PORT HARCOURT:- A large number of protesters from oil ravaged Ogoni, Rivers State, yesterday, besieged the Port Harcourt zonal office of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, demanding a halt to perceived approval for resumption of oil exploration in Ogoniland.
The protesters, including hundreds of members of Ken Saro-Wiwa Associates, KSA and other Ogoni indigenes, at dawn, barricaded the gates of NNPC Port Harcourt zonal office, which also hosts the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR and Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, NPDC, insisting on being heard by management of the corporation.
Presenting their grievances in a petition to the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, leader of the protest and Coordinator, Ken Saro-Wiwa Associates, Chief Gani Topba, said that the people came out to express total rejection of the move by the NNPC.
Topba condemned alleged issuance of licence to operate OML11 in Ogoni, last operated by Shell, to one Robo Michael Limited to resume exploration in Ogoniland, calling for the sack of the GMD for the attempt to ignite fresh crisis in the area.
He said: “The Ogoni people have come out in their numbers to register their anger to government for urgent resolution of this matter. In 2012, NNPC had an agreement with Shell on OML11 and Shell said they had transferred OML11 licence to NNPC.
“In 2017, NNPC through NPDC issued a legal licence to Robo Michael and we wrote the Senate, House of Representatives, security agencies, sounding it clear that we want that decision reversed before January 4.
” “If they do that, we will mobilise our people to NNPC tower in Abuja for a bigger protest so that the International community will know we are peaceful in our agitations. Over 20 years ago, our people evicted Shell from Ogoni but today, NNPC, Shell and Robo Michael want to pass through the back door to resume operation in Ogoniland. It will not work.
“What we are demanding is that the licence issued to Robo Michael to operate OML11 be retrieved. We want President Muhammadu Buhari to revoke Shell Licence on OML11. He should also sack the NNPC GMD because he has done what is capable of igniting crisis in Ogoni.
“There is genocide in Ogoni, because our waters have been destroyed. The UNEP report has been abandoned. The highest event we have today is burial. We are demanding that every Ogoni son in the Governing Council has Board of Trustee of the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project, HYPREP, resign within 14 days.
” A management representative of NNPC in Port Harcourt, who received the protest letter from the protesters, simply identified as Engr. Bob-Manuel promised that the issues raised will be communicated to the head office in Abuja immediately.