Group Gives Condition For Resumption Of Oil Exploration In Ogoni Land

A recent call for the resumption of exploration sparked the ongoing debate across the four local government areas of the ethnic group.

A file photo of officials on duty somewhere in Ogoniland in Rivers State. Photo: Twitter- @FMEnvng


Some members of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) in Rivers State are demanding the establishment of the Ogoni Development Authority (ODA) as a non-negotiable condition for allowing oil exploration activities to resume in Ogoni land.

The MOSOP members argue that the creation of the Development Authority is crucial to ensuring that the benefits of oil extraction are directly channeled into the development and welfare of the local communities.

During a special congress held in Bera community in Gokana Local Government Area, a MOSOP leader and convener of the Congress, Fegalo Nsuke, said the development authority as outlined in the Ogoni Bill of Rights, would be funded by a monthly allocation of 20% of the total revenue generated from the oil exploration in their land.

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He said, “We will not accept any option that does not consider the position of MOSOP on Ogoni oil, and what is MOSOP saying? MOSOP is saying that the Ogoni Development Authority should be operationalised.

“It says and that demands that 20% of the resources that comes out of Ogoni should be committed to Ogoni development. It means simply that we will be able to use the funds that come from Ogoni to build an Ogoni economy, to create jobs”.

Nsuke, who was elected MOSOP President in 2018 and still being recognized by some members as the authentic leader of the pressure group since no proper election has held since then, said the federal government is estimated to generate at least N50 billion daily from the extraction of crude oil in the four Local Government Areas of Gokana, Khana, Tai and Eleme.

He explained that the funds for the Development Authority will be managed by an independent asset management company, which will draw a development road map for Ogoni and implement same religiously.

The MOSOP leader said the expenditure of the asset management firm will be made public online via a website to enable concerned Ogonis and the general public to track their activities.

“The 20% is going to be put in a trust and then it’s going to be managed by a third party asset management firm. So, all they need to do is to do a mapping of Ogoni, do the designing and begin to implement it and then it is going to be online.

“The reporting is simple. You just go online and click reporting and you see what they have done with your money. Accountability will be very easy”.

Nsuke said the Ogoni Development Authority should be composed of 33 members drawn from eleven pro-Ogoni organizations that has been enlisted in a flyer he prepared as far back as September 2020.

The organizations include, the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP), the National Youth Council of Ogoni people (NYCOP), Council of Ogoni Professionals, Committee of Ogoni Leaders of Thought, Federation of Ogoni Women Association (FOWA), and the Ogoni Council of Churches.

Others are, Ogoni Central Union, Conference of Ogoni Traditional Rulers, National Union of Ogoni Students, Ogoni Students Union, and Ogoni Teachers Union.

Nsuke and others who spoke at the congress also rejected the endorsement of any company to operate the facilities on their land, saying such agreement must be reached after due consultations in town hall meetings like the one they held.

For decades, Ogoni land was the epicenter of oil extraction. While the economic activity brought significant profits to the operators and the government, it left a trail of polluted environment, among other challenges which resulted to protests that led to the suspension of exploration activities.

A recent call for the resumption of exploration sparked the ongoing debate across the four local government areas of the ethnic group.