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MOSOP may permit oil exploration in Ogoniland


Shell, which until 1993 was the major oil producing company in Ogoni, was forced to leave the area following widespread protest spearheaded by MOSOP over alleged human and environmental rights abuses.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012 00:00 Kelvin Ebiri, Port Harcourt

HOPE for resumption of oil and gas exploration in Ogoni, has been rekindled by the new leadership of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP).

MOSOP Interim Chairman and Secretary, Professor Ben Naanen and Meshach Karanwi, said the new leadership would promote the sustainable and equitable exploration of the natural resources of Ogoni for the benefit of Ogoni people.

In a statement made available to The Guardian, they said “efforts would be made to reinforce the policy of dialogue and constructive engagement with the government and corporate entities on the above issues and especially in respect of job creation and economic development to alleviate the dire poverty in Ogoni.”

Shell, which until 1993 was the major oil producing company in Ogoni, was forced to leave the area following widespread protest spearheaded by MOSOP over alleged human and environmental rights abuses.

The MOSOP Provisional Council (MPC) also promised “to promote the protection of the environment and natural resources of Ogoni; in this regard the implementation of the United Nations Environment Program’s report on Ogoni.”

The MPC alleged that Ogoni “has not been fairly treated in the distribution of the dividend of the Niger Delta struggle which the Ogoni people pioneered and shall through dialogue ensure that the government corrects this situation.”

It noted that although the “MPC affirms the primary claim of every Ogoni person to membership of MOSOP, in order to deepen the process of reconciliation and inclusion, every effort would be made to extend a hand of fellowship to every Ogoni person in every walk of life.”

The duo called for “understanding and cooperation from Ogoni leaders in government, business and the professions.”

To enhance the pool of ideas, deepen the process of reconciliation and strengthen the organisation, MPC said it had decided to set up an International Advisory Committee comprising respected Ogoni men and women at home and in the Diaspora.

The Naanen-led MOSOP said it would ensure the promotion and the protection of the human rights as well as the language and culture of Ogoni people.

It added that “the MPC would not overstay its welcome and has irrevocably committed itself to handing over to an elected executive committee on January 4, 2013.”

Naanen and Karanwi commended the courage and wisdom of Mr. Ledum Mitee, former MOSOP President, in sustaining MOSOP’s principle as a democratic organisation.


Comment by Ogoni activist Dum-ale Tanee

I am calling this statement issued by MPC a total joke until I see their plan. They want to use MOSOP to accomplish what they cannot under OCG but the world is watching very closely. It is some of these people who signed MOU in secret for oil exploitation to start in Ogoni, thereby undermining the work of UNEP.

While I am in support of using our resources to develop ourselves, I think the MPC has not informed the people of what their plans are and how we are going to do it without falling back to the pre-MOSOP era.

Therefore, I am challenging all those who are behind this move to make public their plan if they have one or stop their madness.

The first thing I expect MPC to do is to take steps to reach out to the other faction and then make public the election process so that those who wish to participate can make preparations.

Also, in as much as I cannot question the intelligence of those behind this publication, I wish I can say that of their motives and integrity.

I do not think that Ogoni people can easily be tricked into opening up for oil production with the concept of “job creation and elimination of poverty” while their fundamental demands remain unattended.

Those people whose oil are still flowing as we speak in the Niger Delta hasn’t seen much change and they continue to cry and kidnap everyday because the laws that deprived them of the proceeds from our resources remain the same.

Even the minor changes that the government make as a result of our struggle are not implemented, so who are you guys fooling? Finally, while I wish you all a successful tenure, I hope you don’t create any problem that will lead to bloodshed in our land because our people know very well why we started this struggle and how we want to end it.

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