The Ogoni Peoples Assembly (OPA) has threatened an unpleasant mass civil action capable of grounding activities at the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) if some perceived anomalies at the agency are not corrected.
Rising from a meeting which held at Oxygen Resort, Akpajo Junction in Eleme Local Government Area, Tuesday, November 29, 2022, the group in a communiqué signed by its Leader, Rev. (Comrade) Probel Williams and Secretary-General, Double Dr. (Comrade) Evidence Ep-naaBari Enoch, and made available to journalists, said that overt and covert schemes geared to subvert the leadership of HYPREP, especially the office of the Project Coordinator have been uncovered.
OPA also said that it is in ‘privileged custody’ of approved list of HYPREP Award Companies from the BPP, and enjoined the agency to be weary of letting the list get to public domain as it could trigger a ‘mother of all protests’.
“How will one explain only four companies making the list as the only qualified Ogoni Indigenous Companies, despite a demand for 60% participation by indigenous contractors? Clearly, the perpetrators of this tender and award are evil and does not want any project executed. The blood of the martyrs will be invoked against any man attempting to shortchange Ogoni of dividends of her struggle”, the group declared.
The group went on: “Why will any agency of government run with two procurement heads if not to brew conflict and corrupt practices?
“Why will tenures of a particular controversial procurement Head be continually elongated and renewed despite another qualified Procurement Officer on hand?
“Why will the office of the Project Director be magnified over and above the office of the Project Coordinator so much so that the Project Coordinator becomes subservient and helpless even when the said Project Director had free reign during his interim management of the agency?
“Is it that the office of the Minister finds comforts in the adulterous bed of strange bed fellows doing his bidding than the legal union of the indigenous Ogoni Project Coordinator? OPA makes bold to say something is truly fishy”.
As part of its 10-point demand, OPA said the Project Coordinator, Dr. Ferdinand Giadom must be allowed to function freely, while the Hon. Minister for Environment, Project Management Office, Governing Council and the Board should ensure the immediate sack of the Procurement Officer, Mr. Paul Owoicho.
“The Procurement Officer (Paul Owoicho) is hereby declared persona non grata in Ogoniland. He is not needed any more in HYPREP by reason of his gross misconduct to subvert the project and the authority of the Project Coordinator. The Project Directorate office must be answerable to the office of the Project Coordinator or be scrapped. The parallelism is uncalled for and unnecessary”, OPA further demanded.
The group said it is studying the series of litigations and possible litigations against HYPREP ‘to stall them or justify them’.
OPA also demanded what it called ‘effective, sustained and continuous engagement with OPA and the Ogoni to brief and debrief them on the successes, failures, challenges and otherwise of the project periodically.
The group said failure to address their position after 14 days of this notice, a mass civil action would be carried out capable of grounding the activities of HYPREP.