From Tony John, Port Harcourt
Stakeholders and opinion leaders in Ogoni, Rivers State, have called a broad-based meeting to address the resurgence of cult-related killings and the visit of Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) for alleged crude oil production purpose without official notice to the community.
They vowed that no oil firm would resume oil exploitation business in the Ogoniland without due consultation and approval from leaders and stakeholders. President of KAGOTE, Emmanuel Deeyah, who stated this in Port Harcourt, at the weekend, flayed the decision of NPDC, a subsidiary of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), to visit Ogoni without going through the right channel.
“We have a long history when it comes to oil exploration. We have lost our best and there have been killings and all kind of things and we believe that such a process, if the government is actually desirous of mining oil in Ogoinland, they should consult. There should be a process of dialogue with the people. We rejected Shell, so if another organisation is going to come, we should know what other things they are going to do better than Shell.”
Deeyah also regretted recent cult activities that had claimed lives in the area and called on security operatives to arrest and prosecute those caught with firemans in Ogoni.
Deeyah said, while the people were pondering on how to tackle insecurity in the area, they were inundated with the report of the planned resumption oil production in Ogoni without the knowledge or consultation of the people. Oil exploration activities in the community was halted following the execution of writer and environmentalist, Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight others in 1995.
“We have our son, Senator Magnus Abe, on the board of NNPC, the parent company of NPDC. He is not in the picture of this development. We also have Senator Barry Mpigi, an indigene, they are not in the picture of this development. Those people who claim to come from NPDC, do they actually come from Nigeria? Don’t they come from places? We even have a local government chairman on ground. We have never heard that any of the council chairmen was involved in any of those processes.
“In the next few days, we are going to call a broad-based meeting of Ogoni people, so that we chat the way forward. It is in that meeting that we are going to agree on what we expect.”