The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), has landed in trouble with the Ogoni community over lobby to resume oil production activities in the area.
Oil production activities was put on hold due to spates of attacks by new militant group, the Niger Delta Avengers, NDA. The NDA had issued several statements to oil companies operating in the community, to stop their workers from further production activities in the area.
In a statement signed by Bari-ara Kpalap Media/Public Affairs Advisor of the youth wing of the Movement for Survival of Ogoni People, MOSOP, the National Youth Council of the Ogoni People, NYCOP, on Sunday, said the group “dissociates itself from covert negotiations for the immediate commencement of oil extraction in Ogoni between the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company Limited (NPDC) and some bribed Ogoni natives”.
The statement titled ‘MOSOP Commences Mass Action against Resumption of Oil Production in Ogoni, the group said the NYCOP held a peaceful and non-violent protest at the premises of Novotel hotel in Port Harcourt where NPDC, a subsidiary of NNPC, planned to meet with some “Ogoni collaborators” in an attempt to “hold a fake workshop, which objective he said was geared towards brain-washing and bribing uninformed Ogonis “to support their devious plan”.
Kpalap said the youths barricaded the entrance to the hotel, preventing vehicles and visitors from either entering or leaving the hotel.
He said the protesters sang songs hailing the majority position supporting implementation of the UNEP report on Ogoniland and as well rained opposition against moves to resume oil extraction in the community.
Placards with inscriptions such as: “NPDC, Ogoni vultures leave Ogoni oil in the ground”, “No to oil production in Ogoni now, we want our environment re-mediated and restored”, “NPDC, if we die you are responsible” and “Ogoni oil is not for sale”, were carried by the protesters, according to him.
President of NYCOP and leader of the demonstrators, Dr. Young Nkpah said NDPC’s move to resume oil production in the area despite the pollution, is unacceptable.
“The activities of NPDC in Ogoni is aimed at creating division that would occasion avoidable crisis in the region. When we are talking about revival of our hydrocarbon polluted environment, they are canvassing for commencement of oil production now in Ogoni, a matter that had caused the death of a generation of the Ogoni leadership including sung and unsung Ogoni citizens. If this is not the case, how would one explain the situation where the Federal Government has flagged-off implementation of the Ogoni environmental rejuvenation exercise and the corporation is on the other hand luring gullible Ogonis to sanction its intent of resuming oil production in Ogoni now?”.
He warned NPDC and “her Ogoni collaborators” to stay away from the community as the “Ogoni people would resist them even with the last drop of our blood”.
He emphasized that they will continue the protests until justice is achieved.
“It is disappointing the level of involvement of local politicians belonging to one of the dominant political parties in the area. We are concerned that these politicians have always ganged up against the collective interest of our people. Evidence abound that these political actors and their cronies have openly denounced and fought against the legitimate, just and credible struggle for justice of the Ogoni people but would now want to reap from where they did not sow or what they hate,” he said.
He called on the Federal Government to step into the matter.
“We therefore call on the federal government and all men of goodwill and justice to prevail on NPDC to stop forthwith its attempts to cause trouble in Ogoni,” he said.