From TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt
Foremost repentant Niger Delta agitator from Ogoni, in Rivers State, Solomon Ndigbara, has raised the alarm that the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) job for the Ogoni cleanup has been hijacked and funds meant for the project were being diverted by strangers.
He has also issued a 21-day ultimatum to relocate the HYPREP headquarters from Port Harcourt to Ogoniland, insisting that a project meant for Ogoni could not be run from outside Ogoniland.
Ndigbara, who goes by the title Mene Sira Ba Teera 1 of Ogoni Kingdom, was the first Niger Delta agitator to submit to the Federal Government Presidential Amnesty under late President Musa Yar’Adua.
He made his position known today, when he spoke in Bori, the traditional headquarters of Ogoni land.
He decried the failure of HYPREP to action its core mandate of the clean up of Ogoni, as well as employment and empowerment of Ogoni people.
Ndigbara said the situation where most sensitive and strategic units of HYPREP, such as Procurement and Operations respectively, are headed by non-Ogonis was unacceptable because they (authorities that matter) had continued to undermine and deny Ogonis economic opportunities from the project.
The former Niger Delta agitator argued that, whereas he is not against any non-Ogoni working in HYPREP, that patriotic Ogoni citizens should be at the helm of the affairs of the most strategic positions since it was a community-oriented project for Ogoniland.
Ndigbara, who is also a peace qmbassador, warned those who were fighting the Project Coordinator, Ferdinand Giadom, to rethink their actions, as Ogoni people would no longer allow their well-meaning son to be frustrated in this life-saving project.
He insisted that the indigenes paid the supreme price for this project to come on stream.
Speaking further, Ndigbara said it took a major struggle for an Ogoni son to be appointed the Project Coordinator for HYPREP, alleging that forces who are fighting against the man (Giadom) were both internal and external known to Ogoni people.
He called on those fighting and frustrating Giadom to desist forthwith in the interest of peace and the development of Ogoniland, as Ogoni natives would not tolerate any injustice any further.
Ndigbara accused known enemy forces of self-serving and vested interest in their quest to impede the cleanup process.
The ex-agitator said most of the other key sub projects of the cleanup, such as water projects, human capacity programmes among others, had been hijacked by some people who were bent on derailing the laudable Federal Government project which is now failing.
He volunteered to provide a good land to HYPREP for the building of a Skills Acquisition Programme Centre, which, according to him, would help address the issue of unemployment and restiveness, as well as partner other Ogoni stakeholders for its actualization.
Ndigbara, however, lamented that the project was one of President Muhammadu Buhari’s landmark interventions in Ogoniland, but that its at the verge of failure despite multi-billions of Naira spent by the federal government.
According to him, some those who want President Buhari to fail Ogoni people within the system were killing the project.
He declared that, if things continue the way they currently are, Ogoni people would mobilize for a peaceful protest to drive home their demands.