In a release made available to our correspondent after a meeting in Bori, the traditional headquarters of Ogoni, the group frowned at the “recent tension generated by some oil companies in their desperation to forcefully resume oil operation in Ogoniland,” describing the alleged planned resumption as “another plot to divide our people and cause crisis which may lead to another round of blood spills in Ogoniland.”
However, according to the release which was jointly signed by Chief Phillip Baadom, Chief E.N. Nkala, Chief (Rev.) Nasikpo N., Mr. John Nwizugbe, Mr. Emmanuel Kara Gbaranor (CP), Mr. Monday Nwibadeh, Mrs. Roseline Nwigani and Mr. B.D. Dinee, stated that the group was not opposed to oil production in Ogoniland, “but we stand on the Ogoni Bill of Rights and the decision of MOSOP that oil exploration must follow due process of proper consultation and engagement of MOSOP and all stakeholders of Ogoni”.
“Given the central role of oil in the Ogoni crisis, all outstanding legacy issues which must include matters relating to proper clean-up of our polluted land must be addressed and the consent of the people obtained before issue of oil resumption can be discussed,” they maintained.
The group stated that any attempt to forcefully resume oil operation through the backdoor “will spell doom as it will be met with strong resistance.
“The Ogoni people have risen above the culture of fear and slavery or divide and rule tactics which was used to cause blood spills in the land. We will defend our oil with the last drop of blood in our body”.
Continuing they maintained that, “it is sad enough and worrisome that over two years now the Federal Government flag-up the implementation of UNEP’s Report, no significant progress had been made on the clean-up. The issue of clean-up is gradually pushed aside while the issue of oil resumption is now being put on the front burner. Even the emergency measures of provision of portable-water and health care have not been addressed. What we hear today is oil resumption as a pre-condition for the clean-up. It is quite unacceptable! The spirit of Ogoni says ‘No’ to resumption of oil exploration,” they said.
COLT further frowned at an alleged move by the minister of state for petroleum resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu towards resumption of oil production in the area, stressing that rather than focusing on action plans for quick implementation of the clean-up, the minister was busy initiating backdoor discussions on oil resumption with some politicians and chiefs who are not representing the interest of the Ogoni people.
The group also warned “oil jobbers in Ogoni who are collecting money from oil companies and are pushing for oil resumption for their personal interest and survival” to withdraw their footsteps, adding that any attempt by the Federal Government and Shell Petroleum Development Company, “who were long declared persona-non grata in Ogoniland, to award the Ogoni fields in oil mining lease (OML) II without due consultation and engagement of MOSOP will be resisted”, they said.
“Council of Ogoni Leaders of thought (COLT) therefore, calls on the President of Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari to restore the confidence and hope of the Ogoni people and the Niger Delta by putting words to action for full scale implementation of UNEP’s Report without further delay, before matters of oil resumption in Ogoniland can be addressed,”
Credit: Daily Independent