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Groups kick against moves to resume oil exploration in Ogoniland

By Ann Godwin, Port Harcourt
31 October 2021   |   4:15 am
The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) and the Ogoni Oil Producing Communities Forum (OOPCF) have vowed to resist fresh attempts to resume oil exploration in Ogoniland without consultations with the natives.

Ogoni community

• Reject Proposed Saro-Wiwa’s Pardon
The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) and the Ogoni Oil Producing Communities Forum (OOPCF) have vowed to resist fresh attempts to resume oil exploration in Ogoniland without consultations with the natives.

The groups also rejected the Federal Government’s proposed pardon to the late Ogoni activist, Ken Saro-Wiwa and other compatriots, who were gruesomely murdered by the Nigerian government on November 10,1995.

MOSOP, in a statement, signed by its President, Prince Biira, and Publicity Secretary, Young Nkpah, as well as another statement issued, yesterday, in Port Harcourt by the President of OOPCF, Barituka Loanyie, said granting oil licence to any company to operate in Ogoni without due consultations and peaceful engagement with the people was completely unacceptable.

They called on the Federal Government to strengthen its regulatory institutions and the judiciary, to strictly enforce environmental protection laws.

They also urged government to introduce and implement punitive sanctions against erring regulatory and related institutions.

The groups said the October 22, 2021, meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari did not address the lingering demands of Ogoni people, alleging that the delegations were mainly politicians and a few unsuspecting leaders.

They vowed to resist any attempt by any company to enter Ogoni through the back door to explore and exploit their oil and gas resources, without their social licence. They said Saro-Wiwa’s execution and eight other Ogoni martyrs were consequent upon an executive decision of the then military government for a crime they did not commit.

They, therefore, called on the Federal Government to clear their names of culpability for the murder.

MOSOP urged President Buhari to put in place appropriate machinery for the reconstruction of Ogoni section of the East-West Road and building of the Federal University of Environmental Technology, Saakpenwa.

Also, Loanyie, said: “Ogoni people are not against oil and gas exploration because if properly done, it could help stimulate economic growth and empowerment for the people.”

He said the people were against any plan to re-enter Ogoniland for oil exploration through the back door.

“Such approach had failed in the past and will fail again this time. Granting of oil licence to any company to operate in Ogoni without due consultation and peaceful engagement with our people is completely unacceptable. Ogoni people would, non-violently, resist it. We have done it before and we can do it again,” he said.