Traditional rulers of Ogoni ethic nationality in Rivers State have advised the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, NPDC, to approach the stakeholders of the area if it wants to resume oil exploration in the communities, adding that the stakeholders would not allow the oil firm to enter Ogoni through the back door. It will be recalled that Ogoni Liberation Initiative, OLI, had led NPDC to Ogoni land in a move to resume oil exploration in the area. In a statement by the President of Supreme Council of Ogoni Traditional Rulers, SCOTR, Gbenemene Tai Kingdom, HRM King Godwin N.K. Gininwa, but signed by the Publicity Secretary of SCOTR, Gbenemene Tua-Tua Tai, Paramount Ruler of Kpite Tai, HRH (Sir) King Samuel L.A. Nnee, Ogoni people disowned OLI.
The statement distanced Ogoni traditional rulers from the move to allow NPDC resume operations in the area, calling on the public to avoid the declaration of OLI. It reads “The Supreme Council of Traditional Rulers of Ogoni has distanced itself from, and urged the Ogoni people and the general public to discountenance the reported declaration of a so-called Ogoni Liberation Initiative (OLI) authorising the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company Limited (NPDC) to commence oil production in Ogoni without the consent and approval of the people. On Monday, 23 August, 2021, the OLI reportedly brought the NPDC into Bori-Ogoni having sneaked the firm through the back door into Ogoni and authorised them to resume oil extraction in our communities, ignoring consultation and endorsement of the people
“The President of the Supreme Council of Traditional Rulers of Ogoni and Gbenemene Tai Kingdom, HRM King Godwin N.K. Gininwa, OFR, JP said today in his palace at Korokoro Tai: On behalf of the Supreme Council of Traditional Rulers of Ogoni and the entire traditional institution in Ogoni, we wish to state that we are unaware of the reported development.” The statement noted that the traditional institution of Ogoni was not happy that OLI led oil firm into the area without due consultations, noting that the people have not Thus, we frown at the activities and assertion of the pseudo body, Ogoni Liberation Initiative. Insofar as we are concerned, the Ogoni people especially the Supreme Council of Traditional Rulers of Ogoni, MOSOP, KAGOTE, Political Class and the elites had not met and permitted that oil mining either by the NPDC or any other investor should commence in Ogoni now. We therefore warn the OLI against actions that would throw Ogoni into crisis”.
“For any company to be qualified for our social licence, it must qualify in all ramifications, including ability to meet our conditions spelt out in the Ogoni template regarding investment in Ogoni; technical competence, environmental protection and management, respect for our rights including acceptable corporate social responsibility amongst others. We would use this opportunity to call on all sons and daughters of Ogoni to be calm and cautious and resist all lures or temptations to rush into any engagement with any company or individual with regards to oil production resumption or any other investment in Ogoni. That at an appropriate time an all-inclusive meeting of the people shall be convened to deliberate on this sensitive matter and a resolution representing the common interest of the people reached and made public.”
It further warned investors not enter Ogoni through the backdoor, adding that the people must be duly consulted by prospective investors. “However, we would warn prospective investors including the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company Limited to avoid passing through the back door as that would not yield any valuable result. We would likewise caution the indigenous corporation and other potential investors to beware of quasi groups and commercial activists that are just out to dupe unsuspecting investors. Furthermore, we counsel the NNPC subsidiary to desist from under hand tendencies that would rather than accord it encomiums would decimate its reputation while her desires remain unmet.
“Nonetheless, we wish to use this opportunity to reaffirm for the umpteenth time that the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) is not divided but united under the leadership of Prince Biira as its President. KAGOTE, the apex Elitist social-cultural organisation of Ogoni people led by its President, Rt Hon. Emmanuel Deeyah and the Political Class led by the Distinguished Senator Barinada Mpigi, alongside the Supreme Council of Traditional Rulers of Ogoni headed by our Father and Paramount Ruler of Ogoniland, His Royal Majesty King G.N.K. Gininwa OFR JP, Gbenemene Tai Kingdom, are all recognised leadership organisations working together for the total emancipation and development of the people and we call on the people to support and cooperate with the leadership,” the statement said.