Good day ladies and gentlemen of the press. On behalf of the National Youth Council of Ogoni People (NYCOP), Niger Delta Congress (NDC), Ogoni Youth Federation (OYF), National Union of Ogoni Students (NUOS), Ogoni Comrades and Patriots Forum (OCPF), the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) , Ogoni Liberation Initiative (OLI), Ogoni Environment Watch (OEW), Ogoni Living Martyrs (OLM), Ogoni Youth Initiative (OYI), Eleme Youth Council (EYC), Ogoni Youth Coalition Movement (OYCM), Tai Youth Assembly (TYA), Standing and Living Without Bitterness (SLWB), and the good and peace loving people of Ogoniland, we welcome you all to this press conference.
We have convened here to discuss critical issues capable of disrupting the peace of not just Ogoni, Rivers State, and the Niger Delta, but Nigeria at large. But first, a brief history.
It is on record that a large part of Ogoni history has revolved around resisting injustice in all its forms and manifestations against Ogoni people and the Niger Delta Peoples. First, against the slave raiders, then the British colonialists, then International Oil companies who in collaboration with our fellow Nigerian compatriots, for personal gain, sought to dominate and subjugate us.
In holding the social justice mirror to the Nigerian society in it’s different phases of evolution, the Ogoni people have never attempted to denigrate, dominate nor subjugate anyone or group. Neither have we set out to take what does not rightfully belong to us.
In October 1990, the Ogoni people having grown tired of enduring environmental degradation and economic and political subjugation, despite our immense contributions to the development of the Nigerian Federation, presented to our fellow countrymen and the world the Ogoni Bill of Rights which captured the hopes and aspirations of our people and became a watershed moment for oppressed groups worldwide.
Although the Rights and demands captured in the Ogoni Bill of Rights were internationally recognized rights such as the control of Ogoni affairs by Ogoni people; control and use of Ogoni economic resources for Ogoni development; adequate and direct representation as of right for Ogoni people in all Nigerian national institutions; and the right to protect the Ogoni environment and ecology from further degradation, the Nigerian government responded by unleashing on our land and people a brutal violence never before seen in Nigeria’s history since the Nigerian Civil War.
As a result of this attempt at genocide and ethnic cleansing of our people, thousands of Ogonis were displaced, many of our communities sacked and have remained sacked till date, many of our people were maimed for life, and thousands more killed, including a generation of some of the brightest minds in not just Ogoni, but the Niger Delta and Nigeria in general. All these happened without the Ogonis picking up arms or firing a single bullet.
It is important to refresh our minds with this history because over the past 24 months, as Ogoni people continue to recover from our losses in our just stand against injustice and oppression, the Nigerian Federation and its collaborators in an attempt to reenact its past onslaught on Ogoni people have set in motion sinister plans to not only deprive Ogoni people of our rights and resources, but to further subjugate us politically and economically while also sowing seeds of discord capable of disrupting the peaceful and harmonious environment in Ogoni.
Firstly, it has come to our notice that between October 2021 and September 2022, the Nigerian government began negotiations with Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPco) over the handing over of the Ogoni field in its possession, OML 11, to the Nigerian government via the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC).
At the conclusion of this negotiation which was spearheaded by the current Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike, in his then capacity as Governor of Rivers State, over $900 million, in equivalence of over N 1 trillion, was paid by Shell for the development of Ogoni in addition to handing over its assets to the NPDC.
Be that as it may, Ogoni people have not been properly informed of this fund from the appropriate quarters such as the Nigerian Government, the Rivers State Government, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPco), or former Governor Nyesom Wike who spearheaded the negotiations “on behalf” of the Ogoni people.
On the other hand, information available to us shows that over $300 million (over N360 billion) of the funds meant for the development of Ogoni has been shared amongst a few individuals with no recourse to the Ogoni people. We do not only find this insulting, we also find it inciting.
We are also aware that part of this fund have been made available to certain members of the Ogoni community via the NPDC to aid the resumption of oil exploration in Ogoniland before the end of the fourth quarter of 2024 via bribery and the factionalization of Ogoni groups with the social license to discuss these issues such as the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP), and the National Youth Council of Ogoni People (NYCOP).
The Ogoni people find the recent attempt at shortchanging and depriving our people of resources meant for our development as an affront taking into consideration the current economic and political realities of our people. And we want to state unequivocally, that Ogoni Youths are not against oil Resumption. But, we are open to honest, transparent and fruitful negotiation with Ogoni people.
According to the Multidimensional Poverty Report of 2022, Rivers South-East Senatorial District which is home to 90% of Ogoni people in Nigeria accounts for the poorest Senatorial District in Rivers State. The Ogoni people today have the least access to health facilities, the lowest life expectancy in Rivers State, and the highest unemployment rate despite having arguably the largest educated population in Rivers State. It is therefore tantamount to economic genocide the ongoing attempts to pilfer, plunder, pillage, and deprive Ogoni people of over $900 million (N1 trillion) meant for the economic development of our land and people bearing in mind the present socioeconomic realities as aptly captured by Nigeria’s own National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
We therefore use this medium to call the attention of the international community and the United Nations (UN) to the inciting actions of political actors in Nigeria capable of disrupting the peace in Ogoni.
- We call on Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPco) led by Elohor Aiboni to come public on the compensation paid for the development of Ogoni.
- We call on the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) led by Mr Mele Kyari, and the Nigeria Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) led by Mansur Sambo to come public on the compensation paid by Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPco) for Ogoni people.
- We call on the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike, to come clean on the compensation paid by Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPco) for the development of Ogoni.
- Most importantly, we call on the Nigerian President, His Excellency Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to as a matter of urgency order for an investigation into the whereabouts of the $900 million paid by Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPco) and meant for Ogoni development which has gone missing and the speedy prosecution of anyone or group found wanting in this regard.
- In conclusion, we request for an audience with the Commander in- Chief and the President of Federal Republic of Nigeria with Ogoni stakeholders and youth leaders for necessary actions to address the pertinent issues raised herein.
Long live Ogoni Kingdom.
Long live the Niger Delta peoples.
1.National Youth Council of Ogoni People (NYCOP).
Comr. Barinuazor Emmanuel- NYCOP PRESIDENT.
- Ogoni Youth Federation (OYF),
Comr. Emmanuel Goteh Bie, Acting President OYF.
- National Union of Ogoni Students (NUOS) World Wide. Comr. Nukpugi Daniel Karabari, NOUS World Wide President
- Ogoni Comrades and Patriots Forum (OCPF), Ledogo Amabu. Converter of Ogoni Patriots.
5.National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), David Bariereka, NANS National Secretary
6.Ogoni Liberation Initiative (OLI), Elder Owens Vincent, OLI National Secretary
- Niger Delta Congress (NDC), Nubari Saatah
8.Ogoni Environment Watch (OEW), Tokpa Effort Korlue
9 Ogoni Living Martyrs (OLM), Elder Nuka Kobo( Spoke man) and Elder Uebari Macus
10.Ogoni Youth Initiative (OYI), Pastor Efenyie
11.Eleme Youth Council (EYC), John Osaronu
12.Ogoni Youth Coalition Movement (OYCM), John Kpalap
- Tai Youth Assembly (TYA), Prince Akeekue
14.Standing and Living Without Bitterness (SLWB), Godswill Nwiwuga
on behalf of the good and peace loving people of Ogoniland,