Traditional rulers and youths in Ogoni land have been advised to safeguard public infrastructure from vandals bent on sabotaging efforts of government.
This is contained in a statement by the new Chairman, Board of Trustees, Hydrocarbon Pollution and Remediation Project (HYPREP), Dr Mike Nwielaghi, on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
Nwielaghi said that acts of sabotage perpetrated by a few criminals in the area had made it difficult for government to successfully tackle the challenge of water shortage in Ogoni land.
He recalled that provision of potable water in oil impacted areas was among recommendation in the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report, adding that sabotage has slowed the process.
The Chairman said that vandals at various communities deliberately destroyed sensitive equipments thereby rendering the water projects ineffective.
“One thing I must say is that, there have been several water projects in this state. As we speak the state government has promised to drive its water scheme.
“HYPREP on the other hand is embarking on several water projects; same goes for the federal government.
“Just two days ago, a multi billion-naira portable water project was flagged off by the Minister for Environment, Dr Mohammad Abubakar.
“There was a water project here in Ogoni sited in Baen Community, and the reticulation was up to Kono area. That project was expected to address water needs for Kono and Kwawa communities.
“Permit me to ask, are we drinking that water any more? The reason is simple, our people have continued to sabotage efforts of government and corporate bodies in the area.
“You request for potable water, when its provided, after a month or two the equipments are vandalised and you return to question why you can no longer drink water,” he said.
The board chairman also said that HYPREP was also collaborating with the Rivers State Government to fund some of the water projects under its “Livelihood Programme”.
By Ikuru Lizzy