The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) has alleged that the Federal Ministry of Environment’s Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) looted up to $200million (N83 billion) meant for the cleanup of the environment.
The Ogoni group urged President Muhammadu Buhari to order a thorough investigation into the finances of HYPREP to uncover the misappropriation of funds.
Speaking on Tuesday at the MOSOP Headquarters, Fegalo Nsuke, the President of the group alleged that the Ogoni cleanup was already consumed by internal corruption and the Ogoni people should not remain silent over the endless looting in HYPREP.
Nsuke stated these, according to a statement by MOSOP's Secretary-General, Alex Akori.
Nsuke said, “I want to state equivocally that at least $200million of the Ogoni cleanup funds cannot be accounted for under the HydroCarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) and this includes massive bribes and misappropriated funds.
"I will further insist that a probe be instituted to look into the finances of HYPREP and Nigerians will be shocked at the revelation of massive looting of the cleanup funds and what people who call themselves managers of the program have done to public funds entrusted to their care.”
He condemned the appointment of Prof Philip Shekwolo, the agency's new Head of Operations who had formerly served as project coordinator and was relieved of his post earlier this year.
Nsuke alleged that Prof Shekwolo had been part of the highly corrupt HYPREP and might have been returned to help cover up the mess in the agency.
He described Shekwolo's return as a reflection of questionable and degrading ethics in the conduct of the cleanup business. According to Nsuke, Prof. Shekwolo's era as head of HYPREP witnessed massive financial mismanagement, adding that the group found no justification for his return to the organisation.
While noting that the Ogoni people had lost confidence in the cleanup exercise, the MOSOP President said further funding of HYPREP was unnecessary following the huge financial mismanagement going on at the agency.
"MOSOP has lost confidence in the cleanup exercise and wants to state that there can be no credit for the government as far as we are concerned. We do not think it is necessary to further fund the cleanup program because it all ends up in private pockets. All we have seen is that the exercise has been weakened by internal looting which appears to have been exacerbated by the systemic corruption.
"We have severally highlighted the looting that was going on in HYPREP and do not expect the state to turn a blind eye. The action of the state will determine how seriously we can take the cleanup exercise,” he added.