Hints have emerged that the much-expected peace meeting between the minister of state for petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, with Ogoni leaders aimed at reaching understanding for proper stage of clean up to start may crash after all. The umbrella body for the Ogoni has pulled out of such talks.
This may be due to alleged link by the office of the minister to resumption of oil business in Ogoni and the clean up. The Ogoni activist body, the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), understood the minister to mean that the meeting would discuss resumption of oil activities in Ogoni.
Such issues do touch the soul of Ogoni. Now, MOSOP said in a statement by its publicity director, Fegalo Nsuke, that the body wished to clarify on what it called “misrepresentations in an invitation letter from the petroleum ministry for a stakeholder meeting with the minister of state for petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, on Monday 9th July, 2018 at the home of King G.N.K. Gininwa, the Gbenemene of Tai in Ogoniland..
“Whereas the invitation letter referred to an earlier agreement for oil resumption and the Ogoni cleanup to run simultaneously, we want to state emphatically that we had no such agreement with the minister.”
MOSOP said it considered the comment on oil resumption in Ogoniland not only as a deliberate ploy to frustrate the focus of their petition to the minister but ‘mischievous means’ to delay the process of restoring our polluted environment.
MOSOP went on: “We note our disapproval and disappointment in this statement as it clearly indicates the dishonesty of government and questions the integrity of the Ibe Kachikwu-led process.
“We recall that the meeting with the minister of state for petroleum was sequel to our petition complaining about the constant harassment of the Ogoni people by some oil industry actors notably Robo Michael Limited, and Belema Oil Producing Limited and the threat their actions posed to the life of the president of MOSOP and other key members of the organization.
“The Abuja meeting was the first we had with the minister, Ibe Kachikwu, and their was no possibility at all that such decisions could be taken without consultations with the Ogoni people and getting their consent through a congress and a general assembly.
The misrepresentations in the invitation letter are therefore not only deceitful, they are a deliberate and mischievous attempt to incite the people against the leadership of MOSOP.
The statement declared: “After a thorough assessment of the situation, MOSOP has decided to dissociate itself from the meeting of July 9, 2018 as the manipulations to favour oil resumption in Ogoniland dents the credibility and integrity of the entire process.”
With MOSOP out, any meeting held on the matter would hardly be worth the paper on which the minutes were written, an insider told newsmen.