Ogoni: Oil Exploration May Resume
Below is an article published by AllAfrica.com:
Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State has advocated for oil companies to be allowed to resume exploration activities in Ogoni land after years of disagreement between oil majors and the people of Ogoni land.
The governor said the resumption of oil explorations in the area would make more funds available to the state government for the development of the state.
Governor Amaechi, who made the call […] while speaking at the 2009 Ogoni Day Celebration [4 January 2009], said the development challenges before the state were enormous, and that the state government needs more funds to execute people-oriented projects.
Speaking on the theme: "Ogoni After Shell", Amaechi said his administration had in the last few years been constrained to use funds from oil prospecting activities in other parts of the state to develop Ogoni land, adding that unless the Ogoni people allow oil exploration activities to resume in their area, so that more funds will be available to government, "it would be difficult to meet the needs of the people".
The governor, who sympathized with Ogoni people for the years of neglect, said it was time to turn a new page in history, seek for new ways of development and support government to succeed in its efforts to develop Ogoni communities.
"If you want us to tell the Federal Government to look for another oil company to exploit oil in the area, we will do that, but you must agree with me that time has come for us to allow oil exploration activities in the area", he said.
President of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), Ledum Mitee, said the Ogonis were using the opportunity of the celebration to commemorate the ouster of Shell from Ogoni land, saying that the Anglo-Dutch oil giant has been declared persona non-grata in Ogoni land.
He asserted that the struggle that removed Shell from Ogoni land was fought and won by the people, hence their views and opinion should count in any discussions aimed at bringing a new oil operator to Ogoni land.
Mitee also said the Ogonis would insist on the best international corporate and environmental practices possible and appealed for the state government's support in this regard.