Chibisi Ohakah, Abuja
Movement for Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) has blamed Nigerian government’s poor management of the Ogoni crises for the loss of over $178.85 billion since 1993.
Established in 1990, MOSOP began campaigning for greater control over oil and gas resources in Ogoniland, near Port Harcourt in the oil rich Niger Delta of Nigeria, for economic development, and autonomy over their affairs.
MOSOP’s demands were summarized in their 1990 ‘Ogoni Bill of Rights’, which were mostly of a political nature and addressed to the Nigerian Government. By November 1992, MOSOP was also demanding US$6 billion in royalties from past oil production and US$4 billion for alleged environmental damage, and SPDC was given 30 days to accept or leave Ogoni land.
SPDC stopped production in Ogoni land and hastily withdrew from the area in 1993 after violence against staff and action targeting Shell facilities. Violence in Ogoni land continued, and in May 1994 four prominent Ogoni leaders were murdered by a mob.
The then president of MOSOP, Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight others were accused of complicity in the murders, tried by military tribunal in 1995, found guilty and executed.
In a statement in Port Harcourt on Wednesday, factional President of MOSOP, Fegalo Nsuke, in equated the revenue loss to an estimated N72 trillion, saying it “represents oil revenue alone as revenue losses from gas are inestimable due to non-availability of statistical evidence.”
Nsuke said that Ogoni gas potentials and revenue generation capacity far exceeded that of its oil. Addressing MOSOP Congress in Bera, Gokana local government area of the state, the MOSOP president accused the federal governed of mismanaging the Ogoni crisis, hence the huge financial losses.
He said: “Based on available evidence from the oil industry, Ogoni oil production stood at 350,000 barrels per day before the exit of Shell in 1993. At an estimated average $50 per barrel, Nigeria has lost some $178.85 billion for mismanagement of the Ogoni crisis.
“Rather than listen and engage with the people, those who managed the country opted for repressive approach of killing, maiming and torturing, thus exacerbated and prolonged the conflicts.
“We urge Nigeria to accept the offers by MOSOP for implementation of an Ogoni Development Authority to pave way for peaceful resolution of the conflict.
“The continual delay by relevant agencies of government to accept the Ogoni demands and reach a deal with the Ogoni people does not only amount to economic sabotage but represents a threat to the security of the country.
“Money runs the government and so when those in government fail to take advantage of opportunities to resolve issues that affect the national economy, it does not only amount to sabotaging the economy but is also a threat to national security.
“The inability of decision makers to peacefully resolve the Ogoni crises in over 28 years leading to the loss of over $178 billion amounts to sabotaging the economy and national security.”
He told his kinsmen that the group’s commitment to Ogoniland development is unshaken, and urged them to remain peaceful as the leadership of the movement is committed and will continue to push forward the proposals for a peaceful resolution of the conflicts and the vision of the struggle.