ADVOCACY CENTRE, CISLAC HOLDS PROGRAM ON PEACEBUILDING, CONFLICT SENSITIVITY AND MITIGATION WITH OGONI PARLIAMENTARIANS ON OGONI CLEANUP
Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre (YEAC) on Thursday, March 5, 2020 organised capacity building session on peacebuilding, conflict sensitivity and mitigation on the Ogoni Cleanup project for the councilors of the four local government area of Ogoni. The councilors, 56, their legislative assembly Clerks, 4 and other civil society actors and the media numbering over 80 persons gathered to carry out this program with funding support from Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC).Declaring the event open, Barrister Adesina Oke welcomed the local government legislative members to the program and commended the continuous engagement roles of Advocacy Centre after the last capacity building program on September 12, 2019. He further explained the purpose of the engagement and its potentials to mitigate conflicting interests for the smooth implementation of the Ogoni Cleanup project.In his address, the Executive Director of Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre (YEAC), Mr. Fyneface Dumnamene Fyneface expressed appreciation to CISLAC for funding the activity. He said it is important that we rob minds together like this on issues relating to the Ogoni cleanup because to an extent, there is communication gap between the people and the cleanup project in Ogoniland which if not checkmated may cause crisis that may affect the cleanup project. He said the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) being a project under the ministry of environment covered by the Freedom of Information Act (2011) is supposed to be able to give requested information about the project without hesitation or anything to hide as the cleanup project is a product of a struggle that was not hidden. He also called for transparency and accountability in the cleanup process as well as the involvement of the various stakeholders to bring about peace for the smooth implementation of the UNEP Report. He welcomed the Councilors to program and urged them to pay attention to it and replicate the knowledge in their activities to smoothen the implementation of the project because if there is no peace, government can capitalize on that and discontinue the implementation of the project. He however called on HYPREP to return to the basics and implement the emergency measures recommended by UNEP in the 2011 report and provide drinking water for the people among others.Through a structured questions presented on “menti.com”, some participants said they have not read the UNEP report. Other participants said what HYPREP can do to prevent conflict and promote peace in the cleanup process is to be transparent, accountable, ensure effective communication, implement the UNEP report according to UNEP recommendations starting with emergency measures, make wider consultation, involvement of the local government councilors in the project implementation at the ward level, take cleanup advocacy to the grass-root, etc. on the other hand, participants identified effective communication, transparency, all-inclusiveness, de-politicization of the cleanup process, accountability, etc as the best strategies to achieve a peaceful cleanup process in Ogoniland.