Group Urges FG, IOCs to Halt Oil Exploration in Ogoni

Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt

Following the alleged continuous pollution of Ogoni land by oil exploration activities, a group, Lekeh Development Foundation, has called on the government and international companies to stop all forms of oil exploration in the area.

Executive Director of Lekeh Development Foundation, Friday Nbani, during a road walk to mark January 4 Ogoni Day in Bori, Khana Local Government Area,  said several years of oil exploration in the area had done a lot of damage to the area and the Niger Delta region.
He said agriculture had been rendered useless because of pollution, while life expectancy had also  reduced, demanding an end to fossil fuel in the Niger Delta region.

“As an organisation that is focused on climate justice, livelihoods supports and human right, we are using this medium to demand the phasing out of fossil fuels in Niger Delta region. We are asking that there should not be  funding for fossil fuels anymore.

“We demand that Ogoni oil should be left in the ground. Ogoni oil should be left in the ground because in those days, our fathers and mothers could cultivate tangible cassava from a small portion of land for survival and the income from fishing was also tangible.

“But today, it is difficult to get income from agriculture in Ogoni land and that’s why we are demanding that Ogoni oil should be left in the ground,” he said.
He also urged the government to transit to renewable energy which is more friendly to the environment.

“The continuous gas flaring and oil spill in the area is unbearable as oil companies and the government seems not to care that people are living in those areas.
“Countries like United Kingdom will soon stop depending on fossil fuels but about 80 per cent of Nigeria’s revenue is from fossil fuel generation and we say enough is enough, it’s time to transit from fossil fuel to renewable energy which is friendly to the environment and human health.

“Again, if you research, you would see that Ogoni region and the Niger Delta is one of the most polluted regions in the world and also, the life expectancy of the region has reduced to 41 years, which is different from life expectancy in other parts of Nigeria and other countries,” he added.
Nbani pointed out that what led to the hanging of Ken Saro-Wiwa and the eight other Ogonis haspd not been totally achieved even though he admitted little success.

“What our leaders died for is still in the struggle as it has not been totally achieved but for the fact that we have a voice now, we have little success but that of environmental justice is what we are still pushing and I believe with the younger generation, we can get it peacefully,” he said.
On the significance of the day to the Ogoni people, the environment rights activist said it is a day set aside by the Ogonis to celebrate their freedom from the oppressors.

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