Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) has run into turbulent waters with the Ogoni people of Rivers State. Kinsmen of the late Ken Saro-Wiwa, wants the oil pollution remediation agency probed.
President of Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), Fegalo Nsuke, is saying that the Ogoni people represented by their mass movement, MOSOP, are calling for a probe into the finances of HYPREP.
Nsuke said his kith and kin are accusing the Ogoni cleanup management agency of allegedly looting around $200 million meant for the cleanup.
He was speaking from Bori, the traditional headquarters of the Ogoni people, and that of Khana Local Government Area, Rivers State.
MOSOP, according to him, is therefore calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to order a probe into the finances of HYPREP which he said was an increasing dent on the reputation of the administration he heads.
‘’The Ogoni cleanup has already been consumed by internal corruption and the Ogoni people should not remain silent over the endless looting in HYPREP’’, the MOSOP leader said, adding, ‘’it will be irresponsible to be silent in the face of these abuses, especially one that threatens our hopes for a clean environment.
“I want to state equivocally that at least $200million of the Ogoni cleanup funds cannot be accounted for under the HydroCarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) and this includes massive bribes and misappropriated funds.
“I will further insist that a probe be instituted to look into the finances of HYPREP and Nigerians will be shocked at the revelation of massive looting of the cleanup funds and what people who call themselves managers of the program have done to public funds entrusted to their care.”
On the appointment of Prof Philip Shekwolo who returned to the management of the agency as Head of Operations on Monday, May 16, 2022, after serving as project coordinator and being relieved of his post earlier this year, Nsuke alleged that Shekwolo has been part of the highly corrupt HYPREP and may have been returned to help cover up the mess in HYPREP.
Stressing, he said, Shewolo”s return was a reflection of questionable and degrading ethics in the conduct of the cleanup business.
“Shekwolo’s era as head of HYPREP witnessed massive complaints of financial mismanagement and MOSOP does not find any justification for his return to the organisation. While calling for the withdrawal of Shokwelo’s appointment, Nsuke noted that what was going on in HYPREP was hurting the reputation of the government and needed to be addressed”, he said.
Continuing, Nsuke maintained that the call for an investigation into the HYPREP looting has become necessary following credible intelligence indicating that at least $200Million has been misappropriated in HYPREP.
‘The amount, he said, was too heavy to ignore and urged President Muhammadu Buhari to personally pay attention to what is going on in HYPREP.
While noting that the Ogoni people have lost confidence in the cleanup exercise, the MOSOP president said further funding of HYPREP was unnecessary following the huge financial mismanagement going on there, insisting that the leadership of HYPREP is excessively corrupt and a probe is necessary to save the organisation from the embarrassment of corrupt leadership.
“MOSOP has lost confidence in the cleanup exercise and wants to state that there can be no credit for the government as far as we are concerned. We do not think it is necessary to further fund the cleanup program because it all ends up in private pockets. All we have seen is that the exercise has been weakened by internal looting which appears to have been exacerbated by the systemic corruption.
“We have severally highlighted the looting that was going on in HYPREP and do not expect the state to turn a blind eye. The action of the state will determine how seriously we can take the cleanup exercise’’, the MOSOP chief said.