The Conscience of Ogoni People (COOP – formerly known as Ken SaroWiwa Associates) has called on the newly appointed Managing Director of the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company Limited (NPDC) Engr Mansur Sambo to engage stakeholders for a smooth re-entry into OML 11.
COOP said it is committed to the resolution of the decades of stalemate between the Ogoni people and the Federal Government of Nigeria over social, economic and environmental injustice, which till date have generated a lot of international concerns, leading to the shut-down of oil and gas operations in Ogoniland for upwards of 26 years since the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) was declared persona non grata in 1993.
According to the group, COOP wishes to seize this medium to congratulate you on your well-deserved appointment as the Managing Director (MD) of the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC). COOP also wishes to thank Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for finding you worthy of appointment to this important office.
You are not new to the NNPC. You rose through the ranks in the NNPC to become the Group General Manager (GGM)/STA to the Group Managing Director (GMD) of the NNPC. We, therefore, have no doubt in our minds that you will bring your wealth of experience in the oil and gas industry to bear on your leadership of the NPDC and in the discharge of the monumental obligations which this highly exalted office has placed at your doorstep – namely, deepening smooth stakeholders’ relationships, building trust, de-escalating crises and resolution of all pending OML 11 (Ogoni Fields) legacy issues which your predecessors could not resolve. We pray the almighty God to grant you the wisdom, strength and forthrightness to discharge your duties in justice, equity and fairness.
We wish to place on record that your predecessor did not handle the OML 11 (Ogoni Fields) issues competently which is why no appreciable success was recorded in respect of OML 11 (Ogoni Fields). For instance, despite our consistent objections that the right thing should be done, the NPDC under your predecessor commenced initial engagements with RoboMichael Limited (a neophyte in the oil and gas industry) based on a preliminary approval granted by the NNPC to the company without prior and genuine engagements with the Ogoni people in order to build trust and obtain the metaphorical Social Licence to Operate (SLO) in flagrant violation of Nigeria’s obligations under international law. RoboMichael Nigeria Limited succeeded in using this preliminary approval to divide Ogoni people and stoke up crises which escalated tension in the area, thereby jeopardizing the planned re-entry into Ogoniland for the purpose of resumption of oil and gas operations.
In another more recent incident, the NPDC under your predecessor unilaterally published an advertorial in the Guardian Newspaper dated Tuesday 12 March 2019 and titled INVITATION TO PRE-QUALIFY FOR THE PROVISION, OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE CONTRACT AND LEASE OF A10,000 BOPD CAPACITY MODULARIZED EARLY PRODUCTION FACILITY (EPF) IN KOROKORO FIELDS FOR EXPEDITED RE-ENTRY AND RESUMPTION OF OIL AND GAS PRODUCTION ACTIVITIES IN SHELL JV OGONI FIELDS, OML 11, COOP protested this action which is viewed as a cleverly orchestrated attempt to alienate the Ogoni people from the re-entry and oil and gas production resumption process.
Your predecessor conveniently chose to ignore our priceless interventions but carried on as if the Ogoni people were already a conquered people. This tactlessness on his part jeopardized whatever breakthrough that could have been achieved in securing the people’s social licence to operate. We do hope that you will do things differently. We are confident that you are a fine gentleman with track records of experience in matters of administration.
In the coming days, the leadership of COOP intends to engage with you with a view to arriving at workable, practical and realistic solutions to resolving the decades of stalemate between the Ogoni people and the Federal Government of Nigeria over OML 11 (Ogoni Fields) issues, in order to pave way for a smooth re-entry into Ogoniland for the purpose of resumption of oil and gas production. It is on this note that COOP offers its platform and goodwill to assist you in any way you may wish to seek our support.
We believe that your ability to resolve this protracted debacle which has defied solution for more than 26 years will position you on the global map as an astute administrator and score your administration as MD of NPDC very high. We look forward to a cordial working relationship with you, it concluded.