From Tony John, Port Harcourt
A group in the Niger Delta, Ogoni Liberation Initiative (OLI), has expressed concern that there may not be smooth operation if oil exploration resumes in Oil Mining Licence (OML) 11 station in Ogoniland without proper monetary compensation to host communities affected by oil exploration in the past. The organisation had in 2020, dragged Shell and Federal Government to court, demanding compensation for alleged destructions caused by decades of environmental pollution in Ogoniland.
Speaking during a book launch and presentation of a development plan by host communities, President of the Group, Douglas Fabeke, said aside from the condition of compensation, government must ensure that the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report is followed in clean up of oil impacted sites. Fabeke said the book “The Ogoni People, The Crises and Solution” exposed the core sufferings and hardship of Ogoni people. He said: “While writing the book, I discovered that the major cause of the Ogoni crises is the failure of the oil multinationals to carry along the oil-bearing communities in the scheme of operation. “You cannot come to somebody’s land to operate without negotiating with the land owners, identifying their challenges and coming up with a plan of addressing them. Where this is lacking, crises will ensue, as the people will continue to be at loggerhead with the oil companies operating on their land.
“It is not a hidden fact that the Ogoni people have gone through severe pains, resulting from the devastation of our environment, unpleasant exploitation of our resources without any corresponding development of our land, displacement of our loved ones from their homes, unlawful execution of our leaders and many more.
“The Ogoni people and their land have actually passed through indelible agony, problems and crises orchestrated by the oil and gas giant, Shell. The “divide and rule” strategy adopted by the SPDC further aggravated the pains of our people as our people were lured to fighting ourselves with the sole aim of enabling the SPDC continue to drill and mine our resources even in the face of protest and non-acceptance of our people.