Stakeholders and opinion leaders in the Ogoni ethnic nationality of Rivers State have decided for a broad-based meeting to address the resurgence of cult-related killings and the visit of Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), to their area without official notice to the leaders.
Also, the leaders of Ogoni have regretted the visit of NPDC and vowed that no company would resume oil business in the area without due consultations with the natives.
President of KAGOTE, Emmanuel Deeyah, expressed this in Port Harcourt, at weekend, regretting that NPDC, a subsidiary of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), would visit Ogoni without going through the right channel.
Deeyah also regretted the recent cult activities that had claimed many lives in the area and called on security operatives to arrest and prosecute any cultist caught with a fireman in Ogoni.
He said: “Lately, in Ogoniland, we have had this issue of cult-related killings. So, we have come to say enough is enough. We are talking with the relevant security agencies so that henceforth, anyone caught shooting even crackers, should visit such person with the full weight of the law. They should do everything within their powers to apprehend such persons.”
Deeyah said, while the people were pondering on how to tackle insecurity in the area, that they were again inundated with the report of the visit of NPDC on their planned resumption of oil mining in Ogoni.
KAGOTE president said any company that intends to explore oil in the area must meet with critical stakeholders, chiefs and opinion leaders in Ogoniland.
He added that Ogoni was not ready to make the same mistakes it made in the era of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC).
Deeyah said: “The truth about it is that nobody in Ogoni owns the means of the facility to mine oil. We belong to the federation, that is, Nigeria, and we are also bound by the laws of the country.
“We can’t decide which company comes and which will not come. But we have a long history when it comes to oil exploration. We have lost our bests and there has been killings and all kind of things and we believe that such a process if the government is actually desirous of mining oil in Ogoniland, should consult. There should be a process dialogue with the people.
“We have our son, Senator Magnus Abe, who is on the board of NNPC, the parent company of NPDC. He is not in the picture of this development. We also have Senator Barry Mpigi, also an indigene and others; they are not in the picture of this development.
“Those people who claim to come from NPDC, do they actually come from Nigeria? Don’t they come from places? We even have a local government chairman on the ground. We have never heard that any of the council chairmen were involved in any of those processes.”
He disowned Ogoni Liberation Initiative (OLI), the organisation that championed the visit of NPDC, stating that the body does not have the mandate to speak for Ogoni people.
He said: “I would like to say that the OLI as they call them, don’t have the legitimate mandate to invite any group to come and mine oil in Ogoniland, and we want to say to them that, henceforth, they should stop all such activities.
“In the next few days, we are going to call a broad-based meeting of Ogoni people, so that we chart the way forward. It is in that meeting we are going to agree on what we expect.
“We rejected Shell, so if another organisation is going to come, we should know what other things they are going to do better than Shell.”