• Friday, June 21, 2024
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MOSOP-USA criticises move to resume oil exploration in Ogoni

The Federal Government has come under heavy criticism for allegedly pushing for the resumption of oil exploration in Ogoni and using appointments as window dressing to achieve the oil objective.

In a statement by the USA wing of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP-USA), the group said; “Your (referring to President Muhammadu Buhari) push for the return of oil production in Ogoni through NNPC in violation of the UNEP guidelines is unacceptable.”

The movement, though commended the President on appointment of Ferdinand Giadom, another Ogoni, as the project coordinator of Hydrogen Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP), noted, however, that occasional but cosmetic appointments to massage the ego of selfish politicians were not synonymous with implementing the UNEP report recommendations.

They also said such appointments do not solve the problems of the Ogoni people. “Therefore, Ogoni earnestly deserves a Marshall Plan that encapsulates the complete and uncompromising implementation of the UNEP Report, the Ogoni Bill of Rights, and the exoneration and immortalisation of the Ogoni Nine.

MOSOP-USA warned that anything short of their 14-point demands would amount to a time bomb that they said would devastate the Niger Delta area and beyond if not pre-emptively detonated.

Read also: How Nigeria’s oil sector walked to a cliff’s edge

In the statement signed by DineBari Augustine Kpuinen, an elder and president, MOSOP-USA, the group said; “So far, and on your watch, an estimated $360 million has been spent on the so-called clean-up in Ogoni with nothing to show for it. While on the other hand, BP has spent an estimated $71 billion on cleanup and compensation for the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico over 10 years ago.

“Beneficiaries include 400 local governments, shrimp fishers, schools, hotels/motels, and tens of thousands of claimants along the coast. Mr. President, why can’t this happen in Ogoni? Why can’t you compel or sponsor laws that would hold oil companies accountable for oil spillage and pollution in the Niger Delta after decades of total environmental destruction?”

MOSOP-USA regretted that the clean-up exercise had dragged on for 11 years without result, adding, “if Nigeria is genuinely ready to clean the Ogoni environment, it must go by the UNEP report”.

Top on the list of the 14 demands is that HYPREP be scrapped and replaced with Ogoniland Environmental Restoration Authority (OERA), as the group said HYPREP was not what the UNEP Report recommended. They said what was recommended was clean-up, not cover-up.

Calling on what they called total revalidation of the UNEP Report, MOSOP-USA said black soot rain that causes internal bleeding has emerged which was not envisaged in the original study and report by the UN.

They also called for total discontinuation of gas flaring, establishment of one new hospital in each of the four local council areas in Ogoni. They also renewed calls on the integrated contaminated soil management centre as well as the centre of excellence for training of Ogoni people.

The group also demanded that all jobs and contracts be awarded to Ogoni people and demanded the discontinuation of every local contractor to be replaced by foreign ones they promised to nominate.

Calling for the position of federal minister of environment to be ceded to the Ogoni till clean-up is over, the group also demanded for an Ogoni State because they have not tasted the positions of president and governor.

They reminded the FG that provision of potable water to all Ogoni was required before clean-up would begin because the UNEP report indicated that Ogoni water contained benzene (a cancer-causing chemical), hydrocarbon, and other poisonous chemicals.