The Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Dr. Nsima Ekere, has flagged off a two-day training workshop for technical assistants in the Ogoni clean-up and remediation project.
Ekere said that the Commission would collaborate with Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project, HYPREP, to provide the needed support in the effort to address the environmental concerns of the Ogoni people and restore their livelihood.
Ekere, represented by NDDC Director, Special Duties, Dr. Princewill Ekanim, stressed the need to make the Ogoni clean-up exercise a success, so as to provide the roadmap to the clean-up of all hydrocarbon impacted sites in the Niger Delta region.
The NDDC boss regretted that no significant success was recorded by HYPREP three years after it was established in 2012, till in 2016 when the structure of HYPREP was amended to include a Board of Trustees, a Governing Council and a project management team.
He added that the Ogoni clean up Governing Council was a multi-stakeholder body which included the NDDC, is charged with the responsibility of providing the necessary oversight to ensure the implementation of the UNEP report.
“There are over 5,000 impacted sites in the Niger Delta region and about 25 per cent of that are in Ogoniland.
“Section 2, subsection (A), (H) and (I) of the NDDC Act 2000, mandates the Commission to tackle ecological problems in the Niger Delta environment. The Commission is to work with oil companies operating in the region and other stakeholders to carry out this task.
“In the exercise of this mandate, and in demonstration of the commitment of the current Board of the Commission, a technical person, Dr. Udeme Udofia, who is an associate Professor in the area of environmental protection and pollution control has been appointed to work with HYPREP and build the capacity of the local people in environmental remediation,” Ekere said.
Also speaking, the Project Coordinator of HYPREP, Dr Marvin Dekil, underscored the essence of the training on oil spill assessment, stating that it would develop the capacity of the young environmental scientists as well as foster the involvement of the Ogoni community in the clean-up project.
Dekil commended NDDC for supporting the training and urged that the cooperation would continue throughout the life span of the project.
According to him, “HYREP as a project of the Federal Government has the mandate of remediating oil impacted sites and restoring the livelihoods of communities whose sources of income have been destroyed as a result of hydrocarbon pollution.”
It should be noted that the remediation of oil impacted sites in Ogoniland, according to the report by the United Nation Environment Programme, will take at least 30 years.