Obiajunwo Paul Port Harcourt
Belema Oil, the new oil company that wants to assume the position of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) in Ogoni land had been enjoying the support of some individuals and groups in the area. But seem that the company may witness a hitch from Ogoni Youth Foundation which has refused to endorse the company’s interest to take over from SPDC in Ogoni land.
In a recent protest’s visit to the Port Harcourt office of Vintage Press Limited, the publisher Nation Newspapers, the Ogoni youths led by its President Mr. Dowell Badom accused the new oil company of causing a fresh crisis in Ogoni communities. He alleged that the new company lacks the ability to understand the existing lingering crisis between the communities and SPDC before venturing into any agreement to take over production in the area.
Badom said, Ogoni Youth Foundation, and Ogoni Kingdom Youth Forum Chapters have refused to endorsed the new oil company to protect the people of the area from another betrayal. He noted that their refusal to endorse the new oil company will send a signal to the company and Ogoni chiefs who have hurriedly endorsed the new oil company without consulting the youth body.
He said the youths of the area would not allow any company to enter their communities in the name of any production. “Ogoni oil bearing Community Chiefs have endorse the Belema Oil without the input of the Ogoni Youth Host Communities. But we are assuring the chiefs and the new company that without proper consultations and the engagement of the Ogoni Youth Foundation, we will not allow any indigenous company to enter into our oil bearing communities.
“We have stated our positions and decisions are predicated on the fact that Belema Oil Company has no oil social license from the oil field landlords in Ogoni land. The demand for the cleanup of Ogoni land, compensation for the Ogoni people, payment of rents, royalty for 56 years of a giant oil multi-national company operating in our communities are yet to be resolved. We are using this opportunity to call on the Belema Oil Company to stop parading itself as an owner of assets in Ogoni land until the company decides to consults all stakeholders involved in the area.”
He continued that the Ogoni people are peaceful, hospitable and believe in a non-violent struggle. The youth leader also insisted that any buyer of oil blocks in Ogoni territory must engage the Ogoni Youth Foundation and relevant stakeholders.
He said the new oil company has no right of ownership to OML 11 (Oil Mining Lease 11) because the Ogoni people are the rightful owners. He said Ogoni people are expecting £18 Billion representing royalties on petroleum mining in Ogoni land since 1958, and £4 Billion compensation for environmental pollution and ecological degradation in Ogoni communities.
“These sums remain unpaid to date and we shall not renege on it at this point in our struggle. We therefore, call on the good people of Ogoni to resist any attempt to fraudulently sell Ogoni Oil through the back door.
The Ogoni Youth Foundation has supported a new lunch of National Ogoni Restoration Empowerment Program (NOREP) an initiative to provide a means of livelihood for economic empowerment to the Ogoni youths to be self employed and to develop the indigenous companies for training in the area of oil and gas.
“We call on the Federal Ministry of Petroleum, Government Oil Agencies, the Multi-National Oil Companies, to partner with the Ogoni Youth Foundation and other bodies to ensure that NOREP assist the Ogoni Youths in various skills. We also want them to provide the NOREP assisted transport services scheme as a means of empowerment to restore the livelihood of the youths to stop restiveness in our communities.”