·Tongues wag over sudden sack of a man who just played host to Buhari
By Ignatius Chukwu
Accusations continue to rise in the $1Bn UNEP awarded clean up scheme in Ogoni, Rivers State.
As the scheme wobbles on, another quake occurred late evening of Tuesday, May 2, 2023 concerning the abrupt sack of the chief executive of the clean-up agency, the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP), Dr Ferdinand Giadom.
Dr Giadom has a doctorate degree in Environmental Geology from the University of Port Harcourt and is indicated as loving to teach Environmental Geology, Contaminant Hydrogeology, Global Tectonics, and Marine Geology. The sack letter with a terse note which was copied to the UNEP and to the chief of staff in the presidency (among others) and which ordered him to hand over immediately was signed by the Minister of Environment, Mohammed Abdullahi.
Immediately after, another letter came appointing another UNIPORT don, this time a professor, Prof Nanibarini Zabbey, as new Project Coordinator.
Prof Zabbey is said to be a foremost expert on hydrobiology and has extensive experience and background on remediation related activities with basis in bio-monitoring and restoration ecology. He is indicated as an Environmentalist and activist.
Until his appointment, he was a senior lecturer at Department of Fisheries Faculty of Agriculture, University of Port Harcourt. He is the first African recipient of the Association of the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO) 2022 Ruth Patrick Award for research and engagement with a critical impact on recovery of the Niger Delta ecosystem from oil spills and environmental justice for affected communities.
Tongues have continued to wag since Tuesday night why Dr Giadom, who just played host to President Buhari last weekend would be sacked days after. He had invited the president to flag off projects especially Centre of Excellence, but he had attracted criticisms for doing what was considered bogus when water, farming and entrepreneurship had not been sorted out.
His Ogoni kinsmen openly accuse him of favouring only Bodo people, even at the ceremony to host Buhari.
Others have shared tales that he was arrested in Abuja but findings show he was not. He however was invited to Abuja and from there, news of his removal allegedly hit him. Documents had circulated in the region alleging many undoing but no evidence had been presented.
Already, groups have started congratulating the new man, the way the sacked Dr Giadom was also congratulated.
A foremost environment advocacy group in the region, Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre (YEAC-Nigeria and United Kingdom) has congratulated Prof Zabbey.
It said Prof Zabbey was Coordinator, Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development (CEHRD), saying he well deserved it, according to the executive director, Fyneface Dumnamene Fyneface.
YEAC-Nigeria assured of full support and offer of advocacy, oversight function, and constructive criticism on the Ogoni clean-up project as a frontline environmental advocacy organization to put the professor, his team, and the Ministry of Environment on their toes to carry out proper clean-up and restore Ogoni Environment on record time.
The statement said this would help the clean up to happen fast and restore the area for fishing and farming which he they said are the traditional livelihoods of fishermen and farmers to thrive again while also advocating for the holistic implementation of the UNEP Report 2011 recommendations.
The most important, YEAC said are emergency measures and provision of alternative livelihood opportunities for youths involved in artisanal crude oil refining in the area with the $10m provided in the Report to curtail re-pollution, empower the youths and guarantee social security among others in the Ogoni area and around the project.