Before considering the restart of crude oil exploration, communities in Ogoniland have asked the Federal Government to pay Ogonis for years of environmental devastation caused by oil extraction.
The decision was made during a conference organized by the Ogoni Liberation Initiative (OLI), which also asked for the overturning of the verdict that led to the death of Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other people, as well as their exoneration.
Part of the resolution read: “Adequate compensation should be paid to Ogoni people for the sufferings, death of loved ones and contamination of our environment resulting from the decades of unpleasant method and manner of oil and gas exploration and exploitation in the area with its attendant atrocities.
“Adopt the report of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Right on Ogoni Case. The unjust and illegal verdict that led to the killing of late Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight others should be reversed for possible exoneration.”
At the meeting, OLI President Douglas Fabeke requested President Buhari to cease future payments to the Hydrocarbon Pollution and Remediation Programme (HYPREP).
Fabeke accused the agency of misusing funds set aside for the cleanup, claiming that it did not follow international standards or best practices, and requesting the Federal Government to reconsider the project.
The group also requested that host villages that have experienced significant levels of contamination from oil operations be resettled during the conference.
They said that several oil wells in close proximity to residential areas rendered life in Ogoniland dangerous.
They said that resuming oil and gas exploration and production in such places would be impossible unless settlers living near oil installations and in polluted areas were transferred to a safer location.