The hydrocarbon pollution remediation project, HYPREP, was birthed by the United Nation’s Environment Program, UNEP for the remediation, Sustainable Livelihood, Provision of Potable Water, Public Health analysis in impacted communities of Ogoniland.
The United Nations Environment Programme is responsible for coordinating responses to environmental issues within the United Nations system. It was established by Maurice Strong, its first director, after the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm in June 1972.
In 2006, UN Environment received a formal request from the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to carry out a comprehensive environmental assessment of oil-impacted sites in the region of Ogoniland, and to recommend suitable remediation actions based on the findings.
Recognizing the human and environmental tragedy associated with oil contamination in the Ogoni region – where oil exploration and production began in the 1950s – UN Environment responded to the Government’s request and conducted an independent assessment of the environmental and public health impacts of oil contamination in Ogoniland, in the Niger Delta, with the agreement and support of Ogoni communities, the Rivers State Government and other partners.
In 2018, building on its 2011 Environmental Assessment of Ogoniland, UN Environment began a new project that aims to strengthen the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) and its Governing Council, so that they can discharge their responsibilities better and clean up oil contamination in Ogoniland. HYPREP therefore revolves around addressing the environmental, social, and economic challenges faced by communities impacted by oil pollution, with a primary focus on the Ogoniland region.
How much remediation has been achieved by HYPREP in Ogoniland since inception?
Ace Environmentalist, Director, Health of Mother Earth Foundation, Dr. Nnimmo Bassey wants HYPREP to engage experts in the exercise and to move to deeper polluted sites for the cleanup.
Niger Delta activist Ankio Briggs on her part, said HYPREP cannot get it right since the cleanup is not done by professionals.
Ankio Briggs who is also the Convener, Niger Delta, South Determination Movement, said strict measures should be adopted by indigenes of the Niger Delta Region to control environmental pollution in the region.
An Ogoni indigene who is also the Chairman, Ogoni Civil Society Stakeholders Forum, Comrade Lekia Christian and a youth from Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State, whose name was not mentioned, gave diverse opinion on the cleanup so far.
The Project Coordinator of HYPREP, Professor Nenibarine Zabey said the project is designed to attain set goals and dealing with polluted water is also key on the scheme.
Minister of Environment for State, Dr. Ishaq Salako who was in Ogoniland few weeks ago for inspection of th cleanup sites and the planting of ten economic trees, told Newsmen that the Centre for Excellence, meant for environmental monitoring and restoration in Wiyakara community in Khana Local Government area of the State, would be ready in September 2025.
It is believed that HYPREP would cleanup Ogoniland and eventually address the environmental pollution other impacted sites in the Niger Delta Region.
This project comes as an integral part of UN Environment’s continuing support to the Government of Nigeria to clean up the environmental contamination in Nigeria and achieve lasting peace in the region.