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N3bn scam by FG to resume oil exploration in Ogoniland can’t work—MOSOP

…As NGOs call for withdrawal of presidential order on resumption of exploration

Confusion is currently brewing against the planned resumption of oil exploration activities in Ogoniland as the leading pressure group in the community, the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) has described the Federal Government’s N3.039 billion expenditure on Ogoni clean up as the “biggest scam, using it to resume oil exploration in the region.”
This is as two non-governmental organisations (NGOs), Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) and We the People (WtP), have called for the immediate withdrawal of the presidential order granting resumption of oil exploitation in the Rivers community.
Recall that the presidency, had in a March 1, 2019 memo signed by the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, and addressed to the Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), directing “NNPC/NPDC to take over the operatorship from Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) of the entire OML 11 not later than April 30, 2019 and ensure smooth re-entry given the delicate situation in Ogoni Land… NNPC/NPDC to confirm by May 2, 2019 the assumption of the operatorship.”
HOMEF’s Executive Director, Comrade Nnimmo Bassey and his WtP counterpart, Ken Henshaw, noted with “alarm and unease the recent memo originating from the presidency…we consider this instruction insensitive, ill-advised and capable of inflaming suspicions and conflict in an area that is already very fragile and prone to crisis.”
In a statement, MOSOP’s president, Fegalo Nsuke, said his people had lost confidence in the entire process, alleging lack of transparency.
The group, which saw the entire outplay of the federal government since the flag off of the scheme few years ago as fake “image laundering”, averred that the reported spending did not address the needs of the people, who still get drinking water from unsafe sources.
MOSOP hinged its claims on the express position of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report which prioritised provision of water as well as erection of facilities to tackle the contaminated soil, saying “All of these were yet to be put in place.”
According to Nsuke, majority of the efforts so far made by the government can best be described as enriching the project managers and force resumption of oil production in the area without the consent of the people.
In the understanding of MOSOP leadership, the federal government is being “hypocritical as the real target and that of Shell is to use every means available, including the scandalous cleanup exercise, driven by benefits accruing to contractors.”
Nsuke “It is sad, pitiable and regrettable that they are not only celebrating the pains and deaths caused by Shell and her irresponsible business conduct in Ogoni, but also using the funds to enrich themselves.
“The Ogoni people demand an apology from Nigeria and Shell. They should stop celebrating in the media their corporate irresponsibility and award of contracts to companies.”
According to Nsuke, Ogoni people urgently need water and the soil management centre and time is now for the government to be “genuinely committed to doing the right thing as recommended by UNEP.”