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Ogoni leaders give conditions for resumption of oil activities

By Ann Godwin, Port Harcourt
01 November 2021   |   3:08 am
Some communities in Ogoniland have written to President Muhammadu Buhari, requesting resettlement of all communities displaced by environmental degradation before resumption

[FILES] A resident stands on marshy shore of a river polluted by oil spills at B-Dere, Ogoniland in Rivers State, southern Nigeria, on August 23, 2021. – Oil firm Shell has agreed to compensate the Ejamah community and three villages in Ogoni community in southern oil and gas-rich Niger delta, which recently won $11 million in compensation to the community over a 1970’s spill that polluted over 225 hectares of their farmlands and fishing waters. (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP)

Some communities in Ogoniland have written to President Muhammadu Buhari, requesting resettlement of all communities displaced by environmental degradation before resumption of oil activities in the area.

They gave the condition after a meeting in Bera, Gokana local council of Rivers State.

President of Ogoni Liberation Initiative, Dr. Douglas Fabeke, who read the letter on behalf of the host communities, said they were ready to withdraw all pending court cases, if the Federal Government demonstrates sincerity of purpose by implementing all their demands, including payment of compensations.

Fabeke said the host communities would produce a master plan that would pass on final resolutions of the Ogoni economic development recovery agenda to Mr. President.

He said the plan would serve as a blueprint and strategic model for development of Ogoniland. It would cut across sectors such as agriculture, marine, aviation, health, power, water resources, environmental restoration and management, education, socio-political change, oil and gas, refinery, military, security formations and others.

The letter reads in part: “The host communities shall include in the final draft the following developmental and impactful areas for Mr. President’s implementation, namely scholarship, trust fund, payment of compensation, demonstration of practical steps for restoration of our polluted environment and development of the land through complete implementation of recommendations of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), including emergency measures, which are neglected by the ongoing cleanup.”

Others are: “Relocation of all host communities and impacted homes to another well-settled location because of the high level of environmental degradation, before any environmental activity and oil and gas business should be carried out.

“That the host communities and Ogoni Liberation Initiative are ready to withdraw all pending cases in courts over various decrees of injuries meted to Ogoniland and her people, if the government demonstrates sincerity of purpose in implementation all our requests, including payment of compensation benefits.”

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