…As it gives report of stewardship
The Federal Government says international oil companies have so far contributed $1 billion towards the clean-up of Ogoniland as it gave update on the progress recorded in the remediation of the pollution exercise.
Addressing journalists at a world press conference in Abuja, the Minister of Environment, Dr. Mohammed Abubakar, said government had made considerable progress on the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) mandates since 2016, adding the remediation of 21 lots of phase one batch had been cleaned while 17 lots had been completed by HYPREP.
“Remediation of 21 lots-phase 1 batch 1 works: As at today, 17 lots have been completed by HYPREP, out of which ten have been closed-out by National Oil Spill Detection Agency (NOSDRA). Certification sampling of 3 lots for close-out has been completed, while the other three are awaiting certification sampling for close-out by NOSDRA. The remaining five which are yet to be completed by HYPREP are at various stages of completion.
“36 remediation contracts comprise of two project activities namely soil remediation works (29 lots) and Tier 2 (T-2) assessment of groundwater works (7 lots) were awarded in February 2020. However, due to the global coronavirus pandemic in the first and second quarters of 2020, activities preceding mobilization of these contractors to sites were slowed down.
“However, as at today, nine remediation lots have been completed and are awaiting NOSDRA certification and seven other contracts for detail quantitative environmental risk assessment to determine ground water conditions in some selected sites were completed,” he said.
Abubakar further said government inaugurated the construction of six water schemes in March 22 at Bori, Khana Local Government Area of Rivers State, adding the sites include Bori/Kpea Water Scheme in Khana Local Government Area, Barako/Bori-Dere/Kpea Dere water scheme in Gokana Local Government Area.
He gave others as Terabo water scheme in Gokana Local Government Area, Korokoro/Nonwa water scheme in Tai Local Government Area, Alesa water scheme in Eleme Local Government Area and Ebubu/Nsisioken/Ogale water scheme pointing out that rehabilitation and construction works had started in earnest in all the sites.
On job creation, he said 882 community youths had been engaged by batch 1 remediation contractors as part of the employment creation drive of HYPREP, while additional 1118 community youths are being engaged by batch 2 remediation contractors, adding a total of 2000 temporal jobs were created in the course of remediation across the four LGAs of Ogoniland besides the numerous indirect jobs that are to be created in the form of trading and support activities.
He further said a tripartite capacity building partnership among HYPREP, IITA and the Democracy Network (SDN) trained 15 youths from 4 local government areas of Ogoniland.
According to him, the trainees fabricated machines which were used in setting up a cassava processing/fabrication facility at Korokoro, Tai LGA at the end of the three months intensive training, adding the facility was commissioned on July 14, 2020.
Listing some of the challenges encountered in the project, the minister highlighted artisanal mining as a major challenge.
“Artisanal refining by the youths have been major cause of the draw back in the sense that as the cleaning is ongoing youths involved in illegal oil drilling are further compromising the remediation process therefore compounding the progress being made by government,” he added.