Communities in Khana Local Government Area (LGA) of Ogoniland at the weekend, had reasons to smile as the Federal Government flagged off the second phase of its free medical outreach as part of activities put in place for the implementation of the United Nations Environment Report (UNEP) on Ogoniland
Speaking at the Flag-off Ceremony at the weekend, the Project Coordinator of Hydrocarbon Pollotion Remediation Project (HYPREP), Dr. Marvin Dekil, said the overwhelming success of the first phase of the outreach programme held in Bori, Kana LGA on 26th December, 2017 “got the attention of President Mohammadu Buhari who was touched by the poor living conditions of the Ogoni people due to the degradation of their environment by oil exploration, and therefore graciously approved another round of the medical intervention to reach more people.”
He said that as a result of the intervention, many who for years had agonized under painful but treatable medical conditions because of limited access to health facilities or lack of the financial wherewithal to treat such conditions, were attended to. In this regard, he reiterated that the Federal Government remained committed towards the full implementation of the UNEP report on Ogoniland.
Dr. Dekil further emphasized the importance of the second edition of the HYPREP Health Outreach Programme explaining that it precedes the remediation of impacted sites. “Presently, the publication for invitation for pre-qualification of contractors for remediation of hydrocarbon impacted sites in Ogoniland is in some national and international dailies. The exercise will be the culmination of all the processes we have put in place right from the inception of the Project Coordination Office in March, 2017”, he stated.
He further assured that “the remediation of Ogoniland will be done only by experienced and best hands locally and internationally so as to achieve the desired results of restoring the environment back to an acceptable standard”.
Dekil equally informed that while the medical outreach is going on, plans were underway for the provision of potable water through the reconstruction of existing water facilities in the land and the construction of new ones to fill the supply gaps in the communities.
This he explained were part of deliberate efforts by the Federal Government to implement another key recommendation of the UNEP Report which is the restoration of livelihoods in impacted communities whose sources of living were affected by hydrocarbon pollution.
“We will in the coming weeks launch the HYPREP Livelihoods Intervention Programme to give new sets of skills to Ogoni women and youths to enable them create wealth for themselves, their families and their communities”, Dr. Dekil stated.
The HYPREP Coordinator therefore urged the benefiting communities to give their usual cooperation and understanding to enable the Project team deliver on its mandate, adding that the project belonged to the communities and they should avail themselves and their neighbors of the emanating benefits. (END)
Saghir el Mohammed
Federal Ministry of Environment