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Ogoni to allow indigenous firms resume oil production



INDIGENOUS oil companies with good intention to help eradicate poverty in their land could resume oil production in the area, the Ogoni people of Rivers State have said. 

   The decision was reached at a congress organised by the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) at Bori in Gokana local council of the state at the weekend.  

   They also resolved to set up a committee comprising a representative of traditional rulers, elders and chiefs, women and youths, as well as a representative of MOSOP, to study a proposal of intent by the interested companies.

   Reacting to the report that Belema Oil Company Limited has taken over the wells in Ogoniland, however, MOSOP President, Legborsi Pyagbara, said the people were yet to announce their preferred company. According to him, it was necessary to get the consent of all Ogoni people on the move.

   More so, the committee would study all proposals by companies that are interested in prospecting oil in the area and make recommendations to the congress for further consideration and approval, he noted.

   “Mosop is not opposed to oil production in Ogoniland, but my stand is that whatever decision we take, the people need to agree,” he said. “In order to move forward, every Ogoni community must work with one voice to ensure that the view of Ogoni people are taken into consideration.”

   Paramount ruler of Kegbara-dere, His Royal Highness, Donald Gberesuu, agreed with MOSOP on raising a committee to study all proposals for oil exploration and production, stressing that the general congress would be too large to handle such proposals.

   Meanwhile, the paramount ruler of Bangha community in Khana local council and Chairman, Council of Ogoni Traditional Rulers, His Royal Highness, Mene Suanu Baridam, disclosed that only Belema has shown sufficient interest in prospecting oil in the area. 

   According to him, “officials of the company met with traditional rulers, elders, chiefs, women and youths in different communities in Ogoniland. As I speak here today, I don’t know of any other oil company that is interested in doing business in Ogoniland.”

   Some traditional rulers, elders and chiefs had last week, at the palace of the Chairman, Supreme Council of Ogoni Traditional Rulers, King Godwin Ginuwa, endorsed Belema as the only company recognized to prospect oil in the area.

   MOSOP had earlier dissociated itself from the said endorsement, claiming that it was not part of the agreement.

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