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Ogoni youths, under the aegis of the Ogoni Oil Producing Communities Youth Forum (OOPCYF), have lamented that $360 million was reportedly released to the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and its joint venture partners for cleanup has not reflected anywhere in Ogoni land.

Recall that the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mele Kyari, while addressing a House of Representatives committee in February said funding was not a challenge to the Ogoni project, stressing that the national oil firm and its JV partners were up to date in their financial commitment to the course and that of the $1 billion proposed expenditure for the project by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), $360 million had been released to the agency.

But a statement signed by the President of OOPCYF, Barituka Loanyie, and the Secretary, Norcross Wifa, and made available to newsmen in Port Harcourt yesterday, stated: “There is absolutely no noticeable improvement in the lives of the people and the environment to indicate that such an amount of money has been spent.

“We were excited when the Honourable Minister of State for Environment, Sharon Ikeazor, stated that there would be a change not only in the structure of HYPREP but its programmes to be in line with the people’s aspirations and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) recommendations and we were impressed that an Ogoni son with high reputation, Dr Ferdinand Giadom, was appointed as the project coordinator of HYPREP”

The youth group expressed optimism that Giadom since his resumption had shown great determination and commitment to bring the much-desired change and results to improve the environment and the lives of the people through different programmes.

They vowed to resist alleged moves by “greedy and selfish personalities who don’t want progress and genuine clean-up of Ogoniland to unseat Giadom.”

MEANWHILE, Senator Magnus Ngei Abe has reiterated his claim that it is the turn of Ogoni ethnic nationality to produce the next governor of Rivers State in the spirit of justice, equity and fairness.

Abe spoke, yesterday, during a visit to the monarch of Gokana Kingdom, King Festus Paago Bagia.

The senator, who represented Rivers South-East Senatorial District, said that if elected as governor, he would serve the state differently, by putting the people first.

He challenged the people of Rivers State to choose leaders with impeccable character, who would impact their lives positively, irrespective of a political party.

He said: “Your Majesty, I came to tell you that I, your son, Magnus Ngei Abe, seek the office of the governor of Rivers State.

Responding, Bagia, who spoke through the Chairman, Gokana Stakeholders Forum, Mene Docday Baadom, said: “He (Abe) came to the palace to ask for blessings, and the Gberemene of Gokana has given him blessings.”

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