People & Money

MOSOP Vows to Block Resumption of Oil Exploration in Ogoniland

The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People, MOSOP, on Monday vowed not to allow the resumption of oil exploration in Ogoniland until the Federal Government exonerates its founder, Late Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogoni sons of crime pressed against them for which they were executed.

The rights activist and writer was executed on November 10, 1995, by the military regime of the late maximum ruler, Sani Abacha, which accused 54-year-old Saro-Wiwa and others of being responsible for the murder of five Ogoni chiefs at a pro-government meeting.

Saro-Wiwa and his kinsmen, who became popularly known as the Ogoni Nine, were sentenced to death by a special military tribunal set up by Abacha who later died in June 1998 inside the presidential villa under mysterious circumstances.

At a media briefing on the 25th Memorial of Ogoni Martyrs by its Coordinating Committee in Port Harcourt, MOSOP declared that oil exploration would only be allowed in the area if Wiwa and others were cleared of the criminal charge against them. It also called on the Federal Government to speed up the clean-up of the devastated Ogoni environment.

MOSOP went on to demand a stop on the construction of a Federal Prison and Cemetery in Ogoniland, noting that the projects were targeted at denigrating the area. Ogoniland is a part of Rivers State.

Also Read: Oil Exploration to Recommence in the Chad Basin-Timipre Sylva

The leader of the Coordinating Committee for the 25 Remembrance of the nine Ogoni sons, Dr. Gbeneme Kpae, who spoke on their behalf, accused the Federal Government of not consulting the Ogoni people before siting the two projects in the area: cemetery and prison, insisting that the natives need justice and industries.

Kpae said: “We call on the Federal Government to stop the construction of a Federal Government Prison and Cemetery in Ogoni as we have been informed that the prison is to lock up Ogonis who demand justice, and the cemetery is for mass graves for Ogonis who oppose the resumption of oil drilling in Ogoni. 

Also Read: New Anyala-Madu Oilfields to Increase Nigeria’s Crude Production by 60,000 barrels

“The Ogonis wish to remind all Nigerians and the international community that we will continue to oppose oil exploration and exploitation in Ogoni until Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogoni activists are exonerated, and the clean-up of Ogoniland is completed as recommended by the United Nations.

“Twenty-five years after the execution of our heroes, the Ogoni people want to breathe fresh air now. What Ogoni people want is justice, fairness, and equity,” MOSOP insisted.

Also speaking, a member of the committee, Mr. Celestine Akpobari alleged that the Federal Government has a sinister motive for siting the prison and cemetery in the area.

He maintained that the Ogoni people are rather in dire need of the execution of developmental projects to create job opportunities for the teeming unemployed youths to curb restiveness in the land. 

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