I will prefer to commence this discourse from the conclusions. Death, Shell and the NPDC mean the same thing for the Ogoni people.
In over 50 years, Shell has left Ogoni terribly battered. But they have not acted alone. They have been supported by unfair laws and policies of the Nigerian state under various regimes. The result has just been the same for the Ogoni – discrimination, trauma, death and sustained oppression.
Very recently, the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) which is the drilling arm of state-owned NNPC has made back-door moves to re-enter Ogoniland. As usual, members of this group will consult government appointed chiefs and politicians, all of them claiming legitimacy to speak for the Ogoni people. The NPDC is seemingly attempting to replicate the 1994 Giokoo saga. The ultimate aim is to weaken the Ogoni resolve to resist any re-entry programme that will see to the commencement of oil drilling operations.
It is worthy of note that no effort of government to resolve the Ogoni problem had been honest to serve the people’s interest. From the Fr Kukah’s (Now Bishop) committee, the peace committee that Saro-Wiwa dumped during the attacks on Ogonis from neighboring communities in the early 1990s, the Shell’s Ogoni re-entry plan and lately, the Ogoni cleanup. All have directly or indirectly been beclouded with secret intents and somewhat deceptive, ostensibly targeting the Ogoni oil.
It is disheartening that the Nigerian state will once again launch a conscienceless attack on the Ogoni people through the maneuvers of the NPDC to re-enter Ogoniland.
Ogoni today is strongly discriminated against in Nigeria. Without a right to participate in Nigeria’s political system as a distinct ethnic group. Without economic and cultural rights to develop within Nigeria’s democratic system as Ogoni people.
Despite cutting off oil supply to Nigeria in 1993, Ogoni still generates more revenue than 25 Nigerian states through the two seaports, two refineries and a petro-chemical complex located within its territory.
The revenues generated from Ogoniland is used to fund the poor and largely unproductive states of the major ethnic groups in Nigeria while Ogoni continues to suffocate without a right to self determination.
In the midst of all these, the only thing the Nigerian drilling company, NPDC, is negotiating is the Ogoni oil. This is a shame for a company that should know that the Nigerian State, its owner, are the same who approved the hanging of Ken Saro-Wiwa in 1995, funded the killing of over 3,000 Ogonis between 1993 and 1999 and we cannot pretend to have forgotten this ugly past.
If the NPDC can act so callously in the present circumstance, then they could be worse than Shell in sustaining the genocide against the Ogoni people.
While the NPDC wants to further dehumanize our people, insult our collective dignity by its desperation for our oil, the same discriminatory laws that allows massive pollution in Nigeria without any punishment, the unfair use of Ogoni resources with nothing put back into the land and the non-recognition of the rights of the Ogoni people to self determination and a descent living are still strongly upheld in Nigeria.
Death, NPDC and Shell still mean the same thing for the oppressed Ogoni people of Southern Nigeria and the NPDC should simply know that Ogoni rejects her in totality.
The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People(MOSOP)
9 Justice Mary Odili Street
off Ken Saro-Wiwa Road(formerly Liberation Stadium Road)
500101 Port Harcourt
SOURCE :The Nigerian Voice (opinions)