Ogoni threaten to disrupt OML 11 auction
Want Assets Sold To Firm Familiar With Struggle
Ogoni indigenes in Rivers State have threatened to disrupt and legally challenge the move to auction the $1 billion Oil Mining Lease (OML) 11 assets for a meagre $250 million, should Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) fails to heed to their advice.
This followed the House of Representatives demand that the NPDC to suspend its planned move to auction OML 11. Under the aegis of Ogoni Liberation Initiative (OLI), the people said the planned secret auction contravenes the promise by the NPDC Managing Director,Mohammed Ali-Zarah, that the people of Ogoni would be carried along on OML 11 issues, considering that they were directly affected by the environmental pollution caused by the activities of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) which operated the asset.
The people maintained that such asset should be sold to only those that understand the plight of Ogoni people, and could develop the area, regretting that some people were taking the Ogoni struggle for granted.
The SPDC Joint Venture (JV) operated the OML 11, but Shell vacated Ogoniland in 1993 after several protests led by the late environmentalist, Ken Saro-Wiwa, over devastations caused by the firm’s operations with no benefit to the people.
President of OLI, Dr. Douglas Fabeke, regretted that the plan by the NPDC to auction the OML 11 without considering the people’s plight and proper clean-up of oil-impacted sites in Ogoni as well as other unresolved crises, was highly insensitive and wicked.
Fabeke alleged that the NPDC had concluded the move to sell OML 11 to Sahara Energy and Shell. He advised companies lobbying to acquire the licence without proper negotiation with the indigenous people to desist, as they might find it difficult to operate. He expressed readiness to buy the OML 11 licence for $1.5 billion, if the NPDC is looking for money to develop Ogoniland.
Fabeke Douglas said his organization “Ogoni liberation Initiative” has the needed capacity both Local and international to fight for the interest of the people.
Commended the House of Representatives for directing NPDC to suspend its plan to auction the asset, he added: “On January 4, 2023, which was another Ogoni day, the Ogoni station will present the forensic report on the Ogoni clean-up. The report exposes how the clean-up project is converted into a political project and how billions of naira are taken from the project, how the contract is awarded to unprofessional companies and non-existent communities.”