NIGERIAN National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) subsidiary – the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) – subsidiary is back in Ogoni, Rivers State, to resume oil exploration.
The development followed an Appeal Court judgment returning the Oil Mining Licence (OML) 11 located in the area to the oil giant.
It also came in the wake of a vow by Ogoni leaders not to allow the return of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) to their domain for oil exploration.
The NDPC, through its Managing Director Ali Zara, promised to work with all Ogoni stakeholders to develop the area.
Zara led a team of the NPDC to Bori, Ogoni’s traditional headquarters. He pledged the firm’s solidarity with the people, regretting that they had lived in years of economic hardship.
According to him, the communique presented to the firm by the Ogoni Liberation Initiative (OLI) through its Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Fabeke Douglas, would be forwarded to the Federal Government for action.
Zara said: “What he (Douglas) said is what we will do in Ogoni land. I commend you for the initiative. Indeed this is a clear indication of the relationship that has existed between NPDC and Ogoni for years.
“In our part engagement, we can say we truly understand your concerns. Your economic loses over the years cannot be over emphasized. We will work with you to achieve our aim within the shortest possible time.
“The document (communique) would be sent to my bosses for submission to the Federal Government for onward and urgent actions.”
Douglas, who commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his commitment to resolving the Ogoni crisis, also lauded the NPDC for engaging the people, noting that since 1958, the people had been under the oppression of the SPDC.
He advised the Royal Dutch oil giant against appealing the judgment that dispossessed it of the oil block, adding that Ogoni people would not allow SPDC to return to their land under any guise.
He said: “We have been able to capture the minds of Ogoni people for you (NPDC). Now we can work together to move our communities forward. Under no circumstances will Shell return to Ogoni community, and we stand by that.
“We commend our president, President Muhammadu Buhari, for his commitment to resolve Ogoni crisis and to deliver the people from oppressive companies.”
In a 15-point communique presented by OLI to the NPDC team, Douglas demanded fair treatment for the Ogoni.
He urged the NPDC to ensure the clean-up of the Ogoni environment, which according to him, has suffered degradation over the years.
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