From TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt
Nigerian Petroleum Development Company Limited (NPDC), a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), has expressed readiness to start oil exploration in Ogoniland.
The NPDC has also declared that it would implement the demands of Ogoni people with a view to developing the ethnic nationality.
Managing Director of the company, Ali Zara, stated this when he spoke at an event organised by the Ogoni Liberation Initiative (OLI), in Bori, headquarters of Khana Local Government Area of Rivers State.
Zara acknowledged the pains Ogoni people had passed through as a result of polluted environment, stressing that the company would pursue to the fullest the demands of the people.
He said: “What you are seeing here today is a demonstration of our existing cordial relationship with the Ogoni people.
“We truly share in your pains. First and foremost as Nigerians and as a company. We will join you to pursue these demands. We will stand with you and will work with you to achieve the goal in shortest period of time.”
The managing director assured that the demand which was stated in their (Ogoni) would be speedily delivered to the federal government.
Earlier in his address, convener and President of Ogoni Liberation Initiative, Douglas Fabeke, stated that Ogoni ethnic nationality had given consent to NPDC to resume oil exploration and would support the company to succeed.
Fabeke declared that under no circumstance would Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) return to their land, noting that the spirit of the martyred natives would continue to hunt the oil firm.
He lamented that Ogoni ethnic nationality had suffered decades of economic and social marginalisation and strangulation, adding that the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) saddled with the clean up of Ogoni environment has not done any work.
Fabeke declared: “We are ready to stand by our words and ensure that the souls of our heroes are forgotten. We are happy to handover the OML 15 oilfield to NPDC. We have been socially and economically castrated for several decades.
“The way to say sorry to the Ogoniland for the harm done to the people is to pay them compensation for the damages done to them.”
He, however, called on federal government to expedite action to bring development to the entire Ogoniland, assuring that they would continue to support the President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government to achieve their demands.