From TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt
Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) has advised people from the Ogoni ethnic nationality to be wary of the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company Limited (NPDC), which wants to resume oil exploration in the area.
The Steering Committee (also known as the Central Committee), on behalf of the organization, warned that the NPDC was masking behind a Court of Appeal judgement in favour of the Federal Government, without any recognizable consultation, with the natives.
MOSOP said that at the end of the Steering Committee’s deliberations, yesterday, it was discovered that NPDC, which is a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), hastily entered Ogoni through the “back door and promising heaven on earth to wow the people.”
A statement issued by the Publicity Secretary of MOSOP, Friday Nkpah, said there were more to the promises made by the company, judging by recent developments in the Niger Delta.
MOSOP said: “We strongly believe that there are more to the actions of NPDC than meets the eye. Weighing recent developments in Nigeria affecting the Niger Delta region, especially Ogoni, against the rapidity with which the NNPC subsidiary rushed into the area, points to some unwholesome intent. Hence, we urge all Ogonis to roundly reject the corporation.
“Whilst our posture is not a function of malice, the approach of the NPDC is not only embarrassingly despicable and insensitive, but also provocative and reminiscent of its past similar tendency, which disregarded even the minimum standards of decency and business/community relationship.
“If it meant well, it would have painstakingly pursued consultations and secure the approval of the people before embarking on any other activity else. We recall that in 2017, we persistently protested against NPDC’s attempts at obtaining a dubious mandate to commence oil extraction in our land.
“It pursued that agenda with bribery, division and churning out of absolute falsehood. At certain point, it sponsored some violent activities that threatened peace and security in the area. However, it is not lost on us what similar externally masterminded approach in the past had inflicted on us.
“Today, we have lost over 2,000 Ogonis including a generation of the Ogoni leadership and we are yet to recover from its impact. And we do not want a repeat of that incident.”
MOSOP said it was their position that, although the company might have built its current action on the reported judicial decision earlier mentioned, it requires the people’s social license to be able to operate the Ogoni concession of OML 11.
“Hence, we vehemently condemn its unwelcomed, hasty entry into our territory, which is generating tension. The NPDC approach is a clear demonstration that it cannot be a good corporate citizen.
“MOSOP wishes to warn the company to realize the implications of her approach as it would be held accountable should there be any crisis in Ogoni.
“We would reiterate the position that MOSOP is not opposed to genuine economic investments including mining of crude oil in Ogoni since such ventures would help to address our challenges including unemployment, poverty and conflict.
“And we are prepared to ensure an enabling environment and disposition supportive of such venture provided the investment would not only be human rights friendly, but would allow it to flourish in ourcommunities.
“However, we insist that for any oil production to resume in Ogoni, it must be preceded with the free, prior and informed consent of the people strengthened via upright discussion that is clear, broad based and focused.”
It would be recalled that last Monday, the company announced its preparedness to resume oil operation in Ogoni, promising to develop the area.