Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
The tension Ogoniland, Rivers State over ongoing attacks and killings attributed to gangsters has been worsened by the report of last Friday’s court ruling ordering the Federal Government to renew the Oil Mining License (OML) 11 for the Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC for the next 20 years.
The Oil Mining License is in Ogoniland.
The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People, MOSOP, in a press statement personally signed by its President, Legbosi Pyagbara, said Ogoni people have received the court decision with a great concern.
“The report of the Nigerian Court, ordering the Federal Government of Nigeria to renew the Oil Mining License (OML) 11 Operatorship for 20years to the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria with great concern,” the MOSOP President said.
He added that over the years, Ogoni People have consistently and nonviolently drawn the attention of all institutions, successive governments, fellow citizens of the Nigerian State as well as the international community to the persistent injustice and plight of the Ogoni People as host to the oil multinationals.
According to MOSOP, “These abuses and injustice have continued unabated for over 60years, from 1957, when oil was discovered in Ogoniland. Our peaceful and defenceless people have been killed in thousands, communities sacked, means of subsistence destroyed through reckless oil mining activities, polluting our environment, including farmlands, aquatic life and Forest resources, without redress by the government or change of attitude by the oil companies, particularly SPDC.
The apex socio-political body of the Ogoni People pointed out that the judgment is coming at a time that they have said consistently that the attempt to deal with the oil mining, extraction or in any other way, that the three parties must be brought in or carried along in discussing issues relating to oil licence.
“The community, as a critical stakeholder, must be carried along with the Federal Government and the oil company in discussion relating to anything about licencing of any oil company to operate in Ogoniland, particularly, in discussing issues of externalities associated with oil extraction and even the question of benefits sharing.
“We have thought and had expected that having committed our lives, resources and everything about us into this nonviolent struggle, and remaining law-abiding in the face of obvious oppression, suppression and provocation by most times combined forces of the oil giants and the Government, that this injustice will cease and our people begin to have a new lease of life.
“It is therefore, an issue of worry and deep concern that the cries, woes and anquish of the people of Ogoni seem not to be seen and understood, in a country they belong and have made huge sacrifices to keep her together and even growing.”
MOSOP President called on Ogoni People not to be disillusioned, but to remain calm, while appealing to the Nigerian Government to act responsibly and do everything to protect the fundamental rights of the Ogoni People and all citizens of the country.
He added that Ogoni people will continue to demand for justice and will never renege or compromise their stand, particularly, as it relates to the issue of resumption of oil exploration in Ogoniland.
“We stress, for the umpteenth time, that in order to facilitate any issue relating to the resumption of oil production in Ogoniland that the issue of benefits sharing, community participation and environmental management plan of the Ogoni environment must be put in place and that the Ogoni oil field should continue to be treated as a green field as far as the issue of oil operation is concerned.
“We would engage the key actors, the Nigerian government and the oil multinationals on this latest decision of the court and ensure the ideals of our struggle stand and of course, remain irrevocable,” MOSOP stated.