By Samuel Oyadongha & Davies Iheamnachor
PORT HARCOURT— The Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People, MOSOP, yesterday claimed that the alleged move by the Federal Government to resume oil exploration in Ogoniland was a plot to frustrate the clean-up process in the area.
This came as Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, said it would continue to undertake initiatives to prevent and minimise spills caused by theft and sabotage of its facilities in the Niger Delta region.
MOSOP, in a statement in Port Harcourt by its Publicity Secretary, Fegalo Nsuke, noted that the statement issued by the government about the approval of the leaders for resumption of oil activities in the area showed insincerity on the side of government.
Nsuke said: “MOSOP wishes to make some clarifications on the misrepresentations in an invitation letter from the petroleum ministry for a stakeholder meeting with the minister of state for petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, on Monday 9th July. Whereas the invitation letter referred to an earlier agreement for oil exploration resumption and the Ogoni cleanup to run simultaneously, we want to state emphatically that we had no such agreement with the minister.
“We consider the comment on oil exploration resumption in Ogoniland not only as a deliberate ploy to frustrate the focus of our petition to the minister but a mischievous means to delay the process of restoring our polluted environment. We note our disapproval and disappointment in this statement as it clearly indicates the dishonesty of government and questions the integrity of the Ibe Kachikwu-led process.”
Nsuke noted that the meeting with Kachikwu was based on their petition complaining about the constant harassment of the Ogoni people by some oil industry actors notably Robo Michael Limited, and Belema Oil Producing Limited.
“The misrepresentations in the invitation letter are therefore not only deceitful, they are a deliberate and mischievous attempt to incite the people against the leadership of MOSOP. After a thorough assessment of the situation, MOSOP has decided to dissociate itself from the meeting of July 9, 2018 as the manipulations to favour oil exploration resumption in Ogoniland dents the credibility and integrity of the entire process,” he added.
SPDC on oil spill
For SPDC, its Spokesperson, Mr. Joseph Obari at a briefing in Beyalsa State, said: “Although there has been no damage to key oil and gas infrastructure caused by militant activity since November 2016, the security situation remains volatile in the region. Operations at the SPDC JV’s Forcados Oil Terminal (FOT) were disrupted until late May 2017 while repairs to the export line were completed after three sabotage incidents in 2016. This resulted in loss of revenue, particularly for domestic producers who rely on the FOT for export.
“Facilities operated by both indigenous oil and gas companies continue to be vandalised by attacks and other illegal activities such as crude oil theft which led to lower oil and gas production in 2016 particularly for indigenous producers and incidents of environmental contamination.”