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Groups Call For More Commitment From HYPREP On Ogoni Clean-Up

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Some civil society organisations (CSOs) and other strategic stakeholders have called on the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) to demonstrate more commitment and openness in the implementation of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) recommendations on Ogoni clean-up.
Speaking at a stakeholders’ strategic meeting organised by Fostering Advancement of Community Empowerment (FACE) Initiative last Monday in Port Harcourt, the Executive Director of the initiative, Mr Inatimi Odio said that the people’s expectations were very high, affirming that the slow pace of the clean-up was eroding the people’s confidence in the clean-up process.
Odio further called for more commitment in community engagement on the part of HYPREP in order to break the vacuum created as a result of poor communication.
He charged HYPREP management to do more inclusive engagement with community members, so as not to be perceived as being partial.
The executive director noted that the FACE Initiative would collaborate with other CSOs and community groups to contribute to expanding community interactions and engagements through sustained consultations and sensitisation on the importance of the Ogoni clean-up exercise as well as strengthening the on-going advocacy for timely implementation of the UNEP report, particularly the emergency measures.
Speaking also, the Executive Director, African Citizens Initiative Rights and Development (ACIRD), Mr Young Kigbara stressed the need for the independence of HYPREP so as to reduce the bureaucracy that currently exists, noting that this has contributed to the pace of the clean-up exercise.
Kigbara attributed the slow pace in HYPREP activities to overbearing and cumbersome bureaucratic process in the system of getting funds approved by the Federal Executive Council.
He also blamed HYPREP for not thinking through most of its activities, claiming that HYPREP does not have a work plan, adding that his claim was based on the fact that if HYPREP had one, it would have made same available for the public to easily access.
On her part, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Ketbekache Women Development Resource Centre, Madam Emem Okon said that the centre’s concern was on how the women in the impacted communities were coping with the non-implementation of the emergency measures as stipulated by the UNEP report since it was released in 2011.
should be included in the process of discussion, dialogue, and sensitisation, so that they can take ownership of the project and the process of the clean-up in Ogoniland”, Okon added.
Similarly, the Executive Director, Community Conciliation and Development Initiative (CCADI), Mr Kelechi Amaechi said that the programme was aimed at gathering CSOs on how to support the clean-up process in Ogoni in a way that meets best international practices and the aspirations of community people.
Amaechi further explained that it was an opportunity for the evaluation of what HYPREP has done or failed to do as well as what key actors were doing while looking at gaps and innovations they could bring to the table so as to ensure more transparent and accountable delivery in the Ogoni clean-up exercise.

 

Susan Serekara-Nwikhana

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Niger Delta

Community Cries Out Over Poor Road, Seeks Wike’s Intervention

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The people and residents of Bundu Ama in Port Harcourt City have cried out over the deplorable condition of their only road and appealed to the Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike to rescue them.
Speaking to our correspondent, Chairman of Bundu Ama, Chief Tamunokonbia Sunday, said the condition of the road as at present is terrible.
He said taxi drivers that ply the route have shunned the route because of the condition of the road.
“ Taxis are very low and the potholes are about six feet deep, so they can no longer pass through them freely”, he said.
The chairman, who lamented that people of the area are suffering daily on the road, appealed to the state government to help them fix the road.
Chief Sunday said during sanitation days the community organise youths in the area to fill some of the potholes with blocks and stones, but lamented that with little rainfall, all such efforts were washed away because of the nature of the drainage.
“Bundu is a PDP community with over 63,000 voting strength. It is Ward five, which is regarded as the political armament that decides the vote of Constituency 1 in Port Harcourt City.
“We are calling on our Governor, the Mr Project, to come and help us. He can come or delegate people for sight seeing and know what we are passing through on daily basis”, the Chairman said.
Also commenting on the issue, the leadership of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), through the Vice Chairman of the Union, Mr Eugene Mbachu, said the condition of Bundu road has been of great concern to its members.
“Each time the community would ask us to contribute money to repair the road. We are appealing to the state government to help us.
“Bundu is part of Rivers State. Let the Governor, the Mr Project, come and help us because we all voted for him”, he said.
A taxi driver , Godwin Peter , who plies Bundu- Lagos Bus stop route, lamented that the little gain they make goes for maintenance of their vehicles.
Peter, who stated that he has operated on the route for over four years, disclosed that most of their members have left the Bundu route because of the terrible nature of the road.
Another taxi driver, Pastor Yeme Johnson, said for the past two years the situation of the road has worsened such that taxi drivers are shunning the route.
He therefore called on the State Government to come to the aid of the people.
A businessman and resident of the area, Chief Maxwell Bassy, said the major problem affecting any resident of the area is the deplorable condition of the road.
“Each time you are returning to your residence and call taxi drivers for a drop to Bundu, they will look at you as if you want them to take you to hell.
“If you are lucky and they accept to go, they will charge you so high and if you are carrying any load, sorry for you.
“The road is terrible and it is as if Bundu is not part of Port Harcourt. Let Governor Wike, our Mr Quality Project, hear the cry of Bundu residents and help us “, he said.

 

By: Chris Oluoh

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Niger Delta

Nsirim Urges Muslims To Put Rivers Interest First

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The Permanent Secretary, Rivers State Ministry of Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, has charged the Muslim Community in the State to put the interest of the state above other interest.
Nsirim, who said this during the “OurStateOur Responsibility” advocacy visit to the Rivers State Islamic Council Secretariat in Port Harcourt, also commended Muslims in the State for their harmonious coexistence with their neighbours in the state.
He said Rivers State is blessed with a leadership that has not only promoted religious harmony, but also providing both human and infrastructural development.
According to him, the Governor is not only providing infrastructural projects across the state, but also promoting education and health care programmes through the payment of fees for candidates sitting for the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), the National Examination Council (NECO), examinations while treatments for HIV/AIDS patients are also free.
The Permanent Secretary expressed regrets that despite the huge achievements of Governor Nyesom Wike in all facets of human development, some people are busy de-marketing the state.
He said time has come for the Muslim Community and others living and doing business in the State to join the campaign to change the negative perception about the state.
“We need to tell our story that the state is hospitable”, he said, and described the Muslim community as a critical stakeholder in the Rivers State project.
Nsirim also called on them to avail themselves of the on-going immunization programme in the state to immunize their children.
Meanwhile, the Muslim community in Rivers State has endorsed the “Our State Our Responsibility” advocacy campaign.
The Muslim leader in the State and Vice President General of Nigerian Council for Islamic Affairs, Alhaji Nasir Awhelebe Uhor, said it is the responsibility of Muslims to support government policies and programmes.
Alhaji Uhor, who said nobody can use the name of Islam to foment trouble in Rivers State, thanked Governor Wike for ensuring the establishment of a gas plant in the State.

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Niger Delta

Association Tasks Old Boys On Alma Mater

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The Okrika Grammar School Old Boys Association (OGSOBA), has called on members of the association to work towards the development of the school.
Speaking at a dinner night organised by the association at Hotel Presidential in Port Harcourt, recently, as part of events marking the 80th anniversary celebration of the body, the National President of OGSOBA, Sam Nwakohu, appealed to members to take matters concerning the school seriously.
He stated that the school has assisted many of the old boys to be what they are in the society, in terms of discipline and otherwise.
“I implore all of us to take matters pertaining to the development of the school as seriously as we take our personal progress.
In this age, our students need to be educated in an improved environment and with better facilities for learning in terms of academics and extra curricula activities “ Nwakohu said.
The National President noted with dismay that the association could not finish a building project for over 15 years.
“We should try and improve infrastructure of the school. It is not pleasant to note that we could not complete one building for over 15years. While most of us have houses in UK, US and some living in mansions”, he stated.
Also speaking, the chairman of the anniversary committee, Engr. Daso Derefaka, appealed to members to consider the school’s progress.
While noting that the school was currently in need of major repairs, especially auditorium, he thanked members that attended the anniversary and reunion celebration.

 

By: Tonye Orabere

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