ONYEDI GABRIEL, Port Harcourt
The Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has arrived at Ogoni in Rivers State to begin fresh oil exploration following the Appeal Court judgement that returned Oil Mining Licence (OML) 11 located in the area to the NNPC.
NDPC, however, promised to work closely with all the stakeholders of Ogoni to develop the area.
The Managing Director of NPDC, Ali Zara, who led the team of NPDC to Bori, the traditional headquarters of Ogoni, said the firm was in solidarity with the people.
Zara regretted that Ogoni people had lived in years of economic hardship vowing that NPDC would restore the hope of the people.
He promised that the communique presented to the firm by the Ogoni Liberation Initiative (OLI) through its Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Fabeke Douglas, would be forwarded to the Federal Government for action.
Zara said: “What he (Douglas) said is what we will do in Ogoni land. I commend you for the initiative. Indeed this is a clear indication of the relationship that has existed between NPDC and Ogoni for years.
“In our part of the engagement, we can say we truly understand your concerns. Your economic loses over the years cannot be over emphasized. We will work with you to achieve our aim within the shortest possible time.
“The document (communique) would be sent to my bosses for submission to the Federal Government for onward and urgent actions.”
Earlier, Douglas had commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his commitment to resolving the Ogoni crisis.
Douglas lauded NPDC for engaging the people, noting that since 1958 the people had been under the oppression of the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC).
He urged Shell not to appeal the judgement that sacked them, adding that Ogoni people would not allow SPDC re-enter the area in any guise.
He said: “We have been able to capture the minds of Ogoni people for you (NPDC). Now we can work together to move our communities forward. Under no circumstances will Shell return to the Ogoni community, and we stand by that.
“We commend our president, President Muhammadu Buhari, for his commitment to resolve the Ogoni crisis and to deliver the people from oppressive companies.”
Douglas in a 15-point communique presented by OLI to FG called on the government and NPDC to treat Ogoni fairly.
Douglas urged NPDC to ensure that the Ogoni environment was cleaned, adding that the people had experienced decades of environmental degredation.