The apex Ogoni socio-cultural group, the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) has described the purported acquisition of Oil Mining License (OML) 11 by the Rivers State government and other parties involved as “null and void.” It should be recalled that Rivers Governor, Nyesom Wike, in an Independence Day broadcast, announced that the State government had acquired Shell Petroleum Development Company’s (SPDC’s) 45% stake in OML 11.
But rising from its national executive council meeting, presided over by MOSOP President, Legborsi Pygbara, at the state secretariat of the organization in Port Harcourt, MOSOP in a 14-point communique stated that the acquisitions, divestments or licensure of Ogoni oilfields without broad consultation and agreement with the Ogoni people remained null and void and cannot stand, adding that, Ogoniland is not for sale.
According to MOSP, “all these are done without the slightest consultation with the Ogoni people or their free, prior and informed consent sought as guaranteed under international human rights law.” Pygbara, who noted that the transaction by the state government failed to respect Ogoni rights of ownership, added that Ogoniland cannot be expropriated by private interests masquerading as public interest.
The meeting recalled that MOSOP had called on the Governor Wike in the past to demonstrate statesmanship and inclusivity by supporting the Ogoni cause for justice and contributing to finding a lasting solution to the Ogoni crisis. The governor, according to them, failed to do so.
The group said, “the governor’s u-turn and his latest declaration of interest in acquiring the Ogoni fields is a big surprise; and if the governor was trying to dance on the misery and penury of our fellow compatriots from Ejama, Ebubu community who have endured a long struggle against the multinational giant, Shell since 1992 without any government support, then the dance steps are indeed faulty and the drummers living in fairyland.”
They however called on the Ogoni people to remain peaceful, united, vigilant and be their brothers’ keepers as there are challenging days ahead.