The National Coordinator of Conscience of Ogoni People (COOP), and former Ken Saro-Wiwa’s associate, Chief Gani Topba, has stated that to avert fresh crisis in Ogoni, the governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike, must steer clear of Ogoni land.
Topba, on Friday in Port Harcourt, stated that the resumption of oil production in Ogoniland’s four local government areas of Khana, Gokana, Tai and Eleme, must follow due process and all the stakeholders should be adequately consulted.
The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) was sent packing from Ogoni in 1993, in a non-violent struggle, while a renowned environmentalist, Ken Saro-Wiwa, and eight other Ogoni martyrs were hanged at the Port Harcourt Prisons on November 10, 1995, during the regime of the late Gen. Sani Abacha.
The national coordinator of COOP, however, declared that the many years of non-violent struggle by Ogoni people would not be allowed to be in vain. Topba said: “COOP refuses to believe that Governor Wike can exploit the debacle between SPDC and the Ogoni people by going behind to work against the Ogoni interest and to sabotage the supreme price paid by the Ogoni forebears in seeking justice for the oppressed people.
“Ordinarily, COOP would have ignored Governor Wike’s announcement, knowing full well that his mission is dead on arrival, but for the numerous calls from Ogoni people, friends of Ken Saro-Wiwa, international human and environmental rights groups and well-meaning individuals, both within and outside Nigeria, who have inundated our office with calls and inquiries regarding the unpatriotic broadcast.
“The broadcast is filled with inconsistencies, contradictions, outright falsehoods and exaggerations. It is our considered view that the reasons adduced are divisionary and a veiled attempt to conceal Governor Wike’s real capitalist-driven personal interest. It has everything to do with his personal interest and less to do with the interest of the people of Rivers State.
“There is no such thing as SPDC’s 45% interest in OML-11. The OML-11 is a joint venture involving NNPC with 55% stake, SPDC with 30% stake, Total with 10% stake and Agip with 5% stake. Therefore, its inconceivable and impracticable that the Rivers State government will purport to have acquired 45% of interest, when all that SPDC has is 30%.
“SPDC was declared persona non grata in Ogoniland in 1993, following its decades of economic and environmental injustice perpetrated against the Ogoni people, who were forced to live in perpetual hunger, starvation, misery, exclusion, poverty, unemployment and above all environmental degradation caused by reckless exploitation of oil and gas resources in OML-11 (Ogoni fields) and the adoption of bad oilfield practice.