Non payment Of HYPREP Staff May Stall Ogoni Clean Up Project | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Non payment Of HYPREP Staff May Stall Ogoni Clean Up Project

Posted: Jun 14, 2016 at 5:45 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

Daniel Abia

Port Harcourt – There are strong indications that the inability of the past and present governments at the federal level to effect the payment of salaries and arrears owed the staff of the Hydrocarbon Pollution Restoration Project (HYPREP)  may possibly stall the successful implementation of the Ogoni cleanup exercise.

Some of the staff of the company who confided in Independent in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital on Tuesday, argued that the government of former President Goodluck Jonathan owed them three years salaries and “there is no possibility that this government will clear that backlog.”

The inability of government to pay the HYPREP staff may threaten the desire of the President Mohammadu Buhari government to implement the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) report which he flagged-off at Bodo community of Gokana Local Government Area of the state on June 2, 2016.

HYPREP staff blamed the non-payment of their salaries on the previous leadership of Allison Dieziene Maduekwe, ex-Minister of Petroleum under which, despite so many meetings and promises, failed to fulfil its own part of the bargain.

Hajia Mohammad, Minister of Environment, had owned up to the fact that the staff of the agency were being owed.

Mohammed had reportedly held a meeting with the representatives of HYPREP staff a few weeks before the historic flag-off of the exercise but since then the staff alleged that nothing concrete has been heard as regards the actual payment of their salaries.

One of the members of the staff who confided in our correspondent in a telephone interview said that the non-payment has led to untold hardship on the workers of the organisation.

Narrating their ordeals, he said, “on May 1, 2013, while on a field visit, three members of staff, Dr. Zaaki Labbo, Dr. Aloy Agunwa and Mr. David, died in a vehicle accident. The then national coordinator who was the lone survivor of the accident, sustained severe injuries and spent several months in hospital”.

According to him, “some of the staff have had their children driven away from school because they could no longer sustain their education even their welfare.

“There was this colleague who had to endure the death of his wife and baby during childbirth because he could not afford the N25, 000 hospital bill that was demanded of him to save their lives,” he said.

He therefore called on President Mohammadu Buhari to prevail on the ministry of environment to ensure that their salaries were paid without further delay.