(By Chioma Peters) -The people of Ogoni ethnic nationality appears to be sharply divided over attempts by companies to resume oil exploration in the area.
While some chiefs are willing to negotiate, some of those who feel left out are crying foul, insisting that every Ogoni person must be part of the decision. Similar arguments in the past had aborted moves at different times by Shell and Belema Oil from having meaningful discussions with the people on possible resumption of oil exploration in Ogoni.
Predictably, the December 27, 2017, effort by an oil company based in Abuja to discuss with the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People, MOSOP, on the same subject has been described as divisive by Fegalo Nsuke, Publicity Secretary of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), who in a statement issued in Port Harcourt contended that “the constitution of MOSOP requires that, for there to be a congress or public gathering of the Ogoni people, the executives of MOSOP, the Vice Presidents (Kingdom Coordinators) and the chapter leaders of the over 300 chapters of MOSOP in all Ogoni communities must be present”.
Meanwhile, the Senator representing Rivers South-East Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Senator Magnus Ngei Abe, has met with leaders of the Ogoni ethnic nationality to discuss issues affecting resumption of oil exploration in the area and the ongoing clean-up exercise.
Briefing newsmen after the gathering made up of traditional rulers, religious leaders, the academia as well as leaders of KAGOTE and the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) on Tuesday at Bera, in Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers State, Abe said a committee under the chairmanship of Professor Ben Naanen was set up by the leaders to look into issues affecting the resumption of oil exploration in Ogoniland.
The Senator stated that another committee made up of Ogoni representatives on the Board and Governing Council of HYPREP was mandated to meet with the Minister of Environment to update the people on the progress so far, as well as the financial releases to the Ogoni clean-up exercise.
He stated that the committee on oil exploration, headed by Professor Ben Naanen was mandated to come up with a template of the position of the Ogonis, regarding the issue of oil exploration.
Abe, who is the Chairman, Senate Committee on FERMA, further stated that, “the Ogoni people are not against discussing the issue that has to do with that but we are concerned that it be done in an organized, peaceful and reasonable manner so that the interest of the community is properly factored in. The committee will meet and a report presented to everybody in three weeks.”