As the Ogoni ethnic nationality observe the 31st Anniversary of the Ogoni Struggle, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Ogoni Trust Fund Inc of Hydrocarbon Pollution and Remediation Project (HYPREP), Dr. Michael Barieenee Nwielaghi, has highlighted the significant strides made despite enduring economic and socio-political challenges faced by the Ogoni people.
In a goodwill message on Thursday, January 4, 2024, Dr. Nwielaghi recounted the genesis of the struggle three decades ago.
Reflecting on the inception of the peaceful resistance against discrimination, suppression, political marginalization, and environmental degradation under the leadership of late Kenule Beeson Saro Wiwa and other eminent figures, Dr. Nwielaghi emphasized the non-violent nature of the movement.
Despite the loss of revered leaders and community members, Dr. Nwielaghi said the struggle gained recognition both locally and internationally for its peaceful approach, although later disrupted by external forces.
Highlighting the achievements stemming from this struggle, Dr. Nwielaghi pointed to the ongoing Ogoni cleanup initiative by the APC-led Federal Government as a pivotal outcome. To promote unity and collaboration with the government to realize the cleanup objectives, the BoT Chairman called for constructive criticism over outright condemnation, advocating for a spirit devoid of animosity and envy.
Addressing various ongoing projects including water schemes, healthcare facilities, shoreline protection, livelihood programs, and environmental remediation, Dr. Nwielaghi underscored their significance, noting that the impact might not be immediately visible due to the nature of remediation work beneath the surface.
He shed light on the meticulous financial processes overseeing the project’s funding, emphasizing the stringent procedures involved in fund disbursement from international banks and the audit trail supervised by reputable entities.
Dr. Nwielaghi appealed for a cessation of baseless accusations and encouraged individuals seeking clarifications to approach the project office rather than resorting to unfounded allegations.
Expressing gratitude to stakeholders including UNEP, International Oil Companies, and JV partners for their unwavering support, he reassured that funding remains secure and reiterated the necessity for continued cooperation to fulfill the project’s mandate.
Dr. Nwielaghi stressed the importance of sustaining the momentum, embracing peaceful dialogue, and urged collective efforts toward the swift execution of the President’s directive by the Governing Council, headed by Honorable Minister of Environment Mallam Balarabe Abbass, the Board of Trustees, and the Project Coordinating Office.