The Movement for the Emancipation of Ogoni People, MOSOP, has given conditions for the resumption of oil production in their land.
In a statement on Wednesday, president of MOSOP, Pyagbara Legborsi said Ogonis were not opposed to resumption of oil activities, but insisted that certain things must be done before they would allow oil prospecting firms back into their territory.
The statement said: "The attention of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) has been drawn to a leaked memo in which the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari had given a directive through his Chief of Staff, Alhaji Abba Kyari, that NNPC/NPDC should take over the operatorship of the entire OML 11 from Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC).
"Ordinarily, MOSOP would not have bothered to respond to this because it has not been officially informed of the developments but for the huge implications of some of the issues raised in the said letter, which particularly, relate to resumption of oil production in OML 11.
"First, the purported letter is strewed with so much impunity as it fails to take into cognizance the history of the Ogoni Oilfields in the OML 11, in view of the roles and relationship between key stakeholders like Shell, government and the Ogoni community, which renders the entire question of successful resumption of oil production in a month’s time impossible and unacceptable.
"Second, it would be recalled that since 2012, NPDC has had the operatorship of the Ogoni oilfields under the Joint Venture Agreement. So, this new announcement makes no difference. The question would have been why was NPDC unable to enter Ogoni these years.
"Whilst MOSOP is not opposed to the issue of resumption of oil production in Ogoniland, we wish to state categorically that resumption of oil production can only take place after an acceptable and genuine broad-based discussion and consultation amongst the Ogoni people had taken place and agreements reached on issues that border on benefit-sharing arrangements for the Ogoni community; community participation in the industry and proper environmental management plan for Ogoniland. It is only when these have been done that MOSOP believes resumption of oil production can be undertaken in Ogoniland.
"We, therefore, wish to seize this moment to inform members of the Ogoni community not to be distracted by the government announcement, as it is primed to cause further crisis in the land, by putting us against one another and to give a semblance that the government was interested in the genuine resolution of the Ogoni crisis.
"It is our belief that whenever the government is interested and genuinely committed in resolving the Ogoni oil crisis, MOSOP will be ready to join them in finding solutions to ending the oil crisis in the area. At the moment, we would advice that Ogoni should not be brought in the crossfire of Shell and Nigeria government oil politics.
"MOSOP again warns any one, group or institutions pushing the cause of resumption of oil production in Ogoniland, without taking the proper and acceptable process of consultation, to consider the implications of such undertakings."