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Saro-Wiwa group to FG: Rebuild Ogoni before oil exploration

Tony John, Port Harcourt

A vocal non-violent group in Rivers State, the Ken Saro-Wiwa Associates (KSA),  has told the Federal Government to rebuild Ogoniland,  before any oil exploration could place in the area.

The group has also intensified its opposition to any moves to renew the operational license of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), following alleged destruction of Ogoniland and refusal to apologise to the citizens for the harm done to them.

National Coordinator of KSA, Chief Gani Topba who spoke, on Monday,  at the Ogoni General Assembly 2018, in Bori,  the traditional headquarters of Ogoni people,  said it would be an injustice, if the Federal Government renewed the company’s license to operate OML 11,  in whatever disguise.

According to Topba, “Whether they agree or not, Shell must apologise to Ogoni people.  Even though they are not operating in Ogoni, they are bound to apologise to Ogoni people.

“It is not the government that is the problem.  The government of Nigeria has one solution to the problems. The solution is this, Shell licence expires in 2019. It has applied for renewal. Don’t renew it; let the 100 percent of the oil bloc come back to the Federal Government. Ogoni is looking at how to agree with a company that will give Ogoni their stake in the 40 percent”, he emphasized.

Topba maintained that the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report on the clean up of Ogoni oil-polluted environment is dead,  several years after the recommendations were released.

He said the KSA has not seen any positive step taken by Federal Government to show the seriousness to implement the UNEP report,  lamenting that Ogoni people die daily because no remediation has been taken.

The National Coordinator continued, “Ken Saro-Wiwa Associates has always said it in every of our gathering that UNEP report is a dead report. A report of since 2011 has expired.

“We talk about the money that was released to for the cleanup.  Can anybody tell the Ogoni people the account where the money is deposited? Nobody knows where the money is. The Ogoni people that are members of the Board of Trustees have failed the people. They have not briefed the what is going on?”

Speaking further, Topba berated the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP),  for not being the pride of Ogoni Ethnic Nationality,  noting that the current leadership has turned the movement to a non-governmental organisation (NGO).

He stated: “MOSOP has never been an NGO; but, this current leadership has turned it to an NGO.  MOSOP is a movement. MOSOP is to defend the rights of every Ogoni man, whether in business, politics, academic or in any way.  It is for the common people” .

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