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29 Years After Saro-Wiwa’s Execution, Ogoni Youths Demand Resumption of Oil Exploration

Ogoni youths in Rivers State have demanded for the resumption of full oil exploitation and exploration in the area.

Youths of Ogoni in Rivers State under the aegis of National Youth Council of Ogoni People, (NYCOP) have demanded for resumption of full oil exploitation and exploration in the area.

This call is coming 29 years after the murder of the renowned Environmental-rights activist, Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogoni sons by the General Sani Abacha led military junta.

The Ogoni youths who spoke during a rally in Bori, Khana Local Government Area of state, in support of the Ogoni Economic Rebirth Project, said resumption of oil exploration should go alongside the Ogoni clean-up exercise being handled by the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP). 

Addressing the youths, President of NYCOP, Barinuazor Emmanuel, expressed the fear that if the world moves away from fossil fuels to renewable energy, Ogoni oil would be a waste, hence the need to explore it now for the betterment of the younger generation.

He said: “Before 1993, we gave our best to Nigeria, we gave our oil for 35 years and the royalty that was to accrue to Ogoni people was $150million, before late Ken Saro-Wiwa and other Ogonis raised the alarm.

“The UNEP Report which later came out told us that it was going to take 25 to 30 years to remediate Ogoniland. Now the question is, how many of us would be alive in the next 25 to 30 years? Children born in 1990 are already 33 and 34 years old, they are graduates and some even fathers  and mothers and they can’t negotiate for us because they knew nothing about what we passed through.

“Also, after eight years, we believed that  HYPREP, would have given us enough success by remediating at least 50 percent of Ogoni land. They were supposed to do decommissioning of pipelines, run with oil resumption and the $1billion which they have spent and would still spend more, we want that to be a roadmap that as we are cleaning, we will be negotiating for oil resumption for the younger generation to benefit”.

The NYCOP leader explained that oil resumption must go alongside Ogoni clean-up, stressing that Ogoni is not the only polluted area, noting that other polluted Niger Delta areas also needs to be cleaned and restored.

On his part, a prominent leader in the area, Solomon Ndigbara noted that the world is moving to renewable energy and wondered what would be the fate of Ogoniland that if the agreement from COP23 is implemented.

“We have lost the best of our generation, we have lost the best of our brains, we have lost our land because of oil exploration and I think the world should compensate Ogoni people by allowing us to benefit from our oil and gas because we have paid the supreme price that no other ethnic group has paid to save the environment and our oil.”

Ndigbara who stated that Ogoni cannot be languishing in poverty while sitting on gold, noted that the Ogoni Economic Rebirth Project throws up a unique opportunity for Ogoni Exploration and Production Company to collaborate with a choice financial and technical partner of great repute in the industry.

He said the move is intended to secure the lease to operate the assets within the Ogoni oilfields, adding that the entire vision would be pursued within the ambit of the law till its actualisation.

The Ogoni youth leader further called on all well-meaning Ogoni sons and daughters to open their minds and shun the deceitful ploys of those he referred to as ‘commercial activists and visionless high grade racketeers” who parade under the name leaders, but are only working for selfish interest. 

Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt

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