President, Ogoni Council Of Ministers, Bishop Gberegbara Addresses Issue Of Eleme-Ogoni Identity

...As HYPREP Boss, Prof Zabbey Hosts Ogoni Religious Leaders

The Project Coordinator of Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP), Professor Nenibarini Zabbey, has stressed the importance of the role of religious leaders in the successful implementation of HYPREP’s mandate to remediate the hydrocarbon pollution and restore livelihoods of Ogoni people.

Speaking at a one day meeting with Ogoni religious leaders in Port Harcourt on Thursday, Prof Zabbey underscored the moral authority and influence of religious leaders in shaping the hearts and minds of the community.

He sought their guidance, support, and active participation in realizing the full potential of HYPREP, urging them to mobilize support, foster unity, and promote environmental stewardship and civic education within their congregations.

The Projects Coordinator also called on them to counter targeted misinformation against the project and disseminate accurate information on its progress.

Professor Zabbey highlighted the challenges faced by the project, including roll-out delays due to community disputes and chieftaincy conflicts. He asked the religious leaders to contribute to peace-building efforts by promoting alternative dispute resolution at the community level.

He emphasized the inclusive and participatory approach of HYPREP, respecting the diversity of perspectives and values in the community.

Prof Zalley valued the insights and feedback of the religious leaders as the project navigated the complexities of implementation and further encouraged them to draw inspiration from teachings of compassion, justice, and reverence for creation in their religious traditions.

The Projects Coordinator emphasized the commitment of the federal government to the project and the presence of monitoring and evaluation mechanisms to ensure timely and cost-effective delivery, even as he informed them about the various ongoing projects in Ogoniland, including land and shoreline remediation, mangrove restoration, infrastructure construction, and livelihood projects.

In conclusion, he expressed gratitude for their support and commitment to the well-being of the Ogoni people and environment and hoped for wisdom, grace, and a shared vision of a better future for all.

Responding on behalf of the religious leaders, the President of Ogoni Council of Ministers, Bishop Gberegbara expressed their appreciation for the efforts made by HYPREP and its leader in addressing the situation in Ogoniland.

Acknowledging that progress takes time, the Bishop congratulated the organization on the ongoing projects.

With fervent prayers offered for the successful completion of projects despite the pressures faced by HYPREP, Bishop Gberegbara raised a few issues on behalf of the church leaders.

Firstly, he mentioned that the religious leaders had previously approached the Minister of Environment to express the challenges faced by pastors in Ogoniland. He further highlighted the difficulty of conducting pastoral work in a community where many people are impoverished.

The bishop mentioned that they had made a request for a bus for the Church Leaders Council to aid in their peace effort, and also requested logistical arrangements for pastors to return to Ogoniland after dismissals.

Lastly, the President addressed the issue of some Eleme people disassociating themselves from the Ogoni identity and emphasized the need for unity among all Ogoni communities and the importance of recognizing the struggles and sacrifices made for the Ogoni cause.

The meeting which coincided with the one year anniversary of Professor Zabbey’s assumption of office as HYPREP’s Project Coordinator, had in attendance, bishops, church leaders and coordinators of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Ogoniland.

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