Monarch Chellenges Shell, HYPREP On Ogoni Clean-Up


As the plans for Ogoni clean-up gets underway, all stakeholders including the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) and Shell Development Petroleum Company (SPDC), have been told to obey local content in order to encourage development in the affected communities.
The Mene Bua Numuu II of Gokana Kingdom, HRH Mene Panedom Badon, made the call in a chat with newsmen at the weekend in Port Harcourt.
He said that it would be unfair to execute a project of such magnitude in Ogoniland without involving the immediate victims of the oil spill.
Badon reasoned that the framers of Local Content Act did so in a bid to encouraging rural development.
The Gokana monarch argued that the presence of local contractors in the spill site would mean a lot to the people whom he said would feel a sense of belonging.
According to him, using foreigners alone in the project would be against the interest of the people, in that, they do not know much about the plight of the people and how best to help out.
He also pointed out that projects of that nature ought to be done in line with the peoples request, adding that only the locals have the potentials to identify such areas.
According to him, it would require the engagement of a local contractor to commence operations on the areas that would benefit the people immediately while the programme lasts.
Other reasons he advanced for the involvement of local content development was job creation for the local people, and safety of contractors deployed to the area.
The monarch who further warned against any form of politicking in the project, said that the best international practice associated with oil spill clean-up, must be strictly followed to avoid counter-production.
“All forms of political games must not be played around the Ogoni clean-up exercise. I said this because the people would be tempted to revolt, if anything outside the agreement was imported into it by anyone” he warned.
Earlier, the traditional ruler had called on the Federal Government to prevail on the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), SPDC and others, not to renege on the payment formular, stressing that the principle of polluter pays must be followed to the later.
It would be recalled that about $177 million has been recently approved for the much awaited Ogoni Clean-up.