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‘Why we will never allow firm to resume oil production’

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The National Coordinator of Ken Saro-Wiwa Associates, Chief Gani Topba, has disclosed why Ogoni people will never allow Robo-Michael Ltd to resume oil production in Ogoniland’s four local governments of Khana, Gokana, Tai and Eleme.

He accused the oil company of lack of capacity, while its association with Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) and Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), the oil production arm of Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC), would be to its disadvantage. Topba said SPDC would not be allowed to return to Ogoni through the backdoor.

He spoke yesterday at a thanksgiving service at Calvary Army Ministry International (Emmanuel’s Ground) headquarters, at his Zaakpon-Ogoni hometown in Khana Local Government of Rivers State on the group’s protest against Robo-Michael Ltd at NNPC headquarters in Abuja on January 4, which coincided with Ogoni Day.

The officiating minister, Pastor Fred Egarakam, hailed Ken Saro-Wiwa Associates for the just cause and for the intellectual fight to end injustice and neglect in Ogoniland, urging the members and other Ogoni people to put God first and continue their non-violent struggle.

SPDC was sent packing from Ogoniland in 1993, while a renowned environmentalist, Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogoni activists, were hanged at the Port Harcourt Prisons on November 10, 1995, during the regime of the late Gen. Sani Abacha.

Topba said: “Some people, who were given money by Robo-Michael Ltd, made attempts to sabotage the process. They did not want the January 4 protest at NNPC headquarters in Abuja to hold, but to the glory of God, the protest was successful. Over 150 Ogoni people, who travelled to Abuja for the protest, are back in Ogoniland. That’s why we are thanking God.

“Robo-Michael has operatorship for Shell and NPDC. The firm was not given licence for Oil Mining Lease (OML)-11. It was a fraud to deceive Ogoni people and it will be cancelled by the Federal Government. We want an oil company with capacity to resume oil production in Ogoni, but not Robo-Michael, SPDC or NPDC.

“Shell’s licence in Ogoni’s OML-11 will expire next year. The oil company (SPDC) cannot return to Ogoni through the backdoor, after polluting Ogoni environment since 1958, when it began oil production in Ogoniland. The pollution is yet to be cleaned and Ogoni people are suffering, they lack drinking water, the air is polluted and the people can no longer farm or fish. We are continuing with our local and international campaigns against Shell, Robo-Michael and NPDC.”

The national coordinator said security agents were no longer the enemies of Ogoni people, considering the support received and understanding displayed on January 4 by fully-armed security personnel at NNPC headquarters in Abuja, who had Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) and patrol vans, but never harassed Ogoni protesters.

He noted that he and other members of the group depended on God, declaring that nothing would stop their non-violent struggle for justice and fairness.

Topba said: “If SPDC does not apologise to Ogoni people, it cannot penetrate Ogoniland. Robo-Michael Ltd cannot tap Ogoni oil, because the oil company does not have capacity. Ogoni oil is not a curse, but a blessing. Powers of darkness have turned the crude into a curse. God will deliver Ogoni people and Ogoniland. Nobody can deceive us anymore.

“We will continue to move round Ogoni villages for enlightenment, for the people to kick against saboteurs, who may want to cheat or deceive them. We will go to churches in Ogoniland, so that devilish people will not control Ogoni people and Ogoniland.”

He said in the next two weeks, 150 Ogoni women would each be empowered with N50,000 through a microfinance bank, which would be repaid, to enable other women benefit, while 15 Ogoni students in each of the six kingdoms would each be given N10,000 as bursary, through the National Union of Ogoni Students, to support their education, with 15 youths in each of the kingdoms to also benefit from empowerment and skills’ acquisition programmes.

Topba warned them against cultism.

SOURCE

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