The National Assembly Joint Panel on Host Communities has summoned Minister of Environment, Mohammed Abdullahi and Management of HYPREP (Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project), over failure to clean up Ogoniland despite payment of $1 billion for the project
The Ogoni Clean Up, backed by the United Nation Environment Programme (UNEP), was flagged off in June 2016 by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, with fanfare and much enthusiasm from both the Nigerian authorities and the people in the Niger Delta.
Expressing disappointment with spate of work going in Ogoni Clean Up project, Chairman of the National Assembly Joint Panel, Degi Eremienyo, stated that the refusal of officials of Ministry of Environment to appear before the Committee is an indication that they are concealing information about the project.
He said the Ministry has been invited three times to brief the National Assembly members about the clean up, which officials of the Ministry evaded.
The Chairman said, “I express my displeasure totally, frown at the attitude of the Minister and also the project coordinator in demonstrating constant disrespect, disregard for the institution of the Parliament, because like I said, this is not the first invitation.
“We had invited them about three times and they have evaded engagement with the parliament.
“For me, it is an appearance of concealment of information to us; to incapacitate us to go for effective discharge of our duties as a Parliament to oversight the activities of HYPREP.
“It also shows the appearance of incompetence, appearance of bad governance, it shows appearance of insensitivity. We will not take this from the Executive. Particularly with the Ministry of Environment that is saddled with the responsibility of overseeing the activities of running the affairs of HYPREP.
“We commend the Federal Government for conceptualising this idea as a follow up to the UN report on the cleanup of Ogoniland, and of course, the story of degradation and pollution of the Niger Delta is an old story, for it is always fresh. It is always fresh because the situation and experience continues unabated in the Niger Delta. It is very unfortunate.
“This project is very important to the people of the Niger Delta. It is a pilot project that is supposed to be replicated in the other parts of the Niger Delta but apparently it is not working the way it is expected to work.
“It is on that note that I, as the Chairman of the Committee, also give my endorsement and support to the motion that the Minister and of course, the project coordinator and the management team of the project should be summoned to appear before this joint Committee.”