Thousands of Ogoni youths, ex-agitators, and women took to the streets of Bori, Khana Local Government Area of Rivers State to demand the resumption of oil exploration in Ogoniland.
Speaking to newsmen during the procession, the President-General of Ogoni Youth Federation, Comrade Yamaabana Legborsi said Ogoni has set the pace for new environmental consciousness in the Niger Delta and minority rights activism.
Yamaabana said that before the advent of Ogoni struggle, the Niger Delta was like a conquered zone where IOCs and their institutional collaborators practised their obnoxious policies.
He added that the narrative has changed as a new and more intent consciousness on environmental justice has been introduced in the oil-rich region.
“It could be recalled that during of unfettered oil exploration in Ogoniland which led to the devastation of the Ogoni environment. The youths were the most affected as they were handed by the foes of Ogoni Nation. Today there is no economic activity in Ogoniland and the Ogoni Youth are totally displaced and vulnerable as a result of boredom and inactivity.
“It’s on this note that the famous Ogoni youth organization, OYF have resolved to seek legitimate means of alleviating the plight of Ogoni people and bringing a lasting solution to the unmitigated poverty ravaging Ogoniland,” he said.
The youth body resolved that:
- To call for resumption of oil exploration in Ogoniland to avail the Ogoni youth and other critical stakeholders the opportunity to benefit from their God-given treasure and natural resources
- That the Ogoni youth kick against the antics of inexperienced and portfolio carrying firms who are trying to enter Ogoni through the backdoor.
- That Ogoniland is not a dumping ground for experimentation and as such, only companies with track records in the marginal field and upstream sector, social engagement and technical capacity and effective host community relation would be allowed to prospect for oil in Ogoniland. And the process must be subjected to proper negotiation with the Youth and other stakeholders in Ogoniland.
After the assessment of all the oil prospecting companies nosing for Ogoni oil, the Ogoni Youth said that they have discovered that Belema Oil Producing Limited is the only indigenous company with a track record of social engagement, technical capacity and effective community relation.
The youth body called on Federal Government to issue Belema Oil Producing Limited the legal license to operate OML 11(Ogoni oil fields) in order to liberate Ogoni from economic strangulation.