The Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) has denied allegations that some funds it received for the on going Ogoni clean-up exercise were missing, saying the body has so far received $180million.
The Project Coordinator of HYPREP, Dr. Marvin Dekil, disclosed this in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, during a live radio programme monitored by The Tide, recently.
It would be recalled that HPREP was set up by the Federal Government to implement the recommendations of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report on the pollution in Ogoni land, Rivers State.
Dekil, who was reacting to allegations in some quarters that the clean-up funds may have been diverted due to the prolonged delay in implementing the UNEP report, explained that the initial cost of the clean-up was $1billion, but that the cost could be more.
“Let us start by asking how much is the process going to cost? The process is going to cost an initial $1billion. That is what we need to start with to my understanding. It is going to cost more, I believe.
“How much have we received? We received an initial $10million, and recently, another $170million. So, we have received $180million.
“That is what the Board of Trustees of HYPREP has received. Each time I talk about this money, I am very particular, and I have to let people understand the governing structure of HYPREP, and the different roles played by these structures.
“It is the Board of Trustees (BoT) that is in charge of receiving this money. They function separately from the project coordination office. Remediation is an international activity. If you cost it in local ways, you may not appreciate what we are doing.
“The way it works is that the BoT collects the money, and they are holding it. They are managing it. It has nothing to do with project coordination office. There is the Governing Council that approves all our activities. They are the approving and policy making part of the project, separate from the BoT, and separate from the project coordination office,” he stated.
The HYPREP project coordinator further said that “Just this month (August), my team and the United Nations team and the oil companies just finished with the budget this year, and we are looking at the activities between now and December. That will cost, I think, about $80million. These are the things that we are going to do.
“That we have the money, even if the entire $1billion was given to us now, it doesn’t mean that we are going to spend all of it just like that. You need to come up with detailed programmes and have the buy-in of all the stakeholders to what it is you want to do with the money before you spend it.
“This is how difficult it is to spend the money. So, when they are talking about ‘you have received $180million, what have you done with it? The money is there. We are taking it as we need and as all the parties agreed that it will be spent. When I talk about the parties, I am talking about the three governing structures.
“I am also talking about the stakeholders, being the oil companies, the United Nations system, the Nigerian government. We are driving this process and the Ogoni people who are also part of this administration and the policy making of this will all have to agree on how to spend the money and what to do with it within the context of the recommendations of the United Nations.
“This is what we have been doing. And you see frequently we are going back to Geneva because that is where the technical capacity, the leadership of UNEP is. So, we don’t take one step without synchronizing the input of all who are on this. So, not a dime of our money will be spent without the input of others, and so, no money is missing,” Dekil stated.
‘Nigeria Loses N5.9bn Annually To Oil Bunkering’
A group known as the Association of Surface Tank Oil and Gas Retailers, (ASTOGRN) says statistics revealed that oil bunkering activities and pipeline vandalisation in the Niger Delta costs the federal government about N5.9bn annually.
Chairperson of the Rivers State chapter of the association, Comrade Patience Uche made the disclosure in an exclusive interview with The Tide on Port Harcourt at the weekend.
Apart from the huge lost in revenue, she said oil bunkering and pipeline vandalisation has also resulted in the colossal loss of lives as most of the vandals are always consumed in pipeline explosions during the bunkering exercises.
Comrade Uche who decried the increasing involvement of youths in illegal bunkering activities advocated for a more proactive and corrective measure to bring lasting solution to the vice.
According to her, part of the solution is the building of modular refineries in the Niger Delta and developing the capacities of youths in the region to be actively involved in the oil and gas industry. “Most of the youths who get involved in illegal oil bunkering and lose their lives in the process could have played a more creative and productive role in the oil and gas industry if they were functionally trained. The Federal Government should be serious about the establishment of modular refineries and the training of youths to participate in the process as this will go along a way to tackle the challenges of illegal bunkering in the Niger Delta”
She said the major drive of the association was to make oil and gas business rural based, “to improve the socio-economic and general living conditions of its members”
She said the association will achieve the targets by encouraging its members to get licences from the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to be actively involved in the oil and gas business. She pointed out that the initiative will also reduce petroleum supplies from foreign marketers through importation of products, and kill the spirit of bunkering from vandals as well as increase the Federal government revenue on surface tank retails busine in Nigeria.
Energy Experts Give Reasons For N’Delta Under-Development
Some experts in the oil and gas industry have identified style of governance, bad policies and lack of transparency, among the many challenges hindering development of Nigeria’s oil rich Niger Delta.
The experts spoke after a documentary screening on the “Impact of Corruption and Conflict on Investments, in Energy Rich Niger Delta Communities’’, in Abuja, on Friday.
The documentary screening was organised by an NGO, African Initiative for Transparency, Accountability and Responsible Leadership (AfriTAL).
The Tide source reports that the documentary focused on two communities of Ogidigben and Gelegele in Delta and Edo States respectively, where various government projects there failed and the people still live in abject poverty.
Rev. Fr Edward Obi, a catholic priest and an environment activist said the style of governance adopted in the country’s oil sector was unfortunately riddled with holes.
“We are in a country where people sit in their offices and make decisions that affect people without consulting them.
“It is a bad style of governance and it is seriously affecting the environmental regulation of the oil and gas industry,’’ Obi said.
According to him, government has never been transparent in running the oil and gas sector, adding that the communities are hardly involved or educated on government plans.
“Till now, I do not think that government is considering using other voices that the people listen to.
“If you go to these rural communities, you see many churches irrespective of how under developed they are.
“People in these communities go there, they listen and respect what they are taught there, these kind of leaders that teach these people can be used as agents to educate members of the communities on what government’s plans are.
“When the people understand all what government wants to do, the project they plan, the benefits to the community and the people, they will welcome it and the desired results will be achieved.
Dr Solomon Adeleye, another oil and gas expert said that corruption in Nigeria was often perceived as affecting government and governance, but it had never been considered to be adversely affecting communities.
He said that government must adopt a different style to manage the oil and gas sector to enable it drive growth and development.
“Nigeria is more of a gas nation than oil, it is very important that government does not use the same pattern it used in managing crude oil to run the gas sector.
“They must do away with things that made it impossible for government to achieve results and focus on current trends and opportunities to ensure growth and development,’’ Adeleye said.
He said currently, there were about 25 per cent of Nigerians that were unemployed and with three per cent population growth, so efforts must be made to create more jobs especially in the gas sector.
Also, Mrs Faith Nwadisi of Women in Extractive Industry said there was need to bring women on the table while discussing issues in the oil and gas sector.
Referring to the screened documentary, she said that the role of women was not reflected there, noting that women bore 90 per cent of the negative impact of oil on communities.
DPR Seals Nine Petrol Stations In Bayelsa
The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) in Bayelsa says it has sealed nine petrol stations and an illegal Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) station in Yenagoa for expired licences and lack of basic operational equipment.
The Tide source reports that the DPR stations on Thursday, when a team of its officials, led by Mr Ibinabo Jack, head of Operations in the state field office paid unscheduled visit to some retail petrol outlets.
NAN also reports that the affected filling stations were Nun River Petroleum, Maccary Oil and Gas, Barbizon and an unnamed LPG station said to be operating illegally.
Others were NNPC retail outlet at Edepie, Otueyal Oil and Gas, Tony’s Green Field Petroleum, Mobil Oil and Gas and another NNPC retail outlet, all in Yenagoa, the state capital.
“The sealing of filling stations is not new and it’s not going to be a one-off thing.Rather, it will be a continuous exercise. We caught some of them dispensing to customers below the variation.
“For instance, a station that is selling at point 41CL of every 10 litres is short-changing the public. In other words, where they ought to get 10 litres, they are given maybe six or seven litres. This is not fair.
“We had earlier given them fliers and posters to caution and enlighten them on how to handle petroleum products. The fliers are meant to be given to motorists and truck drivers on how they should conduct themselves.
“The posters are meant to be pasted in retail outlets also to caution motorists coming in to fill their vehicle tanks so that they will know the safe way or method of handling petroleum products to avoid any untoward incidence at filling stations,” he said.
The DPR chief said that the stations that were placed under seal had committed so many irregularities which were punishable, adding that while some were under dispensing, others did not have fire extinguishers.
Politics3 days ago
Guber Aspirtant Wants Electorate To Vote Credible Candidates
Featured5 days ago
Nigeria Lines Up Ukraine Friendly Ahead Qualifiers
Politics3 days ago
NASS Ready To Work For Nigerians -Lawan
Sports3 days ago
I Never Felt Supported By Women In Sport – Semenya
Sports3 days ago
Enugu Grassroots Football Managers Call For Sponsorship
Business3 days ago
AfDB Gets $20m Investment For Energy Inclusion
Politics3 days ago
Group Moves To Promote Women’s Participation In Politics
Niger Delta3 days ago
Okowa Wants FG To Resuscitate Warri Port