Shell, Total, Agip, NNPC silent as Hyprep mismanages $1bn Ogoni cleanup project

Hydrocarbon Pollution and Remediation Project (Hyprep), the contractor handling the $1 billion Ogoni cleanup exercise, is mismanaging the project but the major funders are not perturbed.

Shell, Total, Agip and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) have contributed $572 million to clean up the heavily polluted Ogoni community, according to a document sent to Economy Post by Shell. The Ogoni environment was polluted by the activities of these four companies which have operated in the Rivers State community for decades.

In spite of the huge investment, these four companies, now known as the SPDC Joint Venture Limited (for the purpose of this project), have not commented on how their money is being managed by the Federal Government-formed Hyprep, which is telling half-truths about the exercise.

A request sent to Shell Nigeria, the major funder of the project, to comment on the management of the money by Hyprep was not replied.

One of the anomalies of the project is that Hyprep named one of the sites allegedly cleaned or remediated as Lot 46. According to Hyprep’s public relations (PR) magazine known as Hyprep Herald, Lot 46 was remediated by a company named Andelsta Limited. The site was allegedly located at Aleto Ngofa in Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State – one of the four local councils in Ogoniland.

Lot 43

However, findings have shown that the site does not exist. Only lots 43-45 exist at Aleto Ngofa, according to investigations. The traditional ruler of Aleto Ngofa, His Royal Highness Nwosu, confirmed our findings, saying that the site does not exist.

“I do not know about Lot 46. We have only lots 43-45 here,” he said.

Lot 44

The traditional ruler promptly contacted the project coordinator in the area, who also confirmed that there was no such site in existence. He further criticised Hyprep’s handling of the cleanup exercise, describing the project as a failure.

The reporter contacted Andelsta Limited, which allegedly handled Lot 46. A web designer, who received the reporter’s call, said he would consult with the project manager. The next day, the web designer said the project was remediated by the company.

“My project coordinator/manager said we cleaned the lot at Ogoni. But he said you can feel free to publish whatever you find,” the web designer said.Lot 45

Curiously, Andelsta does not mention Lot 046 or any other project under the “Projects” section on its website, where it should have listed all the similar projects executed by the company.

This raises questions as to whether Andelsta Limited actually remediated the lot in question.

Similarly, Hyprep gave remediation contracts to non-existing companies or companies without cleanup experience. One of the non-existing companies is named Kanny Kay Limited, which allegedly cleaned Lot 042 in Ogoni. The company does not exist at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) portal.

A lawyer, Dr Samuel Oyigbo, said it was criminal and illegal to award a contract to a company that was not registered at the CAC.

“The CAC considers it a crime when you operate without being registered,” he said, noting that such a company was not recognised in law and should never have got a government contract.

Similarly, Hyprep gave a contract for the cleaning of Lot 002 sited at Oboola Ebubu in Eleme Local Government Area to Basic Nigeria Limited, which does not exist. Also, Avandale Supplies and Services Limited was contracted to handle the remediation of Lot 007 at Nkeleoken Alode Eleme in Eleme Local Government Area, even though the firm does not exist.

Hyprep equally awarded a contract to a non-existing Tip Tree Nigeria Limited for the cleanup of Lot 017 at Bara Akpor, Botem, in Tai Local Government Area.

It also dubiously handed a contract to a non-existing Louizioni Ferreti Enterprises Limited to clean up Lot 018 at Buemene Korokoro Well 09 in Tai Local Government Area.

Oilserv Limited, which remediated Lot 031 at B-Dere in Gokana Local Government Area, and Slot Nigeria, which handled Lot 048 at Okuluebu Ogale, Eleme Local Government Area, do not have previous cleanup experience, according to our findings.

A member of Chuku Chare family, which owns Lot 012 said to have been remediated, Mr Nunaa Elbabariripini, told our reporter that the cleanup exercise was a waste of time.

“This has been a total failure. They promised to return in 2022 for the completion of the work here but they did not honour their promise,” he said.

“Today, no crops can grow on this soil,” he noted.

Like Lot 012, crops do not grow or germinate in all the sites seen by our reporter despite Hyprep’s claim of cleaning them.

President of Ogoni Peoples Assembly, Pastor William Probel, said the project was a failure.

“Ninety-nine percent of Ogoni people believe that this clean-up is a scam,” he said.

“This is because Hyprep and the Federal Government have not been able to gain the confidence of the people. They keep changing ministers and confusing Ogoni people,” he added.

However, Hyprep spokesman, Mr Kpobari Mafo, denied the allegations, describing them as lies.

“Everybody has a right to say what they like. It is not true that the clean-up is substandard or not taking place. This is not a phone matter because I would like to take you to the sites,” he said in a telephone interview.

When the reporter reminded him that he had visited most of the sites, he insisted that Hyprep would be happy to take him around to see the projects.

“It is better you come so that we will sort out those points,” he added.

The long-form version of this story was first published on dataphyte.com, which funded the investigative story.

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