Ogoni splits again over oil exploration
OGONI: THE recent endorsement of RoboMichael Nigeria Limited by Ogoni monarchs, under the auspices of Supreme Council of Ogoni Traditional Rulers, SCOTRA, to explore oil in Ogoni land has triggered fresh crisis in the oil-rich Rivers’ ethnic nationality. Ogoni land, polluted with oil spills Twenty-five years ago, Ogoni natives halted oil operation in the area by Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, due to alleged environmental devastation and pollution,. The pronouncement of the Ogoni royal fathers that RoboMichael should carry on exploration has expectedly ignited reactions and attacks from the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni, MOSOP, which insists that it is the only body vested with the power to speak for Ogoni people. A social-cultural pressure group in Ogoni, Ken Saro-Wiwa Associates, has also handed out conditions to the Federal Government and oil firms concerning the takeover of Oil Mining Lease, OML II We endorse RoboMichael- Royal fathers SCOTRA’s decision was disclosed in a communique issued after the meeting of the body at the palace of the chairman, HRM King Godwin Gininwa in Tai local government area. Spokesperson of SCOTRA and paramount ruler of Kpite communities, HRH King Samuel Nnee, Gbene-mene Tuatua Tai, who read the communiqué, said the chiefs resolved after due consultations to allow the firm operate the oil wells in the area. Nnee said: “We, the Supreme Council of Traditional Rulers of Ogoni in consultation with our people resolve and endorse RoboMichael limited as our preferred company to operate the assets situated in our land.” Oil firms at it again- MOSOP However, MOSOP accused oil firms of employing divide and rule tactics to arm-twist the people. He called on President Muhammadu Buhari to avert a possible breakdown of the peace in Ogoni land by putting a check to the activities of Belema Oil Producing Limited and Robo Michael Limited, adding that their desperation for Ogoni oil has created division among the people. The spokesman, Fegalo Nsuke, told NDV, “The way forward is a peaceful settlement through dialogue taking into strong consideration the interests of the Ogoni people as articulated in the Ogoni Bill of Rights” KSA gives conditions However, Ken Saro-Wiwa Associates said it would only allow a company preferred by larger number of stakeholders in the area on grounds that Federal Government would not renew the license it issued to Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, to operate OML11 when it expires in 2019. National Coordinator of KSA, Chief Gani Topba, who stated this during a sensitization in Bori, Khana local government area, said that any company which intends to resume exploration in Ogoni must give a clear template on development and on human capacity building. 3 years, 3 endorsements Topba disclosed that within the period of three years, the same chiefs have endorsed over three different firms to explore Ogoni oil, adding that the endorsement was only a ploy to enrich themselves. “These traditional rulers who call themselves Supreme Council or COTRA lack the capacity and moral justification to endorse any company. In 2015, Belemaoil was in Ogoni and this same chiefs endorsed them. In 2016 and 2017 the chiefs wrote to NNPC that Belemaoil remains their choice,” he said.