Port Harcourt — Youths of Ogoni ethnic nationality in Rivers State, under the auspices of Ogoni Youth Federation, have called on the Federal Government to give the operator licence of OML11 to an indigenous oil firm, Belemaoil Producing Limited,
The youths numbering over one hundred during a peaceful procession in Bori, the traditional headquarter of Ogoniland, demanded for the resumption of oil exploration activities in Ogoni, saying that Belemaoil will liberate Ogoni from economic strangulation.
President General of Ogoni Youth Federation, Legborsi Yamaabana, who led the procession, said Ogoni has set the pace for new environmental consciousness in the Niger Delta and minority right activism.
Yamaabana said only companies with track records in marginal field and upstream sector, social engagement and technical capacity and effective host community relation should be allow to prospect for oil in Ogoniland.
He added that the process for the re-entry in Ogoni oilfields must be subjected to proper negotiation with the youths and other stakeholders in Ogoniland.
“We call for resumption of oil exploration in Ogoniland to avail the Ogoni youth and other critical stakeholders the opportunity to benefit from their God given treasure and natural resources
“After the assessment of all the oil prospecting companies nosing for Ogoni oil, the Ogoni Youth Federation has discovered that BelemaOil Producing Limited, is the only indigenous company with a track record of social engagement, technical capacity and effective community relation.
“In the spirit of oneness, Ogoni Youth here by call on Federal Government to issue Belema Oil Producing Limited the legal license to operate OML 11(Ogoni oil fields) inorder to liberate Ogoni from economic strangulation.”
The Ogoni Youths Federation also said Ogoni struggle has awaken the consciousness of the Niger Delta people over the environmental injustices and underdevelopment meted against them.
“Before the advent of Ogoni struggle the Niger Delta was like a conquered zone where IOCs and their institutional collaborators practiced their obnoxious policies but today, the narrative has changed as a new and more intent consciousness on environmental justice has been introduced in the oil rich region.
“Recalled that during of unfettered oil exploration in Ogoniland which led to the devastation of the Ogoni environment, the youths were the most affected, today there is no economic activity in Ogoniland and the Ogoni Youth are totally displaced and vulnerable as a result of boredom and inactivity.
“It’s on this note that the famous Ogoni youth organization, OYF have resolved to seek legitimate means of alleviating the plight of Ogoni people and bringing lasting solution to the unmitigated poverty ravaging Ogoniland.”