17 March 2018, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt — A frontline environmental rights activist in Rivers State, Mr. Akpobari Celestine has warned people clamouring for the resumption of oil exploration activities in Ogoni to stop forthwith until the cleanup of Ogoniland has been conducted.
Celestine gave the warning in Port Harcourt at an event organised in honour of the Coordinator of the Ken Saro-Wiwa Associates, Chief Gani Topba.
The notable Ogoni activist said he will personally lead protests against any firm that will come to explore oil in Ogoniland when oil-impacted sites in the area have not be cleaned up by the Federal Government.
He said it will be an insult to the integrity of the Ogoni struggle and on the person of late environmentalist Ken Saro-Wiwa if firms are allowed to come back again when Ogoniland was yet to be cleaned up.
According to him, “Any good indigene of Ogoni will not think of oil resumption for now, because it is oil that took us through this deadly tracks that we have passed.
“Ken Saro-Wiwa would have been alive if not for oil, so all the things that Ken worked and died for in the Ogoni Bill of Rights have we achieved any one?
“I think we should first ask that the mess that Shell generated should be first cleaned up, the government is yet to commence the Ogoni cleanup.
“If oil companies are allowed to come and resume oil exploration now, then we will be dancing on the grave of Ken.”
Celestine who is also the leader of Ogoni Civil Society Platform called on the people of Ogoni to be more concerned about issues that would bring development to the area as well as work towards sustainable peace in the area.
“It took the grace of God for us to have the kind of peace we are experiencing now in Ogoniland, therefore, I will not want any youth, chief, elder or elite in Ogoni to take the land through the bloody tracks again.
“We need to sit down and chart a way forward, Ogoni is the only major ethnic nationality in Rivers State that has not produced a governor, deputy governor, speaker or chief judge, these are the things I want Ogoni to think about at this time.
“I want the people of Ogoni to think about the industrialisation, what industries do we have in Ogoni today? People should begin to think about these things that will put food on the table of an average Ogoni man not what will further divide and kill us.”