Traditional rulers of the Ogoni ethnic nationality in Rivers State have said any planned resumption of oil exploration in the area through the back door will be resisted.
The monarchs called on the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company to approach the stakeholders in the area if it wanted to resume oil exploration in Ogoni land.
A group, the Ogoni Liberation Initiative, had led the NPDC to Ogoni land in a move to resume oil exploration in the area.
But the President, Supreme Council of Ogoni Traditional Rulers, Godwin Gininwa, in a statement disowned the OLI, saying the group was not representing the entire Ogoni people.
The statement, which was signed by the Publicity Secretary of the council, Samuel Nnee, distanced the Ogoni traditional rulers from the move to allow the NPDC to resume oil operations in the area and called on the public to avoid the declaration of the OLI.
The statement read in part, “The Supreme Council of Traditional Rulers of Ogoni has distanced itself from, and urged the Ogoni people and the general public to discountenance the reported declaration of a so-called Ogoni Liberation Initiative authorising the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company Limited to commence oil production in Ogoni without the consent and approval of the people.
“On Monday, August 23, 2021, the OLI reportedly brought the NPDC into Bori-Ogoni, having sneaked the firm through the back door into Ogoni, and authorised it to resume oil extraction in our communities, ignoring consultation and endorsement of the people.
“The President of the Supreme Council of Traditional Rulers of Ogoni and the Gbenemene Tai Kingdom, King Godwin N. K. Gininwa, said today in his palace at Korokoro Tai, ‘On behalf of the Supreme Council of Traditional Rulers of Ogoni and the entire traditional institution in Ogoni, we wish to state that we are unaware of the reported development.’”