(Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria) A Coalition of youth groups and other Organizations in Ogoniland, an oil producing Community in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria has called on the Country`s President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to probe the alleged payment of monies meant for Ogoni development by the Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company, SNEPco, to the Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Chief Nyesom Wike.
The Coalition which was formed by the President of Ogoni Liberation Initiative and African Coordinator of the United Mission For Rural and Urban African Community Empowerment, Dr Douglas Fabeke made the call on January 13, 2024 at a joint townhall meeting in their hometown, Bori Khana Local Government Area of Rivers State.
Comrade Barinuazor Emmanuel, the leader of the National Youth Council of Ogoni People, NYCOP which is one of the major Youth Groups in the Area, while reading out a communique signed by the coalition, said the $900 million equivalent to 1trillion Naira was meant for settlement of Ogonis between October 2021 and September 2022, over the divestment of Oil Mining Lease (OML11) to the Nigerian government by Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPco) and the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited, NNPCL.
He said the probe became necessary as the Ogoni people have not been briefed on how the money was accessed or expended.
He said: “It has come to our notice that between October 2021 and September 2022, the Nigerian government began negotiations with Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPco) over the handing over of the Ogoni field in its possession, OML 11, to the Nigerian government via the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC).
“At the conclusion of this negotiation which was spearheaded by the current Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike, in his then capacity as Governor of Rivers State, over $900 million, in equivalence of over N1 trillion, was paid by Shell for the development of Ogoni in addition to handing over its assets to the NPDC.
“Be that as it may, Ogoni people have not been properly informed of this fund from the appropriate quarters such as the Nigerian Government, the Rivers State Government, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPco), or former Governor Nyesom Wike who spearheaded the negotiations “on behalf” of the Ogoni people.
” On the other hand, information available to us shows that over $300 million (over N360 billion) of the funds meant for the development of Ogoni has been shared amongst a few individuals with no recourse to the Ogoni people. We do not only find this insulting; we also find it inciting.
“We are also aware that part of this fund has been made available to certain members of the Ogoni community via the NPDC to aid the resumption of oil exploration in Ogoniland before the end of the fourth quarter of 2024 via bribery and the fictionalization of Ogoni groups with the social license to discuss these issues such as the Movement for the Survival of 0goni People (MOSOP), and the National Youth Council of Ogoni People (NYCOP)”.
The Ogoni youths said it is tantamount to economic genocide the ongoing attempts by some persons to plunder and deprive Ogoni people of over $900 million (N1 trillion) meant for the economic development of the area bearing in mind the present socio-economic realities and called on the international community and the United Nations (UN) to take notice of the inciting actions of political actors in Nigeria capable of disrupting the peace in Ogoni.
The groups demanded that, “Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPco) led by Elohor Aiboni should come public on the compensation paid for the development of Ogoni.
“The Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) led by Mr Mele Kyari and the Nigeria Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) led by Mansur Sambo to come public on the compensation paid by Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPco) for Ogoni people.
“The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike, to come clean on the compensation paid by Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPco) for the development of Ogoni.
“Most importantly, we call on the Nigerian President, His Excellency Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to as a matter of urgency order for an investigation into the whereabouts of the $900 million paid by Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPco) and meant for Ogoni development which has gone missing and the speedy prosecution of anyone or group found wanting in this regard”.
The youths threatened to go on massive protest if their demands are not swiftly adhered to.
On his part, President of Ogoni Liberation Initiative and African Coordinator of the United Mission For Rural and Urban African Community Empowerment, Dr Douglas Fabeke insisted that for any resumption of oil to take place in Ogoniland, there must be equitable settlement and negotiation between the people and the parties.
“We are not saying no to oil resumption but there is damage that has been done to the land between 1958 to 1993 when oil exploration took place on the land and nothing was gotten in return so we are asking the government to pay us compensation before we enter into negotiation.
“We are also talking about a review of the Ogoni Clean up exercise. We discover a document that between 2016 to 2017 over $366 million was spent and nothing to is on ground, we have on records also, that the Federal Executive Council has approved several billions for the project so we are asking the Federal Government to review all these projects because some don’t meet the standards,” he said.
He said the meeting has availed Ogonis the opportunity to speak with one voice on issues concerning them.
This publication reports that over 15 Ogoni groups came together to make the demands.
Name: Nep-Phil Limited
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