Factions of the Ogoni mass movement, the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) have taken on the Federal Government of Nigeria on the cleanup exercise in their area, and the transfer of the operatorship of OML 11.
A factional President, Fegalo Nsuke, in an online statement described Nigeria’s celebration of the Ogoni cleanup exercise as ‘’shameful and hypocritical image laundering effort’’ allegedly targeted at enriching of the cleanup programme managers and possibly.force oil production in Ogoni without the consent of the people.
He said he was reacting to the announcement of a N3.039 billion cleanup contact awarded by the federal government, claiming that the Ogoni people have lost confidence in the process as it allegedly lacks transparency, does not prioritise the needs of the Ogoni people and is driven by benefits accruing to the managers of the cleanup process.
Nsuke spoke as a steering committee meeting of another MOSOP faction held in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital. It was said to be attended by members of the organisation’s National Executive Council, representatives of affiliated groups and other constitutionally eligible participants.
In a communiqué jointly signed by factional President, Legborsi Saro Pyagbara, and Secretary-General, Anthony Porole, they said the meeting deliberated on wide range of issues affecting Ogoni, including the political developments in the land and the controversial transfer of operatorship of OML 11.
At the end of the deliberations, the committee resolved as follows:
‘’The committee condemned the mindless demonstration of crass insensitivity by the Federal Government in transferring operatorship of OML 11 in complete disregard of the free, prior and informed consent of the Ogoni people as recognized and protected under international law.
‘’Restated that the Ogoni community and the oil industry have been in dispute for more than two decades. In the course of this conflict, over two thousand souls were slaughtered in cold blood by the military that was protecting the interest of the oil companies, 14 communities reduced to rubbles while thousands of Ogoni natives fled into exile.
‘’While warmly welcoming genuine investment that will create opportunities in Ogoni, it reaffirmed its position that no oil extraction can take place in Ogoni without a broad-based discussion and agreement with the people, taking into consideration the long drawn impasse between our community and the oil industry that had occasioned the gross violations of the rights of the Ogoni people.
‘’Strongly condemned the militarisation of the just concluded general elections in Ogoniland and the shooting of unarmed citizens who were out to perform their civic responsibility, noting that this had undermined democracy
‘’Commiserated with the immediate family of late Dr, Ferry Gberegbe, the staff and students of the Ken Saro-Wiwa Polytechnic, members of MOSOP and the generality of the Ogoni people over the great loss. The late Dr. Gberegbe fell to the numbing gunshots of security officers on 10th March 2019 during the elections process in Bori, Ogoni.
‘’Established the Ogoni Livelihood Opportunities Committee (OLOC) and Technical Committee on the Remediation of Ogoniland (TCRO) and charged the two bodies to commence work immediately.
‘’Approved the nomination of Comrade Sunny Zorvah, former Editor of Ogoni Star and the National Network Newspapers, as the Acting Publicity Secretary of the MOSOP.
‘’Warned any Ogoni son or daughter involved in any clandestine deal with the oil companies that is inimical to the progress and prosperity of Ogoni to desist forthwith as any issue affecting the destiny of Ogoni has to be addressed with openness and transparency.
‘’Called on Ogoni youths to stop the cult wars ravaging most communities in the area and leading to the deaths of several youths, and charged the federal government to provide Ogoniland with adequate security infrastructure, equipment and personnel to combat the present state of insecurity.’’
Meanwhile, Nsuke said it was sad, pitiable and regrettable that Nigeria was not only celebrating the pains and deaths caused by Shell and her irresponsible business conduct in Ogoni but also using the cleanup funds to enrich themselves.
‘’What Nigeria and Shell has done to the Ogoni people demands that they be apologetic and they should be ashamed of their conduct and not be on national television celebrating corporate irresponsibility and award of contracts to companies, some of which represent the interests of the cleanup managers’’, Nsuke said, maintaining that the UNEP report had water provision as the top most priority for the Ogoni people and then recommended the construction of facilities to handle the contaminated soil, all of these are not in place.
He is insisting that the Ogoni people want water and the soil management center immediately nothing that government was only interested in the cleanup funds and not genuinely committed to doing the right thing as recommended by UNEP.
While calling for a total review of the cleanup process as it is currently driven by personal interests and not serving the wishes of the Ogoni people, the factional MOSOP president maintained that the cleanup will end up to be Nigeria’s biggest scam.
He then accused the Nigerian government of being hypocritical about Ogoni as the real target of government and Shell were to use every means available including the scandalous cleanup exercise to resume oil production in Ogoni without the consent of the Ogoni people.