Oil companies have been accused of scheming to derail the implementation of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report on Ogoniland.
The Ogoni clean-up process was launched by President Muhammadu Buhari on June 2, 2016.
The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) which made the accusation also urged security agencies to tackle growing insecurity in the area due to small arms proliferation, drug abuse and alleged expansionist tendencies of some ethnic groups in Rivers State.
In the meantime , the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) which at the weekend raised ‘Aaron Team Two,’ that includes wanted former militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo alias Tompolo, to discuss with the government to resolve the ongoing crisis in the region, has questioned the need for negotiations with insurgents of the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA).
Also, the Ijaw People Development Initiative has blamed the emergence of NDA on President Buhari’s marginalization, ethnic bigotry and anti-South South policies.
The reason MEND gave is that NDA “are criminals, who had been holding the Federal Government to ransom and forcing concessions.”
The alarm about the alleged plan for derailment of the clean-up process was raised by MOSOP president, Legborsi Saro Pyagbara, and secretary Anthony Mbaa Porole, after a special Ogoni congress at the Peace and Freedom Centre, Bori, Rivers State at the weekend.
They noted with dismay the re-introduction of the controversial issue of restarting of oil production in Ogoniland by the Nigeria Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) at a time its people and indeed the entire global community is expecting the Federal Government to move with some deliberate speed in the implementation of the monumental remediation and restoration of the area’s already over-polluted environment
“Congress alerted that the present attempt may be a ploy by Shell Petroleum Development Company Limited (SPDC) and the Nigeria Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) both of whom are joint venture partners, to cause division amongst Ogoni people and derail the Ogoni environmental remediation and restoration process,” they said.
Although it thanked Buhari for the clean-up, MOSOP, however, noted with concern the apparent slow pace of the implementation process.
Condemning the state of insecurity in the area, the congress decried spate of killings, kidnapping and insecurity in the area, particularly the latest invasion of some Ogoni communities by their neighbours.
MOSOP called on government to provide necessary logistics and machinery for security agencies to respond appropriately to the situation.
It commended the Rivers state government for renaming the state polytechnic Ken Saro-Wiwa Polytechnic, Bori but asked that it should upgrade the institution to become degree-awarding.”
MEND’s primary reason for its misgivings about government negotiating with NDA is that such talks could lead to the emergence of several other militant groups in the region as NDA was engaged in militancy allegedly for their own personal aggrandizement.
In a statement by its spokesman, Jomo Gbomo, MEND said negotiations with NDA could be a temporary respite, as another opportunistic group is lurking in the shadows, even as it admitted that “dialogue and resolution of the Niger Delta question will be a sustainable solution for all stakeholders.
“MEND is not opposed to government’s plan to negotiate with the recalcitrant NDA through the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA). Government must, however, not delude itself into thinking that negotiation with the NDA was tied to the resolution of the Niger Delta question.”
According to IPDI’s Austin Ozobo:”In recent times government public comments have been so inflammatory and inciting, such as the Vice president, Yemi Osinbajo engaging in the usual blame -game few days ago when he accused past governments for the present woes of the region and Avengers of being pocket warriors.
“We recollect vividly how former president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, carried out several pro-northern policies and projects, even to the detriment of his southern region, while , sadly the only visible project we can link to the former president that would have helped in the rapid growth of riverine part of the region, is the Nigeria Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Delta state, became the first casualty of Buhari’s open hatred towards our people.”