World Water Day: HYPREP, Committed To Water Supply In Ogoni – Baridam

As the world celebrates the 2022 international water day, there could not have been a more apt theme than ‘groundwater, making the invisible visible’ as that portrays in clear terms the efforts of the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) in bringing this treasured and essential resource to the doorstep of the Ogoni people whose water sources have been impacted by oil pollution. Provision of potable water is a key deliverable recommended in the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Report on the environment of Ogoni, which its implementation is entrusted to HYPREP by the Federal Government of Nigeria.

Before today, HYPREP had in22 March 2021, upon the approval of the Federal Executive Council awarded six contracts in batch one for the provision of potable water in the four Local Government Areas that make up Ogoniland at the total cost of six billion naira. The inauguration of the six contracts was done in Bori, Khana Local Government Area in May 2021 and as at today five of the contracts are over ninety per cent completed while the contract for Alesa in Eleme has been completed and water being supplied to it and the adjourning communities.

The project in its quest to reach more Ogoni communities with potable water is in the process of procuring the services of competent companies for the provision of potable water. The bid for this second batch of fourteen water contracts was opened on 3rd March 2022 and the evaluation process is on-going. The Honourable Minister of State for Environment, Chief Sharon Ikeazor had made it a matter of policy that the process to get competent companies for the contracts will be transparent and in line with due diligence, assuring all parties that have indicated interest of her commitment to upholding the highest standards in the contract award.

The Procurement Unit of HYPREP is at the financial evaluation stage of the bid and about to issue the report on its findings, meaning that the process has not been concluded for the contracts to be awarded. It will therefore be satisfying to note that, HYPREP will not be involved in any arbitrary award of contracts to cronies and allies, not under the watch of the Honourable Minister of State for Environment, Chief Sharon Ikeazor who had made it sufficiently clear that she will not lower the bar for any contractor.

The list for qualified contracts will be out at the right time and only competent companies will make it. 

Apart from engaging competent contractors, the Honourable Minister had at a town hall meeting with Ogoni stakeholders on 29th November 2021 promised the Ogoni leaders that due process would be followed in the advertisement of contracts even as she has directed that all outstanding invoices to contractors be cleared and reiterated the Federal Government’s commitment to the cleanup project.

In addition to this, she had committed herself to ensuring that competent indigenous contractors get a fair share of the contracts as a way of promoting local content and transfer of technology in the implementation of the Ogoni clean-up project. It is therefore not proper, for anyone to think that the Federal Ministry of Environment which is the supervising Ministry over HYPREP will go outside the provisions in the Procurement Act on contract award.

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