ADVOCACY CENTRE’S SECOND QUARTER 2021 MONITORING REPORT ON OGONI CLEAN-UP PROJECT
On May 5, 2021, Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre (YEAC) visited some sites of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) Report on Ogoni 2011 implementation by Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) in parts of Ogoniland in company of other local and international team members. The site visit on May 5 started with a meeting and brief interaction with Prof. Philip Shekolo, HYPREP’s interim Project Coordinator at the HYPREP headquarters in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital on May 4. We were led on the visit to clean-up sites in Eleme, Gokana and Tai local government areas in Ogoniland by three HYPREP personnels including Isa Wasa, the head of communication and community engagements and Head of Assessment, Mr. Silvester. The field trip started with visitation to sites in the Phase 1, Batch 1 contract sites in Eleme Local Government Area where clean-up are said to have been completed and where some sites are said to have been certified cleaned by the regulators including the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) while others are waiting and undergoing certification. As such, we observed that indeed no contractors are on sites in the Eleme area visited because they have completed their work but we could not certify with our ordinary eyes if the sites have been properly cleaned because we do not only lack the technical capacity to do so but that was not part of our mission for the visit to the sites. Ours was just to see things for ourselves whether work was actually ongoing on the new sites or concluded on the old sites as reported. At the site in Eleme, an elderly man and woman were spotted farming and planting in the are that cleanup was carried out. The woman told us that her crops are growing out and she is happy farming at the site that was polluted before cleanup.It was also observed on the site that some materials including biocel, bags used to bag sand and other materials used for the cleanup still littre the sites and may require another ‘clean-up’ to free the area for possible more grass growth.
From Eleme, the team was taken to clean-up sites in Gokana and Tai Local Government Areas where contractors in the Phase 2, Batch 2 of the cleanup were said to be on sites working. On arrival, we saw and can confirm that many contractors are on sites carrying out remediation works. We saw a cluster of contracting forms numbering about seven working on a stretch and vast expands of land that stretches from B-Dere Community in Gokana Local Government Area into Gio Community in Tai Local Government Area as can be seen in our photograph below taken on April 30, 2021 of the companies’ sign-posts. The lead site managers in each of the communities took time to explain things about their remediation work for us. They also too us into the area where excavators were seen excavating sand into constructed biocels and other workers including women seen doing manual works assigned to them with security personnels including the Police, Army, etc. providing security for the workers. The submission of our monitoring of the Ogoni cleanup project for second quarter 2021 from the sites we visited is that work has been concluded on the sites we visited in the Phase 1, Batch 1 contracts while the Phase 1, Batch 2 sites visited in Gokana and Tai local government area are active, contractors on site with workers and work is ongoing.
Below are some dated photographs from the field trip to monitor the implementation of UNEP Report on Ogoni for second quarter 2021 starting with sites in Eleme; Some photographs from the Gokana and Tai sites