President Buhari Approves N6 Billion Potable Water Project for Ogoni

By Ifunanya Obeme-Ndukwe

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President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the sum of N6,048,318,974.74 for the provision of potable water supply in Ogoniland in Rivers state.
The president gave the approval Yesterday, at the Federal Executive Council meeting (FEC).

Six companies will by this approval begin the process of rehabilitating existing water facilities in the four LGAs of Ogoniland to provide water for the communities in the coming months.

Speaking to journalists after the approval, Minister of Environment, Dr. Muhammad Mahmoud Abubakar, said “This is a project that previous governments have tried to do, but it just turned out to be just talk. But President Buhari started in 2016 and currently, there will be six water projects that will be provided in these four local governments of Ogoniland and this has just been approved and work will start immediately.”

The journey to provide potable water to the hydrocarbon impacted communities of Ogoniland started in 2017 and was one of the top priorities of the Dr Marvin Dekil led administration as Project Coordinator.

It includes a long and tedious process of assessment of all drinking water sources in Ogoni, assessment of the integrity of existing water facilities, assessment of the reticulation network in various communities, countless meetings leading to the signing of MoUs with relevant stakeholders for sustainability purposes, and then a rigorous procurement process that involves technical and financial bidding opening ceremonies that was concluded in August 2020.

By September 2020, after the evaluation of the bids and inspection of the company facilities, HYPREP forwarded the bids to the Ministerial Tenders Board for onward transmission to the Federal Executive Council who then yesterday approved the awards of the contracts.
About 30 Ogoni communities will be provided potable water in the first phase of the water scheme. More communities will then follow in the subsequent phases of the water scheme which is not going to take long again to do having done most of the work in the preparation for this first phase.

The UNEP Report identified in one Community, Nsisioken in Ogale, that Benzene level was 900 times above WHO Standards and recommended clean water for the impacted communities.

HYPREP decided to extend the water beyond the hydrocarbon impacted communities to other Ogoni communities not affected by the oil pollution.
Countering and cleaning up the pollution and catalyzing a sustainable recovery of Ogoniland could take up to 30 years as stated by the UNEP Report. HYPREP has just concluded its second full year of operations having started actual remediation works in January 2019.

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