Ogoni: MOSOP Protests Against Plans for Further Oil Exploration in Niger Delta
Photo Courtesy of: The Lens 2016
During the weekend [25-26 June 2016], the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) and its youth wing, the National Council of Ogoni People, protested in Port Harcourt against the alleged resumption of oil exploration in Nigeria’s Niger Delta region. This renewed interest in exploration activities seems all the more bizarre, as it was only recently that the Federal Government had commenced the clean-up of oil-related pollution and environmental degradation in Ogoniland – a measure which has been a long time coming and was therefore widely applauded by the MOSOP leadership. Meanwhile, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo acknowledged the severity of the situation in Ogoniland and reiterated the current administration’s commitment to cleaning up more than half a century of contamination.
Below is an article published by The Tide:
The Movement for the Survival of Ogoni people (MOSOP) has staged a peaceful protest in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, over alleged plan by an oil firm to commence fresh oil exploration in Ogoniland.
MOSOP, through its youth wing, the National Youth Council of the Ogoni People (NYCOP), barricaded the entrance of Novotel Hotel in Port Harcourt, where some officials of the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) and some Ogoni persons attempted to hold a workshop last week. The placard-carrying protesters sang solidarity songs, and prevented vehicles and visitors from entering or leaving the premises of the hotel.
The Tide learnt that MOSOP had a few days ago alerted the nation that an oil firm (NPDC) officials were conniving with some faceless stakeholders from Ogoni in a plot to start oil exploration in the area.
The movement had threatened to carry out protest against the move, noting that the plan which was unacceptable to it was coming at a time Ogoniland was at a point of being cleaned up after decades of oil pollution.
The movement wondered why the oil company in collaboration with some persons from Ogoniland should be in a rush to start oil exploration when the project to clean up the area was in its start-up phase.
MOSOP warned those involved in the unpopular plot to desist, saying they would be held responsible over any negative consequences that might arise as a result of their plot.
It commended the efforts of the present administration regarding the Ogoniland clean-up programme and stressed that it would continue to support the project in the interest of Ogoni people who had suffered various sorts of hazards as a result of the oil pollution in the area.
Meanwhile, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo on Friday restated the determination of the Federal Government to clean up Ogoniland, as well as other areas of the Niger Delta affected by oil pollution, but stressed the need for peace in the area to properly execute the project.
Osinbajo said this while receiving a delegation of the Deeper Christian Life Church, led by General Superintendent Pastor William Kumuyi, at the Presidential Villa in Abuja. He said that the clean-up will take decades, but with the phased implementation, people of the area could gradually return to fishing and farming.
“The clean-up of Ogoniland is very important, the situation is very bad. I have been in the area a few times, but we need peace in the area to be able to carry on with the clean-up exercise,’ the Vice-President said.