Posted by News Express | 31 October 2021 | 434 times
•President Muhammadu Buhari
By EGUFE YAFUGBORHI, Port Harcourt
Towards resumption of oil production in Ogoniland, Rivers state, Ogoni Oil Producing Communities Forum (OOPCF) on Sunday reaffirmed rejection of the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) as licensed operator to drive renewed operations in the area.
Harping on reservations against reported granting of the OML 11 Operating License to NPDC, a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), OOPCF noted that though it was not opposed to resumed oil and operations in Ogoni, NPDC lacks capacity to oversea such responsibility.
The OOPCF position signed by Barituka Loanyie, President and Norcross Wifa, Secretary, stated, “We make bold to say that as a company, NPDC does not have any capacity to exploit oil and has no requisite pedigree of good corporate social responsibility. Indeed, communities where they have operated have stories of woe.”
In further reservations, the body said, “President Buhari declared to some visiting Ogonis at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, that NNPC is hereby directed to engage all host communities, particularly Ogoni people to ensure inclusive process of oil and gas exploration and production is anchored on optimum involvement of host communities.
“The President’s stance which seems to recognise the need for dialogue, inclusiveness and the involvement of host communities in the oil and gas exploration and production processes, falls flat when we realise our people were neither consulted nor carried along in the processes that led to granting of the operating License to the NPDC.
“After due and thorough consultation with the Youths, leaders, elders and Chiefs of the oil and gas host communities in Ogoni, we hereby state that the granting of the operating License of to the NPDC is unacceptable and stands rejected.
“We reiterate that our people are not against resumption of oil and gas exploration in Ogoni as, if properly done, it could help stimulate some economic growth and empowerment for people. We are, however, against any plan to reenter Ogoniland for oil exploration through the back door.
“Such approach had failed in the past and will fail again this time. Granting of oil License to any company to operate in Ogoni without due consultation and peaceful engagement with our people is completely unacceptable .The Ogoni people would nonviolently resist it. We have done it before and we can do it again.
“Federal Government is hereby advised to retrace het steps and do the right thing in the interest of peace, equity, and justice. We also advice our people to be conscious of our recent history and always seek and obtain broad consultations and buy in of different layers of Ogoni Leadership including the oil communities before embarking on what has become recurring visits to Abuja to reach “AGREEMENTS “ over oil resumption in Ogoni when in fact they represent only themselves.” (Sunday Vanguard)