Even a the world thinks cleaning has not started, the agency is opening bids for second round of 36 blocks after the initial 21. The problem may be lack of strategic information system. The NUJ in Rivers State has over 500 members but the agency does not make use of this platform, but selects few journalists, hoping that few reporters can tell the Ogoni story.
Detail by Gladys Nweke
The Project Coordinator of the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) Dr. Marvin Barinem Dekil, has assured Nigerians and indeed the world that the selection of contractors for remediation works in Ogoniland will be through a comprehensive, detailed and transparent process.
Speaking to journalists during the Technical Bid Opening of Phase 1 Batch 2 of the Clean-up Project, Dekil said the exercise was in continuation of the earlier one that led to the award of contract to the 21 contractors who are currently carrying out remediation works on sites across Ogoniland. He disclosed that over a hundred companies will be bidding for the additional 36 lots.
.He noted that the bidding process for the additional 36 lots was an additional milestone for the Project in terms of the implementation of the remediation mandate of HYPREP which started over two years ago with scoping and characterization, a process he explained involved non physical activities. He said that at the time people thought nothing was happening, HYPREP was carrying out preliminary activities that led to the separation of sites into lots.
Dekil explained that HYPREP will carry out remediation on all the sites identified by the United Nation Environment Programme (UNEP) and also identify contaminated sited that were not captured by UNEP. He said the process of engaging contractors for remediation works will be a continuous assuring that the process will be comprehensive, technical and detailed.
.He reiterated that the HYPREP is adopting International Bidding Process in the award of contract for remediation works in Ogoniland while being mindful of local content component without compromising quality and standard. He informed the media that HYPREP has put together a set of criteria that a company must meet in order to qualify and these criteria, he added are those approved by the Federal Government.
.Dekil said HYPREP is encouraging local companies to participate and to partner with foreign firms so as to build their capacity to be able to execute these contracts. He disclosed that HYPREP is making deliberate efforts targeted at developing the business consciousness and business capacity of the local people so they can participate and benefit from a process like this.
.On the provision of water, the Project Coordinator said companies have been pre-qualified for the provision of water and that very soon, the bidding process will commence. He allayed fears that HYPREP is only considering remediation works alone
Dekil cleared the air on the misconception by many on the implementation of emergency measures. He explained that the reason UNEP came to do this assessment was not because there was no water in Ogoniland, or livelihood, but that they came because the place was contaminated by hydrocarbon pollution. He said “the other things that were recommended along the very key problem of contamination were palliatives. Emergency measures, provision of water are support services to the core mandate. If HYPREP were to fail in its core mandate of remediating Ogoniland, then we wouldn’t have succeeded in doing what is expected of the report”. He added that HYPREP had already commenced the implementation of emergency measures alongside its core mandate.
.The HYPREP Coordinator said the treatment of contaminated soil is a technical process that requires technical solution. He assured all Ogonis and Nigerians that the process being adopted in the treatment of lightly impacted land areas where impact is largely limited to soil through the use of biological treatment is the best in terms of cost and safety. He added that for every contract that was awarded, there was provision for the construction of a bio-cell – a soil treatment facility built next to the site to do exactly what the Integrated Contaminated Soil Management Centre (ICSMC) would have done. He said the ICSMC will be used in the more complex impacted sites that require both soil and groundwater remediation.
.In order to have a strong internal monitoring and supervision team, Dekil informed the media that aside from the Project Management Consultant (PMC) that manages and interfaces with the contractors, HYPREP in collaboration with UNEP trained 21 scientists in Geneva in Management of Contaminated Site Assessment, Clean-up Assessment, Clean-up od Contaminated Sites and Fieldwork Techniques. He said 80% of these young scientists are from Ogoni.
.Dekil informed the media that with the presence of UNEP working with HYPREP to ensure that all works were in line with the recommendations, quality of work is guaranteed.