Coalition calls for referendum to determine resumption of oil extraction in Ogoni land

United States-based Ogoni advocacy groups, Centre for Democracy, Human Rights, and Anti-Corruption (CDHRAC) and the National Union of Ogoni Students (NUOS) International USA, have called for a referendum among Ogoni people, home and abroad, to determine whether oil production can resume in Ogoniland or not after addressing the demands that led to the stoppage of oil production in 1993.

The groups stated this in a statement jointly signed by Cornelius Dumerene, coordinator of the Centre for Democracy, Human Rights, and Anti-Corruption, and Pius Barikpoa Nwinee, president of NOUS International, USA, and made available to journalists in Nigeria.

The groups said the issue of the resumption of oil activities in Ogoni is not something that anyone can sit anywhere and decide upon without the involvement and participation of the generality of the Ogoni people.

They insisted that those calling for the resumption of extraction should adopt the same procedure the decision was reached, saying in 1993 the people came together and agreed to halt the oil production. 

“If oil production is to resume in Ogoni, there should be a referendum of Ogoni people that will sit down on a roundtable to discuss and decide the future of Ogoniland, and before discussing the possibility of oil production resumption in Ogoniland, issues stemming from the stoppage of oil mining in 1993 and the subsequent crisis leading to the killing of Ken Saro-Wiwa with eight others including over 3,000 other Ogoni people must be addressed first,” the statement reads in part. 

They, however, called on the Federal Government of Nigeria to admit their wrongdoing to the Ogoni people and address oil transgressions against the Ogoni people, as well as exonerate Ken Saro-Wiwa and all others who were labelled criminals and killed before talking about possible oil resumption in Ogoni.

Reacting to the Shell’s proposed sale of its onshore facilities in Nigeria including OML 11 (“Ogoni Oil”), while opposing the plans, the groups called on President Bola Tinubu to reject Royal Dutch Shell’s purported “backdoor sale” of its onshore facilities in Nigeria without first addressing associated liability issues, stressing that a company that was chased out of Ogoni cannot return to sell the same facility that it does not own. 

The organizations thus advised Shell to steer clear of Ogoni Oil, which is not for sale, as Shell cannot sell OML 11 because they have been ousted from Ogoni and no courts can even grant them such rights.

Credit: Guardian

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