20 April 2018, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt – The Ken Saro-Wiwa Associates has petitioned the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to prevail on all banks in the country to reject all loan or funding requests to an indigenous oil firm, RoboMicheal Nigeria Limited, in connection to the resumption of oil exploration activity in Ogoniland.
National Coordinator of KSWA, Chief Gani Topba, alleged that RoboMichael was a proxy of the Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, adding that SPDC and other companies interested in the resumption of oil production in Ogoniland were using fraudulent tactics to re-enter Ogoniland through the back door.
Topba, in a petition titled, “Demand for rejection and/or blocking of the request of RoboMicheal Nigeria Limited and any other company for loan/funding in connection with the development and operatorship of OML 11”, warned that any bank which advances loan to RoboMichael or any other company, regarding OML 11, was at its own risk.
The Ogoni leader, who said that RoboMichael was a novice in the oil and gas industry, added that the oil firm is broke and currently indebted to the Assets Management Company of Nigeria, to the tune of N4.8 billion.
He said it was mischievous for SPDC to say they are not interested in resuming operations in Ogoniland, whereas in an application dated 16th October 2017, SPDC applied to the Minister of Petroleum Resources for the renewal of its subsisting lease in OML 11 (Ogoni fields) which is due for expiry in 2019.
Topba, however, stated that Ogoni was not opposed to the resumption of oil and gas operations in Ogoniland, but that all approvals and granting of licenses to investors in relation to OML 11 must be preceded by fruitful discussions with the Ogoni people, in order to obtain the metaphorical social license to operate in the land.
According to the letter, “RoboMichael Nigeria Limited is a complete novice in the oil and gas industry in Nigeria and as such lacks the performance records, organizational and operational structure, as well as the technical expertise required of a gargantuan and highly delicate project like the development of OML 11 (Ogoni Fields).
“RoboMichael Nigeria Limited is broke, reckless in financial policies and a huge business risk. Currently, the company is indebted to the Assets Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) to the tune of ₦4.8 billion.
“Against the above background, the KSWA requests that you prevail on all the banks in Nigeria to reject all loan/funding requests made to them, whether from RoboMichael Nigeria Limited or any other oil and gas investor in connection with the development and operatorship of OML 11, until appropriate communication channels are opened with the Ogoni people and their demands satisfactorily met.
“We also demand that you withhold approval for all foreign funding sought from your Bank in connection with the development and operatorship of OML 11 (Ogoni Fields).
“KSWA cautions that any bank or financial institution which advances loan to or engages in funding partnership with RoboMichael Nigeria Limited or any other oil and gas company, regarding OML 11 (Ogoni Fields) does so at its own risk, as the Ogoni people are prepared to resist vehemently.”
Meanwhile, the Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, has maintained that the company have no plans of returning to Ogoniland since it left the area in 1993.
SPDC in a standing statement by its General Manager, External Relations, Mr. Igo Weli, said it has not participated in any act to undermine or cause problems in Ogoni.
“SPDC stopped oil production in Ogoni 1993 and since then, the company has no intention to resume oil production in the area.”