As the federal government begins to push for resumption of oil production in Ogoniland, there is a huge cry of betrayal by the government and resistan
As the federal government begins to push for resumption of oil production in Ogoniland, there is a huge cry of betrayal by the government and resistant from many quarters.
The Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People, the umbrella pressure group for Ogonis born out of the struggle against environmental injustice suffered by Ogonis from decades of the activities of Shell in the area has sent warnings to the federal government to halt any move to resume oil production while the issues that stopped Shell from operating decades ago are still unattended to. It declared the federal government an enemy of Ogoni people.
In the same vein, a civil society meeting Monday August 6, 2021 on recent developments in the Niger Delta gave the FG hard knocks for being unmindful of the un-soothed pains of the much ravaged and still traumatized Ogonis in its rush to make money.
In the statement titled, “NNPC Why The Rush” signed by Nnimmo Bassey, Health of Mother Earth Foundation, Ken Henshaw, We the People; Celestine AkpoBari, Peoples’ Advancement Centre and Chima Williams, Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria, ERA/FOEN, the activists queried the rush to resume oil production while the internationally recommended clean-up of messed up lands are yet to be accomplished.
Parts of the statement read:
“It is important to note that 31 years after the Ogonis made their demands, contained in the Ogoni Bill of Rights, for which they were so brutally suppressed, none of their concerns and prayers have been conclusively addressed. It is disappointing and demonstrates insensitivity for the government to imagine that those concerns have simply withered away with time. Those of us who remain connected to the communities know for a fact that the Ogoni people remain resolute in their resistance to any renewed hydrocarbon extraction in their domains’.
“Similarly, there has been no attempt to secure justice for the countless families that lost lives, livelihoods and properties in what is still the worst attack on a peaceful indigenous population by Nigerian forces. Persons who committed acts of genocide and abuses against unarmed populations, and boasted publicly about it, have still not been brought to justice.
“For the majority of Ogonis, the events of the 1990s remains an open and sour wound, begging for the healing of truth and justice”.
“It is disheartening to note in particular, that in the wrangling over the ownership of OML 11 and the resumption of oil extraction in Ogoniland, there has been no reference or consideration for obtaining the free, prior and informed consent of the Ogoni people. It is not clear whether any consultation has been initiated with the affected communities, or that their rights to a safe environment and interests has been taken into consideration.
They drew government’s attention to the fact that the clean-up under HYPREP is still shrouded in controversy and its success ought to be a priority. Even those sites claimed cleaned up by Shell are also being discovered to be still polluted.
“It is also pertinent to observe that the move to resume the extraction of oil in Ogoniland, happening against the backdrop of the contentious clean-up of polluted sites in Ogoni, raises fears and fuels cynicism. It is worrying that the government would think of resuming oil extraction in Ogoniland when the pollution of the last decades is yet to be cleaned, decrepit installations are yet to be decommissioned and the many recommendations of UNEP are yet to be fully complied with.
“How can it explain that a site supposedly being cleaned up will resume oil extraction activities with all the pollution that comes with it? Before any conversation on resuming the extraction of crude oil in the area, it is the demand of the Ogoni people and other stakeholders that the clean-up process be fully and urgently completed in compliance with the recommendations of UNEP’.
“We are deeply concerned about the neglect of key issues around ecological and social justice in Ogoniland. The world recognizes that the people of Ogoni have suffered unprecedented pains and loses on account of oil extraction. No apology has been rendered for the destruction of their environment, the killing of their people, the loss of their livelihoods, the destruction of their villages, the forced exile of their people and the murder of their leaders.
“Ogoni people that a first step towards demonstrating goodwill is to exonerate the Ogoni 9 who were murdered by the Nigerian government for peacefully protesting the destruction of their environment. Maintaining the obvious and insulting cover-up that these leaders were tried and convicted for murder is a great disservice to their memory, their selfless service and an insult to the Ogoni people.
The activists called for a halt on the resumption move and the pardon of the Ogoni 9 killed in the course of the Ogoni struggle before any further move.
“It is our recommendation that the government puts a stop to any planned attempt to resume oil activities in Ogoniland. It should rather concentrate on redeeming the ecological disaster in the area, decommissioning aged oil infrastructure, replacing the lost livelihood of the people and securing justice for the countless Ogonis waiting for closure”.
Comrade Lazarus Tamana as MOSOP president in a recent release captioned, “MOSOP Declares HYPREP Temporary Co-ordinator Enemy Of Ogoni People” said the federal government is working against the people. “MOSOP is not surprised at the recent Abuja court announcement, as we knew that re-entry into Ogoni had been on the agenda of Shell and the Nigerian Government for many years. On the 1st of March 2019, there was a presidential directive to the “Nigeria National Petroleum Company” (NNPC), the “Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NNDC). The two companies were directed by the president to take over the operatorship from Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), of the entire OML. 11 not later than 30th of April 2019, not ensure smooth re-entry, given the delicate situation in Ogoniland.
“This confirms that the so called judgment delivered recently in Abuja in respect of NPDC taking over the slot for SPDC was just a creation. SPDC is the technical partner of the Joint Venture arrangement and will always be. NNPC does not have the capacity, NPDC is only involved in support activities for the mining industry”.
“MOSOP is advising Ogoni people who are working to bring NPDC and SPDC to Ogoniland to remember the history of our struggle, that they will be held responsible for any Ogoni blood spilled as a result of their actions.
“Ogoni people see SPDC, NNPC and NPDC as partners in crime and any attempt to invade, trespass and encroach into Ogoniland without proper consultation with MOSOP and the necessary stakeholders in Ogoniland, will be highly resisted.
Meanwhile, there is general apprehension over possible conflict over the development.