In order to put the continuous crisis surrounding the OML 11 to an end, the Ogoni People’s Assembly (OPA) has asked the Federal Government to issue the operating license of the disputed oil field to an indigenous firm known as XAVON Energy.
This was the solution OPA leader, Probel Williams proffered to put any renewed agitations to an end. He made this statement while addressing newsmen in Abuja.
Why this matters: According to Williams, the need to give the operating license of the OML11 to the indigenous firm is premised on matters of trust. He noted that as a community they have been cheated out of the benefits any thriving oil-producing community should enjoy ever since foreign oil firms exploration began in Ogoniland.
He noted that there was an extreme case of youth unemployment as well as daunting security challenges the community has been exposed to.
Williams could not hide his anger over the state of education in the area as he pointed out that only one out of the 10 secondary schools in the Khana Local Government Area, was still in operation.
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“We are of the view that much as it is the responsibility of government to address the above situations, it is our own responsibility to assist the government by supporting the utilisation of the resources in our land for the desired goal.
“The Ogoni oil fields have been abandoned for 26 years due to the intractable fight against the modus operandi of the IOCs particularly the SPDC. We have been looking forward to a day we can find a Nigerian company that understand our plight and can work with the Ogoni people. And we believe we have found such in Xavon Energy.” he said.
The Chief Executive Officer of Youth Rescue International Development Organisation, Nature Kieghe, urged the Federal Government to act fast in granting their desires as people were beginning to lose faith in them as regards the matter.
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“The next time we are going to talk about this, we will do something that will shake the whole world.” he warned
Way forward: To make their desires possible, Williams noted that the people were willing to negotiate with the Government to see that dream come true.
What you should know: OPA is a coalition of Ogoni people drawn from all strata of the society- youths, academia, elders and chiefs.
Backstory: In March 2019, the Nigerian Government directed the Nigerian National Petroleum Commission (NNPC) to take over the entire OML 11 from Shell Petroleum Development Company.
This was contained in a letter titled ‘Operatorship of Entire Oil Mining Lease 11′. OML 11 in Ogoniland is one of the most important blocks in Nigeria with 33 oil and gas fields including Bodo, Bodo West and Yorla fields.
The oil blocks have caused protracted disputes between the people of Ogoniland and Shell over the degradation of their environment by the oil giant.
The local arm of Shell, SPDC abandoned activities in the Ogoni section of the lease for about 26 years following the crisis that erupted after the killing of prominent Ogoni leaders including Ken Saro-Wiwa. In 2015, SPDC agreed to pay a settlement of $15.5 Million (N3 billion), just to resolve the case.