CSOs laud HYPREP over pace of Ogoni cleanup

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By Innocent Eteng

Civil society organisations (CSOs) have hailed the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) for the work so far done as part of the Ogoni cleanup process.

The CSOs gave the pass mark yesterday in Port Harcourt during a one day dialogue that had CSOs, oil companies and concerned communities represented. The dialogue was put together by the Centre for Peace, Development and Child Welfare (CEPEDECW) in collaboration with HYPREP and meant to intimate stakeholders on the progress made.

The CSOs however observed that despite the achievement, not much has been done to relay such success to stakeholders. They therefore recommended that HYPREP engage the people regularly.

“In the engagement today, the element of communication and clear communication featured almost where the whole discussion fell. And it is so amazing that a lot has been done but there are no visible portals where references can be made,” said Abel Agbulu of Pax Viva Foundation (a faith based Ecumenical Coalition for Community Peace Building).

He continued: “So one of the very strong points that came from the CSOs engagement today is that this thing should be put out there for people to see and appreciate the success so far and also the challenges so far.

“So I believe with this closer collaboration with the CSOs and the project drivers, there would be a better project in the long run. A 30-year project is not a one day project, but what is worth doing is worth doing well. Let the people know what has been done so there would be full participation,” he said.

However, coordinator of Kebetkachi Women Development, Emem Okon, advised the people to exercise patience and understand the process.

“If the UNEP report says it will take 30 years, it will be too early to begin to say the process has failed. It is just a process, it is not something that will be done in one day and within the process there are several activities and exercises that will be going on.

“So it is good for people to really understand what is expected of the process so that when we have milestones after some years, we can begin to assess what is on ground,” she said.