Communities in Ogoniland have expressed their gratitude and assured the end of youth restiveness in the area, thanking the immediate past President Muhammadu Buhari for fulfilling the promise his administration made to Ogoniland in 2016.
The permanent secretary of the Federal Ministry of Environment, Ibrahim Yusufu, made this disclosure during the official flagging-off of water projects and sites handover ceremony to the contractors in Ogoniland, Rivers State.
The communities also appreciated President Bola Tinubu and were assured that these developmental projects would continue to have a positive impact on the socio-economic development of the area.
One of the commissioned projects, the Barako Portable Water Scheme, has a storage capacity of 500 cubic meters of clean water and is expected to provide free, safe and quality water to all households in Ogoni and its environs. According to the permanent secretary, this project is the second under the six-lot projects in the first phase of the emergency water intervention for Ogoni communities.
While emphasising the importance of finding lasting solutions to challenges such as theft/vandalisation of projects and sponsored agitation, which have encumbered the procurement process and effective delivery of emergency and livelihood support projects in the area, the permanent secretary stated that the ministry is intensifying efforts to cover more milestones in the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) implementation framework.
In addition to the remediation process, the livelihood programme aims to provide portable and accessible water to the Ogoni community and ensure the provision of other amenities to cushion the effect of pollution. The ministry has put more efforts into delivering the emergency intervention projects as part of the remediation process in Ogoniland.
Fourteen contractors were presented with certificates for the construction of 14 portable water systems to cover 52 communities and fast-track the other aspect of the livelihood programme.
The Ogoni people expressed their excitement, stating that with the efforts of the Ministry of Environment, all their challenges have finally come to an end. They conveyed their appreciation to the ministry for this significant development.
The chairman of the board of trustees, Ogoni Trust Fund Incorporated, Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP), Dr. Nwielaghi Michael advised the people in the area to always channel their grievances through the right channel and not direct them at HYPREP as a whole.
HRM, King Dr. Suanu T. Y. Baridam, Gbenemene, Bakana Kingdom and the spokesman to the Ogoni Specialist Hospital, thanked HYPREP and the project manager for making this project possible for the Ogoni people in record time. He expressed his desire to see HYPREP deliver more community-oriented projects and provide job opportunities for youths in Ogoniland.
HRM, King Foetus Bagia, expressed his pleasure at welcoming the Federal permanent secretary to Ogoniland. He mentioned that this project is the highest and largest project in Ogoniland in over seven years, benefitting over 52 communities. Sites were also handed over to contractors whose contracts were earlier approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) of the immediate past administration.
With these water projects and sites’ handover, the Ogoni community is set to witness positive transformations and improvements in their living conditions, marking a significant step towards sustainable development in the region.