The Federal Government on Tuesday, May 15, 2019 decried a media report that claimed that the contracts for the Ogoniland cleanup were awarded to unqualified companies.
Minister of Environment, Suleiman Hassan Zarma, together with the Project Coordinator of HYPREP, Mr Marvin Dekil, and representatives of the 21 companies handling the project, while interacting with journalists in Abuja maintained that government went through due process before awarding the contracts to companies that bidded.
“They have the competencies, they are registered with Corporate Affairs Commission to carry out business in Nigeria, they also have technical partners overseas with requisite experience and they have showed us that they have capacity to deliver on those projects.
The minister explained, “We have 21 contractors today, we had 16 and those 16 were within the threshold of the ministerial board, so they were dealt with at ministerial tenders board level.
“So, those whose file are coming up now are those who are above the ministerial tenders board, so they had to go to Federal Executive Council for approval and that we secured in the first sitting of March 20, 2019.”
An online media organisation had claimed that no fewer than 16 unqualified companies are handling the remediation exercise in Ogoniland, disclosing further how the agency flouted its own rule in awarding the contracts.
But the HYPREP Coordinator argued that since when it advertised expression of interest to public in national dailies, it ensured all companies that bidded met the requirements before taking federal government job.
He explained, “I also use this opportunity to reemphasise the procurement process of HYPREP and to assure you that we adopted a very robust and transparent process in arriving at all our 21 contractors.
“First 16 which were within the approval limit ministry tenders board are those ones on site currently working and the last five that had to go to FEC for approval are the ones we are having this kickoff meeting for today.
“To start with, when we advertised for submissions and expression of interest, we made it very clear according to the laws of Nigeria, that there are certain requirements referred to as mandatory requirements for any company that would want to participate in the federal government projects.
“What are these mandatory requirements? Registration with CAC is one, PENCOM, NSITF, ITF, tax clearance, IRI; these are requirements that you must have to participate in the process.
After the clarifications and explanations from the HYPREP coordinator and some representatives of the companies, the minister, however, appealed to the media to join government in promoting the good work it is doing in getting rid of oil pollution in Niger Delta region.
Zarma emphasised that the federal government was very committed to the total restoration of livelihood in Ogoniland, and has put in place adequate monitoring outfits to ensure total compliance of contractual agreements.
“We have the Board of Trustees, the Governing Council, UNEP, the traditional rulers of Ogoniland, youth and women organisations and above all, there are the two chambers of the National Assembly as well as the state government, all monitoring progress being made.
“In addition, both the ministry and HYPREP mornitoring teams are very vigilant on what the contractors are doing. So, we urge the media to join and mornitor the implementation processes of this laudable government resolve to bring livelihood to Ogoniland and the Niger Delta.”