Ogoni Youths Give FG  Seven Days Ultimatum To Revoke N80bn Failed Clean-Up Contracts


…Demand Resumption Of Oil Exploration

Daud Olatunji 

The National Youth Council of Ogoni People (NYCOP) has issued a stern warning  to the federal government, demanding the revocation of failed contracts worth N80 billion allocated for the clean-up, remediation, and restoration of Ogoni Communities. 

The apex socio-cultural youth group of the Ogoni People has given a seven-day notice for the government to take decisive action in recovering 30% mobilization payments made to contractors who have allegedly absconded with Ogoni funds.

In a letter addressed to the Minister of Environment, Mr. Balarabe Lawal, NYCOP emphasized the urgent need for accountability and transparency in the execution of contracts aimed at revitalizing Ogoni communities. 

The letter, also copied to prominent government officials including President Bola Tinubu, Senate President Godswill Akpabio, and Rivers State Governor Siminalayi Fubara, highlights the growing concern over the mismanagement of funds allocated for critical development projects in the region.

NYCOP revealed that over 25 contractors, entrusted with the responsibility of executing the clean-up projects, have failed to fulfill their obligations despite receiving substantial mobilization payments. 

The group expressed disappointment at the lack of progress, noting that only a fraction of the awarded contractors have commenced work while the majority remain inactive or unresponsive.

The urgency of the situation is underscored by the findings of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), which estimated that the remediation of Ogoni communities impacted by crude oil spills could take up to 30 years.

 With time being of the essence, NYCOP emphasized the need for swift and decisive action to ensure the timely completion of vital projects aimed at restoring the environmental integrity of Ogoni lands.

The ultimatum issued by NYCOP includes demands for the immediate revocation of sureties, performance bonds, and advance payment guarantees (APGs) of failed contractors.

 Additionally, the group called for the delisting and disqualification of these contractors from future contracts, citing their gross incompetence and dereliction of duty.

In a bold move, NYCOP threatened to mobilize mass protests if tangible progress is not observed within the stipulated seven-day timeframe. 

The group reaffirmed its commitment to holding government officials and contractors accountable for their actions, stressing that the future of Ogoni youths cannot be jeopardized by the misappropriation of public funds.

Meanwhile, the youths  have  demanded the resumption of full oil exploitation and exploration in their region. 

Their  call comes 29 years after the tragic execution of environmental rights activist Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogoni sons by the military junta led by General Sani Abacha.

During a  rally held in Bori, Khana Local Government Area of the state, in support of the Ogoni Economic Rebirth Project, the youths emphasized the need for oil exploration to proceed alongside the ongoing clean-up exercise managed by the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP).

Barinuazor Emmanuel, President of NYCOP, voiced concerns about the potential waste of Ogoni oil if the world shifts away from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. 

He stressed the importance of exploring and utilizing these resources now for the betterment of future generations.

Emmanuel highlighted the significant sacrifices made by the Ogoni people in contributing to Nigeria’s oil wealth, underscoring the urgency of addressing environmental degradation in the region.

 He called for a strategic approach that combines remediation efforts with negotiations for oil resumption to ensure sustainable development for Ogoni youths.

Solomon Ndigbara, a prominent leader in the area, echoed these sentiments, emphasizing the need for Ogoni to benefit from its oil and gas resources. 

He urged collaboration between the Ogoni Exploration and Production Company and reputable partners in the industry to secure leases for operating assets within the Ogoni oilfields.

The youth leader called on all well-meaning Ogoni sons and daughters to reject divisive tactics employed by self-serving individuals and prioritize the collective interests of the community.

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