Godfrey, an indigene of Debo-Bodo, who spoke with THISDAY lamented the people’s suffering pointing out that they had nowhere to run to. “It is unfortunate the way we are suffering, what is happening to us and the federal government is not giving us any listening ear as if we are not human beings. Many of us are already sick because of the contamination of the air and water.

“You see our houses are soaked with oil. We cannot cook inside the house so we have to go elsewhere and find refuge.” Mrs Charity Ghana, a native of Bodo also spoke with THISDAY, declaring that her people have been displaced from their ancestral land. “We are dying now. Our children and everybody in the community are not safe.”

Dr. Douglas Fabeke, President of Ogoni Liberation Initiative (OLI), said that the incident was a pointer to the displeasure of the communities with the whole exercise by government. He argued that what the communities desire was a “comprehensive clean-up of Ogoni land and the decommissioning of the decayed facilities of the SPDC.”

Fabeke expressed indignation at the risks communities were being steadily exposed to as a result of these, including the risk of fire outbreak and community displacement to uncertain lives. He also expressed displeasure with the lack of compassion and proactive steps by SPDC and HYPREP in managing the disasters.

“We state that if the spill of 2nd August, 2022 was immediately curtailed, the reoccurring spill of 24th August, 2022 would not have occurred”.

Worrisome Health Emergencies

Were the communities expecting too much from the government and the contractors? Dr. Abraham Olungwe, a general medical practitioner at Omas Medical Centre and Maternity, Ogale Eleme shared his concerns on the escalating pattern of health emergencies in Ogoni communities. He callee for urgent intervention. “Where you have crude and refined products leaking, polluting an area, it does not only end with the devastation in the localised environment, it heats up and evaporates into the atmosphere.”

Dr. Abraham Olungwe
Dr. Abraham Olungwe, a general medical practitioner at Omas Medical Centre and Maternity, Ogale Eleme

He attributed this condition to cases of surge in “respiratory health” challenges being experienced by the community people. “In most cases we have found cases of respiratory track (ailments) with patients, sometimes we do culture, sensitivity and you don’t find one particular organism.” He did not discount the possibility that these hazardous environment was responsible for “widespread cases of respiratory track disorder” as well as related clinical cases “in the kidney, in the heart and the lungs.”

“There is no system that is spared. There is no doubt that the cancer rate is on the increase. Cancer is an illness that is difficult to just define the pathology, because the normal tissue suddenly behaves abnormally, the cells now grow out of control of the body system. With all the pollution, you cannot rule out that some of them are the (direct outcome) of what is emitted into the air, responsible for the increase in cancer cases that are happening around here.

He recalled that during the UNEP study tour in Ogoni area, they were actually getting fishes and they were testing them and finding out that things were not normal. He concluded that people were dying without any detailed data on the causes of the problem. He called on HYPREP to expedite action in bringing relief to the people, reminding that part of what they were expected to do was to assess the health status of the people.

Independent Monitoring Team Expresses Worry with Clean-up

An independent civil society monitoring team on the Ogoni clean-up, the Stakeholder Democracy Network (SDN), in conjunction with Centre for Environment and Human Rights Development (CEHRD) on August 31, 2022, issued a statement lamenting the likely subversion of UNEP’s recommendations, a situation it warned would worsen the pollution and put more lives at risk in Ogoni.

The independent monitoring team acknowledged “some progress” but decried its “slow” pace, affirming nevertheless that it “found contaminants above set thresholds” at more than 25 percent of sites already certified by government agents as completed as at December 2021.

It warned of the likelihood of “a significant risk of secondary contamination caused by poor practice among some contractors, such as the potential for leaching from contaminated soil exposed to rainfall over an extended period at bio cells. Furthermore, analysis for our upcoming report (covering January – June 2022), suggests the situation may be worse than we have reported so far.”

The team, accordingly, offered a chilling sample. “To the end of 2021, we had only sent samples for analysis at local laboratories, none of which have the international ILAC accreditation. We recently sent 20 duplicate samples to an ILEC accredited laboratory in the UK; of the 16 samples which had Total Petroleum Hydrocarbon levels above detection limits, UK laboratory analysis reported TPH levels which were on average twice as high as that reported by local laboratory analysis.”

Calvin Laing, Executive Director of SDN expressed shock that people could be putting other considerations above the lives of generations of Ogoni people. “People in Ogoniland have lived for decades with the health risks from extensive oil pollution and the loss of livelihoods from environmental damage, this should be the first and foremost concern of everyone involved in the clean-up.”

He specifically called out HYPREP on this. “There are problems with the Ogoniland clean up and everyone involved should be interested in solving them. Reports that HYPREP’s budget has increased nearly nine-fold this year emphasise the urgent need for greater transparency, and to ensure the competency of contractors and the implementation of effective clean-up techniques. We are eagerly awaiting the HYPREP audit recently ordered by President Buhari, which is a step towards this.”

Florence Kayemba, Programmes Director, SDN, in re-echoing similar concern stated that “from SDN’s perspective, UNEP has provided valuable technical assistance and oversight to the clean-up, and after decades of sub-standard response to oil spills in the Niger Delta region, their presence has helped build confidence in the potential for a credible clean-up. We are also deeply concerned that their departure at the end of 2022 will reduce the level of support to HYPREP and put the quality of the clean-up at risk.”

SDN, accordingly, implored the Minister of Environment, Barr.Mohammed Abdullahi, and HYPREP to “work with Ogoni communities, UNEP and civil society, to agree to the reforms required to ensure we can all work together to ensure a timely, high-quality, effective clean-up of oil spill pollution in Ogoniland.”

HYPREP’s Reaction 

THISDAY sought to speak with the Coordinator of HYPREP, Dr. Ferdinand Giadom to explain the process of selection of the contractors as well as the awards given the complaints about their technical competency as well as the disparity in the assessment metrics of remediation results by government agents and independent monitors. However, HYPREP has insisted that all the awarded remediation sites to contractors were done based on provisions of the Public Procurement Act, that the contractors met the statutory requirements as provided by the law.

The agency’s Head, Communications, Kpoobari Nafo, spoke to THISDAY in Port Harcourt, stating that HYPREP had engaged about 1000 community people in the clean-up exercise. He claimed that 15,000 Ogoni youths have equally been trained.

“As of today, (Friday, September 9, 2022) HYPREP has trained, certified, and engaged over 1,000 community people in environmental remediation who with the certification that they have can work on similar project else to earn a living. In the area of our alternative livelihood programme, we have trained 15,000 youths in fabrication of cassava processing machines and also empowered them with welding kits.

“We have trained 400 Ogoni women in various skills – poultry farming, feed formation, cropping, fish farming. They had been organised into cooperatives and are doing well in their businesses. We are right now about to start another round of training for 10,000 Ogoni people. We are also about to commence the training of 400 youths in the four high pay skill areas of seafaring, mechatronics, aviation, and entertainment”.

Nafo explained that following the delay in the implementation of the UNEP report which lasted for about 6 years, there was need to tackle the issue of emergency measures alongside remediation.

According to him: “the UNEP report was submitted to the Federal Government of Nigeria in 2011. It was however not until 2017 before the report was implemented. A time lapse of about six years. To regain lost time the emergency measures had to be implemented along remediation. Remediation and provision had to run concurrently since one was not the input for the implementation of the other. It has only hastened the pace of the project instead of waiting for water to be completed before going into remediation. So even the polluted sites had also become an emergency that had to be attended quickly.”

He responded to the reports that the contractors lacked the necessary technical capacity to handle such job.

According to him: “HYPREP awards contracts based on the provisions of the Public Procurement Act. What that means is that companies that get HYPREP contracts must satisfy the regulatory and statutory requirements of the law and once that is met you cannot deprive them of the contract or else you will fall foul of the law. As for complaints against work done, the individual laying the complaint must be knowledgeable of environmental remediation. It is a specialized area and so the critic must have the skills and tools with which to assess the quality of work done”.

However, a recent publication by HYPREP Herald, an in-house journal of the agency, the account of the status of the clean-up as well as procedures followed by government in certifying a cleaned site: “The two batches of remediation contracts already awarded were a product of 20 of the 65 sites.

“These 20 sites are divided into 50 Lots (21 for batch 1 and 29 for batch 2) for ease of contracting and remediation. …We have successfully completed the remediation of 48 of these 50 Lots and for which the (NOSDRA) has issued certificates of close-out for 21 of them.

“The NOSDRA sampling procedures that led to the eventual certification of these 21 Lots were closely monitored by external and independent organizations like the Rivers State Ministry of Environment, Stakeholder Democracy Network (SDN), the Centre for Environment Human Rights and Development (CEHRD) among others.”

It gave the details of the procedures to include sampling, testing and analysis for the soil, the and groundwater. It therefore contended that the issuance of certificates of close-out on the 21 Lots by NOSDRA was done in recognition of the satisfactory fulfilment by HYPREP and its contractors in regards to the requirements prescribed in the NOSDRA.

The HYPREP publication confirms that nothing significant has been done in actualising the key recommendation point of health impact study “to determine the effect of hydrocarbon on the health of impacted communities.” It stated that “we are in talks with the Institute of Advanced Medical Research and Training of the University of Ibadan and the African Centre of Excellence for Public Health and Toxicological Research of the University of Port Harcourt in preparation for the take-off of the study.

“At the last meeting with officials of the two Institutes, modalities were put in place to merge them into one Study Team. Their terms of Reference will be to conduct the Ogoni Public Health Studies as well as develop a health registry in Ogoni. The group is expected to be officially engaged by the last quarter of the year for them to commence work early next year.”

The condition of Ogoni, its environment and people has a history of neglect and anger. That history has accounted for decades of criminal environmental neglect, disease, displacement, anger, frustration, agitation, militancy and deaths. But it created the Ogoni Bill of Rights which demanded for political autonomy, adequate representation in government and the restoration of the Ogoni environment.

It is a major concern to many that about five years since the flag off of the Ogoni clean-up, that the health emergency issues that was expected to be accorded a priority by HYPREP has not even taken off. HYPREP instead of going first with the emergency measures, started with remediation. The water they were supplying at Eleme, for instance, was not a sustainable. They were busy awarding contracts for clean-up whereas people were left in grave risk to health emergencies.

Tales of Woe

Dr. Patience Osaroejiji, an environmental advocate and resident of Eleme, told THISDAY that the environmental pollution in Ogoni has adversely impacted on the lives of women in the communities by disconnecting them from the land and water, rendering them unproductive, without support from any source.

When indigenous community people are disconnected from their farms and the streams and are therefore unable to fish or engage in any productive enterprise, they generally become idle and steadily get inclined to criminal tendencies. Dr. Osaroejiji has indeed described the clean-up exercise as a scam not intended to address the livelihood of the communities.

“There are a lot of dangers that are happening to us the Ogoni women in our land. There is so much hunger, there is poverty and the worst of it is that men do not have any livelihood here, our children finished school no job for them. So the women who take care of the home, they don’t have the livelihood again.

She complained that women were not involved in whatever it was that was going on and accused the government of reneging on its promise to pay the youths N150, 000 monthly. She lamented the lack of access to potable water in the communities, particularly in Ogale and Alode. She said there was fear in the community due to high incidence of deaths among the women.

Polluted Goi community
Polluted Goi community

In Goi community in Gokana, it may seem not captured in the UNEP report, but the community is already deserted as a result of heavy pollution both in their water and land.

The Paramount ruler of the community, Mene Stephen Kobani told THISDAY that his community has been forgotten, that they have been living as refugees.

“The Goi environment is still as polluted and as bad as when oil spill took place. All the chains of oil spill have taken place as far back as 2004, 2008, 2009 and so on. This place is still polluted. Nothing has happened, nobody has come to clean-up and we were aware of the UNEP report to clean-up all those areas and all that has to be done for us to return to our community.

“At a time there was a billboard by HYPREP that the place is highly contaminated and unfit for human habitation and that we should now evacuate, we left quite right because nobody wants to die in that environment.

“Till now no effort has been made to clean up. When HYPREP started, we sent a delegation to HYPREP to come and clean up the place. They said they want to start from the softer surface on the land and that when it is time for them to go to the seashore and offshore they will come. But till now we are still waiting for them. Life has been very difficult for us but we cannot kill ourselves. We had to find a way to survive. There is no effort done by anybody to make sure we feel comfortable where we are. No support, so we are on our own and that is the tragedy of the Niger Delta.

“We are all scattered in different communities in Gokana; some of us are in Bodo, some people are in K-Dere, B-Dere, Mogho, Biara, we are all spread over all the communities in Ogoniland. As for support from anybody on the livelihood they spoke about, we have not heard anything from anybody. When you don’t have anything to survive on, is the tendency that you will be pushed by hunger to go back to the polluted environment to fish the contaminated fish, and cultivate on the polluted environment”.

At K-Dere with Lots 13 and 14, THISDAY spoke with Erabamabari Kobah, a native of K-Dere and environmental scientist.

Erabamabari Kobah
Erabamabari Kobah, a native of K-Dere and environmental scientist.

Kobah believes that there is no transparency in the clean-up exercise and that the project could as well be seen as a way to compensate individuals who are connected to people holding high office in government.

“When you talk about the clean-up operation in Ogoni, especially the one in K-Dere, is actually a hard situation when you have knowledge about what ought to have been done and you compare that with what is happening and you now look at those actors who are involved, it pains me to note that in this generation such abysmal standard of operation can continue to go on without any consequence.

“That spill occurred in 2006 in lots 13 and 14 in K-Dere, at that time Prof Philip Shekwolo was the Head of Remediation Operation in Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC). So he personally awarded the contract, supervised it, and procured certification from NOSDRA.

He said that nobody knew the situation of that place until UNEP came to carry out the investigation with its assessment revealing that the place had been heavily impacted. The ugliest situation, according to him, was that the contractor (company) that handled the clean-up for Shell at that time was owned and operated by Dr. Marvin Dekil who awarded the contract of that same site under HYPREP.

He accused HYPREP, Prof Philip and Dr Marvin of acting primarily to enrich themselves on the suffering of Ogoni communities. He said both men found themselves in HYPREP awarding contract for a site they had certified as clean to a new contractor to do the same work they did previously.

“We say it is an opportunity for them to get it right if they did not get it right then. Sad to say under their supervision, the same substandard work that happened is what is going on. First of all the contractor does not seem to have the capability to be able to handle the site because it is supposed to be a six months job and since 2019 they are still on site for a six months job.

He dismissed the activities of the contractors as contrived.

“In remediation, all you want to do is to bring down the hydrocarbon to become less toxic for agricultural production to take place, and the second thing is to protect the environment so that there will be no cross contamination. You get to that place you see that the site is not protected and looking at the immediate proximity to that place is a swamp area, so everything that is flowing from that place is entering into the swamp which ought not to be. The engineer that supervises the work on that place is agriculturist; he does not know anything about environmental clean-up.

“While on site they were carrying out excavation, they covered the toxic waste underground, with the smell and people were not able to stay at the site, rather than giving that a special consideration, they hurriedly came and bag filled it. Prof Philip knows that the contractor, who is from Borno State, who got it as a soft contract and gave it to a young lady with little or no knowledge of the place, has messed up the place. They have stayed on site for a long time; no money so what they did was to hurriedly bag fill the place.

“The most unfortunate situation is that other sites in K-Dere are more complex than these ones. There are areas that are not assessed by UNEP that are also heavily impacted and migration is going on every day and is going to be a challenge. Even as they go to that place to do excavation, they discovered heavy crude oil that will surprise you is not properly handled and it will cause recontamination of the area”.

Kobah who was not satisfied with the remediation lamented “in some sites in K-Dere you can find crude oil in the soil 10metres deep. It is as bad as that. Sometimes it is six metres or five metres deep, when you excavate you see stream of crude oil. When the environment is not protected it becomes very difficult to handle.

Stakeholders’ Opinion 

THISDAY got opinions of stakeholders on how to tackle the pollution and save the Ogoni people from perpetual hardship.

Nnimmo Bassey, Executive Director, Health of Mother Earth Foundation and former member, HYPREP Board, explained that the clean-up could be done in a few years but to remediate and restore the environment will take a long time.

He noted that the Ogoni people have been very patient and everybody is anxious for the clean-up to be concluded very quickly. “I think also that, HYPREP would have do things differently: There are sites that have been designated complex sites. Until now nothing has been done in some of those locations.

“So, HYPREP should quickly get very competent hands, whether they are local or international, there should be exception for the massive clean-up that needs to be done in Ogoniland. There are times you talk about local content, at least our people can partner international organisation because the pollution is so complex and so deep that we need to have all hands on deck and spare no resources in getting it done.

“The whole clean-up exercise is a learning process. If anybody expects a perfect job right from day one, I think that will be extremely ambitious, so the issue if there are places that were not done properly, they should be done again.

“We should be requiring those agency certifying the adequate completion of the locations, if found that they have certified areas that were not thoroughly completed, then NOSDRA should be held accountable”.

Mr Legborsi Pyagbara
Mr Legborsi Pyagbara, immediate past President of MOSOP and currently, Executive Director, African Indigenous Foundation for Energy and Sustainable Development (AIFES).

Mr Legborsi Pyagbara, immediate past President of MOSOP and currently, Executive Director, African Indigenous Foundation for Energy and Sustainable Development (AIFES), stressed that Integrated Management Centre, Centre for Excellence for Environmental and water project that are major parts of the the clean-up process have not been put in place and people are still drinking the water. He said 11 years after the UNEP report Ogoni people are still drinking poor and unclean water.

Pyagbara in an interview with THISDAY in his Port Harcourt office, further explained that “For now, funding may not necessarily be the problem we have in HYPREP because what we are also asking is that, we all agreed that $200million will be put in the fund every two years. After the launching in 2016, it was in 2018 that first transfer of $180million was put in the Ogoni Trust Fund.

In 2019, by this year, the money should have been complete in terms of contemplation. We said on annual basis, the sum of $200millon should be put into that account whether it is used or not. From the information I gathered so far, the contributing partner (Shell, NNPC, Agip) has not done that so far, though the money that has been put in so far has not been exhausted.

“The report also recommended that the government agency driving the clean-up process should embark on medical study of Ogoniland, which will look at the whole question of the health trench in Ogoni whether there is a link between it and the pollution that has taken place and what are the manifestation of the illnesses that has happened over time. That has not also been done and that is a very key component of the process; the health study, the water, remediation, restoration and livelihood.

“Look at Bodo, we know that the good houses we see today in the community are owned by fisher folks not civil servants. The story buildings we have in Bodo that is more than any other building in Ogoni were from fisher folks. They go as far as Cameroon to fish through Bodo creeks, today the creeks are already down, no fish is there again. It means that all the livelihoods found there have been destroyed. No time did we imagine that Ogoni water system is polluted to the extent that benzene contamination was more than 900 World Health Standard and 1000 Nigeria Standard”.

OLI’s Dissatisfaction

Dissatisfied with the activities of HYPREP in dispensing funds for the clean of Ogoniland, an indigenous group, Ogoni Liberation Initiative (OLI), led by Dr. Douglas Fabeke had alleged that about $366million has been expended so far on the clean up exercise with no visible achievements recorded.

The group threatened to invite the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), to investigate the activities while charging HYPREP to be transparent in spending the funds meant for the remediation and restoration the Ogoniland.

“This report is supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR)”.

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