Dutch envoy inspects Ogoni clean-up, pledges support


* Warns against re-pollution
By Gladys Nweke

Netherlands’ ambassador to Nigeria, Ms Marion Kappeyne, has pledged to support the Nigerian government and the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) in the clean-up of polluted and oil-impacted sites in Ogoniland.

The ambassador said this while inspecting one of the less complex sites which is undergoing remediation, in Ebubu, Eleme, during which she warned against the re-pollution of the Ogoni environment.

Kappeyne explained that she had to come to Ogoniland to see things for herself rather than just sitting and reading stories on the pages of newspapers in Abuja.

She expressed confidence that with the collaboration and supervision of the clean-up by the United Nations Environment Programme, UNEP, the clean-up will be of international best standard.

She said; “I came to see things for myself rather than sitting in Abuja and just reading them in the press. This part of the country (Niger Delta) is very important, we are following things up to ensure the clean-up is a success. Be assured that you are not forgotten. We came to see how we can support the clean-up.

”It is, however, in no one’s interest that the land which is being remediated gets re-contaminated. I understand the impatience that people want to see results, that their lands are cleaned. I can see that work is ongoing and I do hope that it will produce results soon.” She may not know that most Ogoni people are actually not keen on seeing the sites cleaned but on getting financial compensation even as cleaning goes on, sources close to the communities whispered to newsmen.

Also speaking, the Project Coordinator of HYPREP, Dr Marvin Dekil, explained that clean-up contractors were using a contaminated soil treatment technology called ‘biocell’ to remediate the polluted site.

Dekil explained that biocell is biological treatment facility that allows contaminated soil to be treated through natural microorganisms, while describing the process as top performance.

”We excavate contaminated soil and put it into the biocell, then subject it to bio-remediation treatment so as to allow the natural microorganisms to degrade the contaminated soil to a level that is now good enough for us to return the soil back to where we took it from.

“This is a contaminated soil treatment technology called biocell, without the integrated soil management centre, we have this technology for the less complex sites and that is what we are doing.

”This is the first time a Nigerian government is undertaking a clean-up process with practical steps to remediate the Niger Delta  environment, and the process is top performance.”