Port Harcourt — More reactions have continued to trail the Rivers State Government on its recent acquisition of OML11, as some people from Ogoni ethnic nationality, have disagreed with the state government on the issue.
This is as the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, recently explained why the state government had to acquire the oil block, saying he was acting for the interest of the host communities.
But some section of Ogoni have said that the state governments should rather concentrate on delivering good governance to the people of Rivers State instead of dabbling into crude oil matters, especially since such was only within the powers of the Federal Government.
The National Coordinator, Conscience of Ogoni People, Chief Gani Topba, wondered why the roads leading to the host communities of OML11 were still in shambles, since the governor said he was acting for the interest of these communities.
“Instead of engaging in the acquisition of OML11 (Ogoni Fields), we urge you to concentrate on your primary assignment of delivering good governance to the long-suffering people of Rivers State and to make good use of the opportunity your second term has offered you to redeem the tag of non-performance hanging on the reputation of your administration.
“For the records, Ogoni people have endorsed the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) to take over OML 11 (Ogoni Fields).
“Your claim that the Rivers State Government’s intervention is aimed at ensuring peaceful operation of the oil block is unfounded. On this point, we can confirm that the Federal Government is prepared to take necessary measures to address the legacy issues in OML 11 (Ogoni Fields) which led to the shut-in of operations since 1993.
“With these issues of social, economic and environmental benefit components of oil operations in the Ogoni Fields effectively resolved, we are certain that the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, as the new leasee of the oil block will conveniently and peaceably operate the block without let, hindrance or interruption from any Ogoni son or daughter.”
Topba, however, agreed with the Rivers State Governor that OML11 is beyond Ogoniland, saying that the people of Ogoni are only concerned about the Ogoni field within the oil block.
“Your claim that OML11 does not belong to the Ogoni people alone and that it belongs to Etche, Bonny, Oyigbo, Ogu/Bolo and Okrika as well is not disputed. You will recall that while there was shut down of operation in the Ogoni Fields, Fields in surrounding communities outside Ogoniland were and still are being operated by the SPDC.
“While Ogoni people are not concerned about how other host communities within OML 11 choose to react to operations in their land under the present Joint Venture arrangement, Ogoni people have decided to take their destinies into their own hands and have insisted that they must have a say in how the oil and gas found on their land are operated in the interest of smooth stakeholders’ relationship.”
He called on the state government deliver good governance to the host communities of OML11.
“We are fortified in our position because the access road to Ejama-Ebubu community in Eleme Local Government Area – the same community the love for whom you claimed compelled the Rivers State Government to play the role of the ‘Good Samaritan’ by offering to pay up the judgment debt owed the community by SPDC, has been a death-trap since your assumption of office.
“We are, however, wondering why the deplorable state of the road and near-absence of life in the community has not captured Your Excellency’s attention.”