The Gbenemene of Tai Kingdom and President of the Supreme Council of Ogoni Traditional Rulers, King Godwin Giniwa, has called on the Federal Government and the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) to engage Ogoni contractors in the clean-up of Ogoniland in Rivers State.
Giniwa, who made the call during a courtesy visit to him at his palace in Korokoro Tai by the Minister of Environment, Suleiman Hassan Zarma, last Saturday, said the aim of the clean-up would be defeated if Ogoni contractors and the people do not benefit from the exercise.
He said that Ogoni people have contributed to the development of the country, noting however, that the people have been neglected and relegated to the background by successive administrations in the country.
According to him, Ogoni people deserve all the good things of life including driving good cars, living in good houses and eating good food.
Giniwa also stressed the need for peace in Ogoniland and indicated that providing jobs and employment for the youths was the surest way of guaranteeing peace in the area, saying, “If the contractors handling the clean-up take care of Ogoni people, that is the only thing that would bring peace.
“Today marks another history of the Ogoni people. What we were praying for is now a reality. The story is very long one. The clean-up project came out of anger”, he said, and enjoined youths of the area to give the contractors maximum, cooperation and support, and to remain peaceful at all times.
The Minster of Environment, in his response, assured that the youths and people of the area would be engaged and involved in the clean-up, and promised to take the monarch’s request to President Buhari for consideration.
The Project Coordiantor of HYPREP, Dr Marvin Dekil said, “yesterday, you saw and witnessed a site handover. And today is another site. That which you have been asking for is what is here today. The contractors are on site; and they are on site to do a very professional job. It is the process that we started all this while.
“We have been planning all of this period to ensure that a professional job is done; to ensure that the right contractors come through, to ensure that the communities get their land back, to get the water clean. Today, we are here to give the land back to the community clean”.
Also speaking, the Rivers State Commissioner for Environment and member of the Governing Council of HYPREP, Prof Roseline Konya, said it was good that the clean-up had started, stressing that everybody was happy.