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Ogoniland clean-up: Youths call for prudence of funds management

Ogoni youths under the aegis of the National Youth Council of Ogoni People (NYCOP) has called for prudence management of funds meant for the clean up of polluted sites in the area.

The NYCOP President, Dr Young Nkpa, made the call in an interview, in Port Harcourt, on Friday.

Nkpa said that the youth body would do everything possible to monitor all activities surrounding the clean up exercise.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, in June 2016, flagged off the oil spillage clean-up exercise in Bodo, Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers State.

A United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) scientific study released in 2011 exposed the large-scale, continued contamination of the water and soil in Ogoniland and the serious threat they posed to human health.

The report recommended clean up of all polluted sites to ensure a safe environment for the Ogoni people.

Barely three months after he assumed office in 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari approved several actions to fast-track the long-delayed implementation of the UNEP report.

Some of the actions included the amendment of the official gazette establishing the Hydrocarbon Pollution Restoration Project (HYPREP) and the approval of the composition of a Board of Trustees for the HYPREP Trust Fund.

The president also approved a $10 million initial take-off grant for the implementation of the report.

“Our interest is to see our people living in a pollution-free environment, so we want to ensure that the process is thorough.

“We will call to question any stakeholder found not to be committed to the course of cleaning up the polluted Ogoni environment,’’ the NYCOP president said.

On the recent release of fund by Shell, Nkpa said NYCOP was already assessing the utilisation of funds by HYPREP.

“All monies released for the exercise must be so used, we will not entertain stories. We have suffered for too long and cannot afford to bungle this opportunity,’’ he said. (NAN)

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