WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THE HYDROCARBON POLLUTION RESTORATION PROJECT (HYPREP)
Following years of neglect and inactivity in respect of the clean-up of the Niger Delta, the current administration led by President Muhammadu Buhari, committed to implementing the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) Report . The report, released in 2011, was a product of an assessment conducted by the UNEP in 2006. The assessment, which was executed on commission by the Umar Musa Yar’Adua Administration, considered the environmental and health impact of oil contamination in the Ogoni community. The report also prescribed recommendations to address environmental and health issues, plaguing the region. In the year 2015, the Buhari led administration committed to the implementation of recommended actions in the UNEP report. In line with the foregoing commitment, the administration moved to put in place a structure/framework to facilitate/spearhead, and coordinate the clean-up of Ogoni land. The clean-up was forecasted by experts, to estimate an implementation span of 30 years, and cost an estimate of a billion USD.
The Hydrocarbon Pollution Restoration Project
The Hydrocarbon Pollution Restoration Project (HYPREP) was the creation of the Good luck administration, set up in 2012. The establishment of this body had been the most significant stride by the past administration in executing the recommendations of the UNEP report. Under the administration, HYPREP made no tangible contribution to addressing the plight of the Ogoni community and aggrieved denizens of the Niger Delta. Two years after the establishment of HYPREP, the agency began to suffer poor management and funding, said to be indebted to its personnel for salary arrears of 30 months. It is also interesting to note, that 5 years after the establishment of HYPREP, it does not possess its own office.
Management of HYPREP
Ensuing from the extant administration’s commitment was the seeming reinvigoration, and re-constitution of HYPREP. The extant administration aptly made amendments to the Gazette establishing HYPREP. The amendments included to its structure, a Board of Trustees to manage HYPREP’s Trust Fund , a Governing Council, and a Project Management Team. A sum of ten million USD was also deposited into the Trust Fund, to secure financial viability of the body.
The Governing Council of HYPREP is a multi-stakeholder and inclusive selection, constituted by the Ministry of Petroleum Resources (one representative), Federal Ministry of Environment (one representative), Impacted States (Rivers) (one representative), Oil Companies and NNPC (four Representative), Ogoni land (two representatives), United Nations (one representative), and the secretariat which is headed by a project manager/coordinator.
The Gazette establishing HYPREP, bestowed on the Governing Council the responsibility of oversight, tasked with ensuring the implementation of recommendations contained in the UNEP report. Ensuing from the foregoing developments, there has been no substantial progress. As at the 7th day of July 2017, the clean up remains in the preparatory/preliminary phase, since flag off in June 2015.
With the appointment of Dr. Marvin Dekil, as the coordinator of the HYPREP at the close of 2016, there had been hope of increased pace in implementation, yet the protraction of preliminary/preparatory activities is gradually causing patience to wane amongst stakeholders. While Nigerians await substantial action, representatives of HYPREP, and the Federal Government, continue to reiterate the alibi of the need for adequate planning/preparation.
HYPREP and the Cleanup of Ogoniland
Despite seeming inaction by HYPREP and the Federal Government, training of personnel who would partake in the clean up of Ogoniland is underway, as part of the preparatory phase . The Project Coordinator recently stated, in an interview with Punch Newspaper, that the agency is soon to run an assessment of contamination in impacted sites during the implementation phase of the project, before a remediation plan is established. The foregoing comment was corroborated by the Resident Coordinator of United Nations in Nigeria, Mr. Edward Kallou, who asked patience of Nigerians, in his interview with Punch Newspaper.
We hope that HYPREP, as the body charged with the mandate of spearheading the cleanup of Ogoni land, receives adequate support from stakeholders and the federal government, and is able to fulfil its mandate to the relief of aggrieved people of the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.
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Author: Eitokpah Henri-Paul (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Co-Author: Vincent Dania (email@example.com)