07 February 2019, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt — Twenty-five years after Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria, SPDC, was forced out of Ogoniland, the Ogoni have issued 14 days ultimatum to the oil company to open dialogue with the people concerning resumption of oil exploration and production in the area.
The people, speaking at the Ogoni general assembly in Bori, under the aegis of Conscience of Ogoni People, COOP, also issued five days ultimatum to President Muhammadu Buhari to reinstate their son, Mene Derek, to his position as the Executive Director of Finance and Administration at the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.
National Leader of COOP, Chief Gani Topba, while speaking on the resolutions reached by group, said it was improper for the people of Ogoni to continue to remain poor and impoverished, while the crude oil deposit in their lands remain untouched.
Topba said the era of agitation was over as the people were now prepared to engage Shell in a dialogue for the commencement of oil exploration activities in Ogoniland.
He explained that the people of Ogoni have agreed that crude oil exploration should resume in the area, in other to curb the spate of unemployment, poverty, underdevelopment and crime in the area.
Topba said: “We are prepared to dialogue with Federal Government to ensure that there is progress in Ogoniland. Let Shell come to our shrine (referring to the hall where the meeting was held) to discuss with us on how to resume oil exploration.
“Shell operational licence will expire in the next four months. What we are talking about is how development will come and make Ogoni more better. We are giving them (Shell) 14 days ultimatum to come for dialogue. Let them come and dialogue with us that they are serious and ready to resume exploration in OML11.”
The group also issued 14 days ultimatum to the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project, HYPREP, to relocate their office from Port Harcourt to Ogoniland, threatening to shut down the agency’s office in Port Harcourt, if their demand was ignored.
He described the ongoing Ogoni clean-up by HYPREP as a jamboree, wondering why the agency was not following UNEP’s template which recommended provision of portable water as emergency measure in Ogoniland.
“We are going to put all our resolutions today in a formal letter and send to the President. We are also going to embark on international campaigns for the world to see how Ogoni has been set backwards.
“If HYPREP fails to relocate their office to Ogoni, we are going to shut them down in Port Harcourt,” he stated.
On the sack of Derek Mene as the NDDC’s Executive Director of Finance and Administration by the Federal Government, COOP said it was a slight and confirmation of the nation’s hatred of Ogoni people.
“We are not happy that our son, Mene Derek, was removed as the Executive Director of Finance and Administration of NDDC. His removal showed how Ogoni people are hated in this country, not minding our contribution to the economy of this country.
“Our position is that we want our son to be reinstated. We are giving President Muhammadu Buhari five days ultimatum to withdraw that decision and reinstate him to his position or appoint any other Ogoni person into that position,” Topba said.