After four intensive mediation sessions intermediated by the Bodo Mediation Initiative (BMI) under the chairmanship of Mr. Inemo Samiama, for a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Bodo Contact Committee (BCC) and the Remediation Contractors for the Phase 2 Bodo Remediation Project, an agreement was reached leading to the signing MoU on Monday 16 December 2019.
The BCC which was set up by the Paramount Ruler of Bodo to represent the Community and function as an interface with the BMI on the cleanup by providing linkage between the Project and the Bodo Community. The BCC on behalf of the Community moved for a formal agreement that sought to protect the interest of Community workers as well as all parties involved in the ongoing remediation project.
Some of the benefits in the signed MOU as advocated by the BCC include a standard daily payment rate to community workers and a corporate social responsibility (CSR) project fund in the tune of 90,000,000 NGN (ninety million naira) to be jointly implemented by the Community leaders and the Contractors.
In his speech during the event, the BMI chairman reiterated that it took BMI six (6) years of mediation to get to this phase of remediation and restoration, and it’s very remarkable that the Bodo Community and its remediation Contractors can come to an understanding in getting the MOU signed. He further expressed hope that all parties involved will respect and abide by the content of the MOU to achieve the goal the project is set out for.
The BCC legal lead, Barr. Joe Zabbey on his part, while speaking for the BCC, stated that the process has been a long but successful one, which is affirmed by the presence of all parties involved. Additionally, he recognized the effort of the BMI chairman in getting all parties on the same page.
In attendance of the MOU signing was HRH King John Berebon, Paramount Ruler of Bodo, Mr. Inemo Samiama the BMI Chairman, the BCC Chairman Dr. Gabriel Pidomson and the BMI Project Director, Erich Gundlach. Also, at the event was the Remediation Contractors, SPDC representatives, representative from the Rivers State Ministry of Environment and members of the BCC.
The Paramount Ruler while addressing the participants at the event, thanked everyone for the various role played in getting the MOU signed which should have been signed before mobilization to site for the remediation project.
Remarkably, the Bodo Phase 2 remediation project is in its sixth week of active cleanup with gains already recorded.