BusinessDay

HYPREP flags off remediation training in Rivers

...as council chairman calls for establishment of environmental trust fund

Federal Ministry of Environment has been urged to establish an environmental trust fund to help cushion the negative impact of oil exploration and pollution suffered by the people of Eleme in Rivers State.

Onarilomaye Ollie, executive chairman, Eleme Local Government Area, made the call during the visit of Mohammad Abubakar, minister of environment to Eleme, for the flag-off of HYPREP training of community workers on remediation.

He thanked the minister for coming personally to flag off the training of youths in the area for the basic remediation technics, which according to him is a lifetime experience.

He urged the youths to take the programme seriously to reduce the impact of hydrocarbon pollution, especially the oil spill in the area.

“Our people are friendly, hospitable and peaceful, but sometimes we feel that we are taking for granted for our peaceful deposition and that is why you hear issues of unrest sometimes.

“But this visit today has assured us that government attention and presence has come down to our people.

“Apart from this hydrocarbon pollution that we have in Eleme, because of the presence of a lot of multinationals in our local government, we have pollution problems, which have affected lives.

“We don’t intend to approach this in a violent manner or be confrontational, but at this point, the government should begin to look at how to remedy this situation for our people before it becomes an issue”.

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To stop polution in the area, Ollie advocated for an Environmental Trust Fund for Eleme people that are heavily impacted by activities of industries to give some sort of confidence and courage to the people that they are not playing host to companies that don’t care about them.

“So it’s an opportunity for me to mention it to you and I think that if you agree with me, our people have been friendly, even in the ongoing exercise and so we welcome you today to our local government for the flag off and the inspection you are to carry out”.

He appealed to the Minister to carefully take a review of the impact of activities of industries on the people and fashion out a corporate plan on how to solve the problems before it becomes an issue of serious contention.

He maintained that the visit was timely and an indication that better days are ahead.

The high point of the Minister’s visit was the flagging off of HYPREP training of Community workers on Remediation in Ogoniland.

Also present at the event were; Minister of State for Finance, Budget and National Planning, Clem Ikanade Agba, representative of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Babayo Ardu, who is the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Niger Delta, Rivers State Commissioner for Agriculture, Fred Kpakol, HYPREP BOT Chairman, Mike Nwieleghi, Vice Chairman of Eleme LGA, Virtue Ekee, Paramount ruler of Ogale)Emere Nchia, HRH, Bebe Okapbi, Paramount ruler of Ebubu, Emere Godwin Y. Chinwi, Councillors, Principal Officers of the Council, Eleme Youth Coordinator, Prince Okereke Nseo, HYPREP Trainees, amongst others.