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Ogoni gives conditions for resumption of oil exploration

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Ogoni ethnic nationality stakeholders in Rivers State on Sunday said they would not allow the Nigeria Petroleum Development Compaany (NPDC) or another company to resume oil exploration in the town without due consultations with them.

They are also disturbed about the resurgence of cult killings in the area.

The stakeholders lamented the visit of NPDC to the area without official notice.

Emmanuel Deeyah, the President of KAGOTE, the apex socio-cultural organisation in Ogoni comprising the four councils of Khana, Gokana, Tai and Eleme, flayed NPDC, a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Commission (NNPC), for visiting Ogoni without following the right channel.

He decried the recent cult-related violence that had claimed many lives in the area and called on security operatives to arrest and prosecute any cultist caught with a firearm in Ogoni.

He said: “Lately, in Ogoniland, we have had this issue of cult-related killings, so we have come to say enough is enough.

“We are talking with the relevant security agencies so that henceforth anyone caught shooting even crackers they should visit such person with the full weight of the law. They should do everything within their powers to apprehend such persons”.

Deeyah said while the people were pondering on how to tackle insecurity in the area, they were again inundated with the report of the visit of NPDC and the company’s planned resumption of oil exploration.

The Ogoni leader insisted any company that intended to explore oil in the area must meet with critical stakeholders, chiefs and opinion leaders, adding that Ogoni was not ready to make the same mistakes it made in the era of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC).

Deeyah said: “The truth about it is that nobody in Ogoni owns the means of the facility to mine oil. We belong to the federation, that is, Nigeria and we are also bound by the laws of the country.

“We can’t decide which company comes and which will not come. But we have a long history when it comes to oil exploration.

“We believe that if the government is desirous of mining oil in Ogoniland, it should consult. There should be a process dialogue with the people.

“We have our son, Senator Magnus Abe, who is on the board of NNPC, the parent company of NPDC. He is not in the picture of this development.

“We also have Senator Bari Mpigi, also an indigene and others they are not in the picture of this development.

“Those people who claim to come from NPDC, do they actually come from Nigeria? Don’t they come from places?

“We even have a local government chairman on ground; we have never heard that any of the council chairmen was involve in any of those processes.”

Deeyah disowned Ogoni Liberation Initiative, (OLI), the organisation that championed the visit of NPDC, saying the body did not have the mandate to speak for Ogoni people.

He said: “I will like to say that the OLI as they call them don’t have the legitimate mandate to invite any group to come and mine oil in Ogoniland, and we want to say to them that henceforth they should stop all such activities.

“In the next few days, we are going to call a broad-based meeting of Ogoni people of all seeds of opinion so that we chart the way forward. It is in that meeting we are going to agree on what we expect.

“We rejected Shell, so if another organisation is going to come, we should know what others things they are going to do better than Shell.”

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