Remediating Ogoniland in the face of mounting insecurity

Recently, there have been increasing cases of insecurity in Ogoniland which Hydrocarbon Pollution and Remediation Project (HYPREP) says will not deter the federal government from going ahead with its remediation plan for communities which has been devastated for decades by oil spills, HELEN OJI reports.
Hydrocarbon pollution and remediation Project (HYPREP) was set up by the federal government to determine the scope, means and modalities of remediation of soil and and ground water contamination in impacted communities as may be recommended. Enhance local capacity for the better environmental management and as well as ensure livelihoods and sustainable development ensure security and and promote peace building efforts in impacted communities strengthen governance, transparency and accountability in the region. 
There’ll be no stop to clean-up plans
The HYPREP’s Coordinator, Dr Marvin Dekil, gave the assurance on the sideline of HYPREP’s meeting with officials of the American Embassy recently in Port Harcourt. 

While speaking to the diplomats, Dekil said no fewer than 10 victims recently lost their lives in Bodo, K-Dere, B-Dere, Gbe, Bomu and Kpor communities due to renewed gun violence in Ogoniland.
According to him the adhoc body which is under the Federal Ministry of Environment, would not halt the clean-up exercise due to the dire consequences such a delay could have on the entire project.
“Insecurity will not deter us from carrying out Ogoni clean-up because insecurity is not peculiar to Ogoni communities alone, but to the entire Rivers,” he stressed.
Ogoni community engaged
“A quick visit to the sites will reveal that all the people working there are from Ogoni communities. So, I do not think that there could be better security than the community people. Presently, we have over 630 people engaged by our contractors working on our various sites, and all the workers are all indigenous (Ogoni) people,” he said.

Dekil said the President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government is  passionate about continuating with the clean-up exercise in spite of attempts by criminals to delay the process.
He said the remediation agency would soon award contracts to qualified firms to build water facilities before the end of 2019 as recommended by the United Nations Environment Project (UNEP) Report.
Providing water 
Specifically, the water facilities would be provided only to communities whose underground source of water has been contaminated by decades of oil spills in the area. “We are almost getting to the stage where contracts would be awarded for the water projects in specific communities, such as Nsisioken, among others.
“The primary reason the United Nations was invited to Nigeria is to assess environment challenges in Ogoniland. The mandate is to remediate impacted sites in Ogoniland while water is secondary.
 “So, the next phase of remediation work is the complex sites, which the ground water and soil were impacted by oil spill,” he said.
Procurement process 
The remediation agency and UNEP, have characterised the complex sites as well as started the procurement process to bring competent companies to participate in the clean-up exercise. He added that work were in various stages of completion across the various oil-impacted sites in Eleme, Gokana, Khana and Tai Local Government Areas that make up Ogoniland.
Bio-cells to be used 
“We have made more progress in Tai and Eleme – as most of the companies have built their bio cells in the areas that we used for the clean-up exercise. Aside this, we are also having serious engagements with Oil Watch Africa, comprising delegates from 15 African countries.
“We have also engaged as well as took Ogoni-elected representatives from the Senate to Councillors round the clean-up sites with a view to making the exercise a success,’’ he said.
Dekil and officials from the U.S. Embassy, however, declined to comment on the outcome of the meeting between both bodies.
Strengthening partnerships key I’ll enhanced climate action – GCF

The Green Climate Fund (GCF) will “refine and sharpen” its support for developing nations’ climate ambition amid alarming signs of increasing climate change threats.
GCF Executive Director, Yannick Glemarec, told 125 developing country representatives, including 50 ministers, among over 500 participants at the opening session of the five-day (GCF) Global Programming Conference in South Korea.
“It was the latest sign that the global climate crisis is accelerating even faster than scientists had feared. In response to the climate crisis, developing countries are rapidly raising their climate efforts to avoid the unmanageable and manage the unavoidable.
While noting the rising ambitions of developing countries to tackle climate change, Mr Glemarec vowed GCF will hone its flow of climate finance strategically through partnerships that best match national needs and called on global support for GCF during its first replenishment this year.
“To support this call, we must develop a robust strategy and ambitious programming plans. We must demonstrate together that GCF is fit-for-purpose to help your economies withstand and adapt to the impacts of climate change, while also significantly reducing emissions that further exacerbate climate change,” he said.
“The conference comes at a key time for GCF as it garners global support for replenishment Teuea Toatu, Vice President of Kiribati, a particularly vulnerable small island state on the frontline of climate change, stressed the need for others to support GCF replenishment during the conference opening.
“I call upon and challenge the developed countries to broaden their vision and scale up their contribution towards replenishing GCF,” he said. 
“This urgency is made even more critical by the IPCC special report that we are nowhere near the 1.5 degree target as stipulated by the Paris Agreement.
UN Deputy Secretary General, Amina  Mohammed, reiterated calls for an ambitious and successful GCF replenishment during a video conferencing during the opening session.
Former UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, emphasised the importance of GCF in meeting a global commitment to mobilise $100 billion of climate finance for developed countries annually by 2020.
“2020 is just a few months away, and I’m deeply concerned by the level of the ambition shown by the world leaders,” he said. 
Ban also emphasised the importance of taking a “two-pronged approach” to combining measures to help vulnerable communities adapt to climate change as well as lowering global emissions. 
He said attention should be paid to nations such as Kiribati which, by an “issue of cruel irony,” are the most vulnerable to climate change while they are least responsible.
GCF will learn from the five days of conference discussions, covering a broad variety of climate action themes, to ensure it best matches growing developing country ambition by crafting strategic and impactful approaches to climate finance. 

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