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MOSOP: $1bn Ogoni Clean-Up Funds May Be Diverted For APC Campaign In Rivers

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SAN FRANCISCO, June 09, (THEWILL) â€' The Kingdom Coordinators Forum of The Movement for The Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) Sunday raised the alarm over the interest shown in the $1billion Ogoni clean-up funds by the River State Government ,saying if released before the 2015 elections, it could be diverted as war chest to fund the political activities of the opposition All Progressive Congress (APC) in the State.

MOSOP Kingdom Coordinators Forum Chairman, Frank Jonah, who raised the alarm at the end of the MOSOP Kingdom Coordinators meeting in Bori, said the Rivers State chapter of APC has not hidden its interest for the Ogoni funds, noting that the current head of HYPREP had been a known ally of the Rivers State governor, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi.

'Since we started campaigning for the restoration of the Ogoni environment, the only thing the Rivers State Government has shown interest in is for the release of the clean-up money. 'We are particularly worried that ahead of the 2015 elections, the Rivers State Government has suddenly turned their interest on Ogoni clean-up funds. We are more worried because we have seen the desperation of the Rivers State Government to raise funds which have forced them into several borrowing and we fear that implementing the Ogoni clean-up recommendations at this time may need more careful planning and safeguards in order not to fund political activities with $1billion at the detriment of the Ogoni people.' Jonah said.

Jonah, however, suggested a way out, saying 'We recommend the dissolution of HYPREP and the constitution of a more credible body to manage the process.'

According to him, 'This is because the leadership of HYPREP has not shown reasonable commitment to Ogoni development. For instance, an abandoned road linking Mile 30 to the Biara community in Gokana Local Government Area had been linked to the HYPREP leadership and if we cannot trust the leadership of HYPREP, then we suggest a re-organisation of the body to get a more credible organ.'

He also questioned the moral grounds on which the Rivers State Government is speaking for the Ogoni, saying 'The same Rivers State government that is agitating for the Ogoni clean-up money has confiscated massive land in Ogoni and protests against the land grab has caused the death of about 40 persons.'

He said the Rivers State Government should first of all audit its list of abandoned projects in Ogoniland, revitalise the dead schools in the area, restore electricity to Ogoniland and stop the land grab which has caused the death of over 40 persons before criticising the Federal Government over the non-implementation of the UNEP report.