By Kingsley Chukwuka
The Ogoni community in Rivers State, has urged the Federal Government and Shell petroleum to pay compensation to cushion the effect of land degradation and pollution caused by oil exploration over the years.
The call was made on Tuesday during a town hall meeting held in Ogoni land to demand the rights of the oil communities as enshrined in the Ogoni bill of rights.
Speaking on behalf of the Ogoni people, Dr. Fabeke Douglas who rode on the Platform of the Ogoni Liberation Initiative (OLI), decried the high level of political manipulation and marginalisation which the Ogoni people have experienced over the years, cumulating into crippling of Ogoni economic value system and growth.
Febeke said Ogoni people have been cheated by the government and oil Multinationals, especially Shell Petroleum, saying that royalties belonging to host communities have been hijacked.
“Our resources have not transformed the life of the people who own and suffer the negative impacts of the oil business. Ogoniland has contributed billions of dollars to the Nigerian economy, yet we have been marginalised, neglected and silenced, the hope of oil bearing communities have not been looked into.
“Over the years, Ogoni people have protested against these injustices, many were unjustly murdered including late Ken Saro Wiwa and others and there has been no positive response”.
Febeke called on the government to urgently and sincerely move into settling the issues of Ogoni people through a model presented by the Ogoni Liberation Initiative.
OLI rejected the claim by Rivers State Government to have acquired the Operatorship of OML-11. Describing it as another attempt to further enslave and impoverish Ogoni people. OLI have appealed the matter Febeke said.
Our correspondent reports that the vision of OLI is to bring an end to decades of environmental degradation and economic strangulation and indeed, all forms of crisis in Ogoniland.
The OLI President however said to achieve these objectives, his organisation has conducted a thorough research and then developed community based people oriented projects which cut across all sectors of the Ogoni economy.
“I called on all stakeholders and well meaning sons and daughters of Ogoniland to join hands and unite under the Ogoni Liberation Initiative to bring lasting and sustainable solutions to our long time pain and suffering”, Febeke said.