The federal government has assured the people of Ogoni in Rivers State that they would be duly consulted before the resumption of oil and gas activities in Ogoniland.
President Goodluck Jonathan stated this while receiving a delegation of Ogoni traditional rulers and leaders of thought, led by the Chairman of Supreme Council of Ogoni Traditional Rulers, King Godwin Gininwa and Senator Magnus Abe.
He explained that government was yet to authorise any firm to take over from oil giant Shell in Ogoniland, adding that it would be done at the appropriate time in consultation with the people.
Speaking on behalf of the delegation, Senator Abe had said the people were not aware of the company that has taken over from oil giant, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) in the area.
“Your Excellency, you may recall that the issue of the transfer of the withdrawn Shell operatorship of Ogoni oil fields was mentioned during the meeting of Ogoni leaders with you, when you were Vice-President. Till date the Ogoni people are not aware of which company the operatorship has been transferred to” he said.
“We strongly believe that the Federal Government would consult our people in any decision to effect the transfer, and in fact, the whole issue of resumption of oil exploration in Ogoni area so as to avoid the kind of problem we had with Shell.”
The senator stated that the people of Ogoni were not only committed to the unity of Nigeria, but support moves by the federal government to actualise the great potentials of the country.
Abe said; “Even though, Ogoni has always supported the call for devolution of power to local entities to reflect true federalism upon which the Nigerian nationhood is anchored, we wish to assure you Mr. President and indeed the Nigerian people that Ogoni remains committed to the unity of the Nigerian state and that we are with Nigeria.”
“We are also asking for the economic and social integration of the Ogoni people through special development initiatives.”
While recalling the recommendation of the UN Secretary General fact-finding mission to Nigeria in respect of Ogoni in the late 90s and thanked the Federal Government for inviting UNEP to do a ground breaking scientific study of the Ogoni environment.