As the clean up of Ogoni land takes off in earnest, the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP), the agency contracted by the Federal Government for the exercise has assured Ogoni students of their inclusion in the implementation of the UNEP Report on Ogoni land.
A statement issued in Port Harcourt by the the Assistant Director of Information in HYPREP, Ekaete Umo, quoted its Project Coordinator, Dr. Marvin Dekil, as making the pledge during a courtesy call on him by the National Union of Ogoni Students (NUOS), led by Barinaada Kpalap.
Kpalap said the visit to the Project Coordinator was amongst others, to pledge the unflinching support of the students of Ogoni for HYPREP.
While presenting the students’ requests, he added that the students were eager to be a part of history and appealed to Dekil for inclusion in areas where they could contribute and add value to the successful implementation of the project.
According to him, the students of Ogoni were ready and willing to work with the HYPREP Project Coordination Office (PCO) in the area of advocacy and information dissemination, adding that as students of Ogoni, they are close to members of the affected communities and constantly in touch with them and could therefore act as a channel to drive information to the grassroots.
Dekil said his Office was ready to partner with them through the Union’s Public Relations Officer (PRO) for efficient and effective communication during sensitization and advocacy visits to the affected communities.
He advised the key officials of NUOS to create a synergy with HYPREP Communication team so as to be informed and also participate when such programmes come up.
Dekil assured the students that HYPREP will accommodate students on its industrial training programmes who study courses in relevant fields, adding that the Project will serve as a platform to train them into becoming experts moving forward.
He informed them that HYPREP will be willing to work with them on activities that support the project within the allocated budget.
Dekil said, “There are activities you could do for the Project like sensitization. Where there are specific activities that support the Project within the budget, we may be able to engage you to do such things. You need to come up as an organisation, create activities that you think can support this project and support will naturally come with that. You need to be ingenious and innovative with that”.
Speaking further, the Project Coordinator said the role of students in the Ogoni environmental clean-up was all clearly defined as the project offers a very unique opportunity for Ogoni students to understudy and learn the key skills for remediation.
He assured them that HYPREP doors were wide open and urged them to glean and learn life skills while interacting with professionals on the project.
Dekil informed his guests that HYPREP was willing to assist youths to develop business ideas and set up companies leveraging on the waiver given by the Federal Government to support youths to register their own businesses using the Ogoni youths forum as a platform.
He advised the students to take advantage of the various programmes in HYPREP to improve themselves professionally.
While appealing to the Student Union representatives to always give accurate report on the programmes and activities of HYPREP, he told them that the whole essence of partnering with them was to ensure they have first hand information on what was happening in HYPREP.
The Project Coordinator assured the students that the federal government was committed to ensuring the full and successful implementation of the UNEP report towards restoring Ogoni land and providing sustainable livelihood for the people of Ogoni.