Former representative of the Rivers South-East Senatorial District at the National Assembly, Senator Magnus Ngei Abe, has said that Ogoni must benefit from the on-going clean-up exercise of oil impacted sites in the area.
Abe, who disclosed this in a statement he personally signed and posted on his Facebook account, and made available to The Tide, with the title; “Hyprep: Ogoni People Deserve Clearer Explanation”, by his spokeperson, Parry Saroh Benson said it would amount to wasted efforts if the exercise had no lasting impact on the lives of the Ogoni people.
The Senator, who was reacting to a television interview granted by the Coordinator of HYPREP, Dr. Marvin Dekil said: “A few days ago, I listened to the HYPREP Coordinator Dr. Marvin Dekil talking about the Ogoni clean-up and the benefits to the Ogoni community on a National Television. I was a bit worried and would like to request Dr. Dekil to give us some more information”.
“My greatest fear has always been that the one billion Dollars Ogoni Trust Fund will fall victim to the Nigerian factor. The money will be spent in the name of Ogoni with no lasting impact on the lives of the Ogoni people.
“That was why we came up with the idea of converting the Centre of Excellence to a university that will become a lasting legacy from the Trust Fund that will endure the passage of time.”
However, according to the former lawmaker, Dekil’s explanation during the program that each contract will provide a minimum of thirty-five local job opportunities raises more questions than answers.
“What is the nature of these thirty-five jobs Dr. Dekil talked about? Are they permanent placements? What level of employees are we talking about, and how long will they last, Abe questioned.
“While we must thank HYPREP for these opportunities, I think the most important question for the Ogoni people should be who are these contractors and what number of these contractors are local?
“If the contracts require skills that are not locally available what deliberate policy is HYPREP adopting to grow local participation and expand lasting opportunities for the Ogoni people and businesses in the land?
“To argue the way Dr. Dekil did that HYPREP has no obligation to develop Ogoni because the development of Ogoni is not part of its core mandate is to accept the unacceptable.
“It is unacceptable that HYPREP can superintend over the disbursement of one billion Dollars named OGONI TRUST FUND and it will not matter if the Ogoni people benefit from it, as long as there is remediation of impacted sites, because that is not the purpose of HYPREP. I reject that argument however sound the logic behind it”.
The former chairman, Senate Committee on FERMA at the 8th National Assembly stated that he is worried by the comments of Dr. Dekil’s position on the clean-up exercise because it means that the Ogoni people were prepared to accept the unacceptable.
The Ogoni, he said, because of its unique history in the Niger Delta is the first oil-producing and polluted community to benefit from this once in a lifetime opportunity, and there must be a lasting impact for the Ogoni people.
“If the HYPREP mandate does not provide for that then we must find creative ways to make it happen and we have the opportunity to do so now.
“President BuhariI has gone over and beyond the call of duty to make HYPREP real and ensure that it is funded, and our input and participation in the fund is respected. If we fail to serve our people the best we can with this opportunity, we will have no one to blame but ourselves.
“We must also remember that poverty and insecurity are the underlying foundation behind the continued pollution of Ogoni land. In trying to clean-up without addressing these critical issues, HYPREP will merely be wasting the clean-up funds because if illegal bunkering activities continue in the area during or after the clean-up we will be back to square one, (i.e. stuck in a polluted environment full of poverty and human suffering).
Abe called on Ogoni people to be aware that if they should end up in the same spot after spending a billion Dollars history will be most unkind to them.
“I had stated from the beginning that I will not get involved in HYPREP so I can see clearly what goes on. I think the Ogoni people deserve a clearer explanation than the one we are getting thus far”, he added.
By: Susan Serekara-Nwikhana
Border Closure: Rep, LG Boss Task Security Agencies On Compliance
Two political leaders in the Ogoni axis of Rivers State, Hon Dumnamene Dekor and Mr Latteh La-Loolo, have called on security operatives stationed at the border between Rivers and Akwa Ibom States to ensure compliance of the restriction order as part of measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the State.
Dekor, who is the lawmaker representing Khana/Gokana Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives and Loolo, council chairman of Khana LGA made the call when they visited the border to monitor the activities of security operatives manning the area and urged them to be proactive in ensuring that nobody brings the Coronavirus disease from neighbouring states into Rivers.
Dekor said, “I am here to join the chairman of the Khana LGA who is heading the team for the implementation of this stay-at-home order to ensure that movement between the two states is not the way it used to be. To stop the movement completely, that is why we are here.
“The issue of stay-at-home, we even entered into the community here and so far so good. All I will say is to call on the security agents to be more careful in what they are doing because some people are moving around.
“Some people will take a vehicle and stop at the other side of the boarder and move across; and then take another vehicle. Those ones are who we are frowning at.”
On his part, the Rivers State Commissioner for Special Duties, Dr Thomas Bariere, said he will ensure that the lockdown order was fully implemented by the security agencies, noting that the welfare and health of the people is paramount.
“As someone who is commissioner in the zone, the welfare, the health of our people is key. It is the reason we are here to ensure that the lockdown order as directed by the executive governor of Rivers State is implemented to the letter.
“Like we have always told our people, it is one thing to remain indoors, it is another thing to be on the road and then contract this disease.
Ondo PDP Gets Caretaker Committee
Following the inability of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ondo State to elect new executives following the outbreak of COVID-19, a caretaker committee has been inaugurated to pilot the affairs of the party for the next three months.
Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu had last month banned all political, social and religious gathering as part of measures to curb spread of COVID-19.
The Ondo PDP Caretaker Committee is headed by Engr. Clement Faboyede, whose tenure just ended.
Spokesman for the party in Ondo State, Zadok Akintoye, said the Caretaker Committee was inaugurated to manage affairs of the party for an initial three months until the conduct of a state congress based on the instruction of the party’s National Secretariat.
According to him: “The Covid19 global pandemic, which has ravaged many nations and has compelled the lockdown of our own state, has been the chief reason why our state congress has not held. Once the ban on public gathering is lifted and conditions permit, the Caretaker Committee shall proceed to complete the already begun process of our state congresses.
“We use this opportunity to appeal to all members of our party and the general public to do all we can to maintain peace during this very trying period. Our prayer is that GOD ALMIGHTY will protect us as we navigate through this pandemic.”
Leave Onyeama Alone, Aide Tells Enugu APC Boss
A top official of Enugu State All Progressives Congress (APC), has come under attack for allegedly sponsoring spurious media attack on Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama.
The suspect and his cohorts were alleged to be behind recent reports, particularly in the social media claiming that Onyeama and his Personal Assistant, Chief Flavour Eze, tested positive for COVID-19 and reportedly returned to Enugu with the deliberate intention of spreading the disease in the state.
The Enugu State Government has since debunked the rumour and instead disclosed that the two cases in the state were returnees from the United Kingdom.
The minister’s aide, Eze, in a statement in Enugu, accused the suspect of trying to politicise a case that he (Eze) reported to the police against one Nwanjoku James Okugo, who had criminally defamed him through various publications in social and print media.
Part of the statement reads: “The sole intention of the malicious allegations, which he knew to be untrue, was to cause widespread alarm and panic in the state and endanger the lives of the minister and myself by inciting hatred against us through demonisation.
“I, in my personal capacity, reported the matter to the Nigeria Police after the period given to the author of the article to retract the malicious write-up had elapsed. The police have since swung into action, arrested the suspect and are currently making progress in their investigation.
“Instead of the suspect and his co-conspirators to face the issue, they have chosen to rush to the media to cry that the honourable minister ordered his arrest and detention.
“My candid advice to them is to face the case with the police and stop looking for scapegoats.”
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