Towards resumption of oil production in Ogoniland in Rivers State, Ogoni Oil Producing Communities Forum (OOPCF) has recently reaffirmed rejection of the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) as licensed operator to drive renewed exploration and production operations in the area local media Tide reported.
This is as leaders of 19 oil host communities in Ogoniland, Rivers State, have called on the Federal Government to relocate all host communities and oil-impacted homes to another settlement before any environmental activities and oil and gas business could be carried out.
Harping on reservations against reported granting of the OML 11 Operating License to NPDC, a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), OOPCF noted that though it was not opposed to resumed oil and gas production operations in Ogoni, but argued that apart from the fact that NPDC lacks the capacity to oversee such responsibility, it has also not consulted widely with all stakeholders in the area.
In a statement signed by OOPCF’s President, BaritukaLoanyie;and Secretary, Norcross Wifa; the Ogonis said: “We make bold to say that as a company, NPDC does not have any capacity to exploit oil and gas, and has no requisite pedigree of good corporate social responsibility (CSR). Indeed, communities where they have operated have stories of woes”.
In further reservations, the body said, “President MuhammaduBuhari declared to some visiting Ogonis at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, that NNPC is hereby directed to engage all host communities, particularly Ogoni people to ensure inclusive process of oil and gas exploration and production is anchored on optimum involvement of host communities.
“The president’s stance which seems to recognise the need for dialogue, inclusiveness and the involvement of host communities in the oil and gas exploration and production processes, falls flat when we realise our people were neither consulted nor carried along in the processes that led to the granting of the operating license to the NPDC.
“After due and thorough consultation with the youths, leaders, elders and chiefs of the oil and gas host communities in Ogoni, we hereby state that the granting of the operating license to the NPDC is unacceptable and stands rejected.
“We reiterate that our people are not against resumption of oil and gas exploration in Ogoni as, if properly done, it could help stimulate some economic growth and empowerment for the people. We are, however, against any plan to re-enter Ogoniland for oil exploration through the back door.
“Such approach had failed in the past and will fail again this time. Granting of oil mining license to any company to operate in Ogoni without due consultation and peaceful engagement with our people is completely unacceptable.TheOgoni people would non-violently resist it. We have done it before, and we can do it again.
“Federal Government is hereby advised to retrace her steps and do the right thing in the interest of peace, equity, and justice. We also advice our people to be conscious of our recent history and always seek and obtain broad consultations and buy in of different layers of Ogonileadership, including the oil-bearing communities before embarking on what has become recurring visits to Abuja to reach ‘Agreements’ over oil resumption in Ogoni when, in fact, they represent only themselves.”
Similarly, leaders of 19 oil host communities in Ogoniland, Rivers State, have called on the Federal Government to relocate all host communities and oil-impacted homes to another settlement before any environmental activities and oil and gas business could be carried out.
The host communities made this known in a letter sent to President MuhammaduBuhari, after a meeting of leaders of oil host communities held in Bera,
Gokana Local Government Area of the state, and signed by the leaders of the oil host communities in Bera.
President of Ogoni Liberation Initiative (OLI), Douglas Fabeke, who read the letter on behalf of the host communities, said the call was vital due to the high level of environmental degradation in Ogoniland.
Fabeke said they were ready to withdraw all pending cases in court over various degrees of injuries meted out to Ogoniland and its people, if the Federal Government demonstrates sincerity of purpose in the implementation of their requests, including payment of compensation, and inclusion of all stakeholders in the process.
The letter reads in parts: “Besides, the host communities shall include in the final draft, the following developmental and impactful areas for Mr. President’s implementation, namely scholarship, TrustFund, payment of compensation.
“Demonstration of practical steps for restoration of our polluted environment and development of the land through complete and total implementation of UNEP report’s recommendations, including the emergency measures, which are neglected by the ongoing clean up exercise.
“Relocation of all host communities and impacted homes to another well settled location because of the high level of environmental degradation, before any environmental activities and oil and gas business should be carried.
“That the host communities and Ogoni Liberation Initiative are ready to withdraw all pending cases in courts over various decrees of injuries meted out to the Ogoniland and her people, if the government actually demonstrates sincerity of purpose in the implementation all our requests, including payment of compensation benefits.
“That the government should take cognizance of the fact that since the invasion of Shell in Ogoniland in 1958, we have suffered tremendously without commensurate pay for our tapped natural economic resources.
“Therefore, we appeal to the president to fulfill his words, thus, ‘Commitment to ensuring clemency and national integration as part of his administration’s bid to lay the foundation for genuine reconciliation and bring closure to the issues of Ogoniland’.”
The OLI boss, while speaking on the flag-off of green energy revolution project, said 100 Ogoni youths are expected to be trained on production of green energy.
He disclosed that the training of the youths in green energy would reduce youth restiveness and also curb air/noise pollution caused by generators.
According to him, the project was designed to provide power without the use of petrol and the company is expected to manufacture their solar products in Ogoni.
Highlight of the event was the flag-off of green energy revolution project in collaboration with Sun Energy Community Development Initiative.
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