By Chijioke Kingsley
Abuja (Sundiata Post) – The Ogoni communities in an Oil rich region of South South Rivers State, have denied receiving an acclaimed $300 million from the Nigeria National Petroleum Company (NNPC), which it said it paid to the Rivers State Government during the former governors tenure, Nyesom Wike.
The news of the said humongous money filtered the air when a social media activist, Mr Jackson Ude in his Twitter handle posted and asked the question where is Rivers State $300 Million Compensation from Oil Mining Lease (OMIL) 11.
The debate to compensate the people of Ogoni communities by the NNPC before Oil exploration can continue in the region has been ongoing for some years.
A Non Governmental Organisation under the aegis of Ogoni Liberation Initiative (OLI), has long spearheaded the demand for the compensation outlining conditions in several communiques as agreed with the NNPC representatives.
However, in what seems to be surprising news to the Group and the Ogoni people, NNPC alleged to have paid a whopping sum of 300 Million Dollars for former governor Wike.
Taking to his Twitter handle, the Social Media Activist asked: “WHERE IS RIVERS STATE $300MILLION COMPENSATION FROM OML11?.
According to Ude: “After River State Government under former Governor Nyesom Wike, entered into an agreement with NNPC for an out of court settlement for compensation to the OML11 to the tune of $300million, the funds cannot be traced in any of the State Government Accounts.
“Informants hinted that the $300million was transferred to a private account nominated by Wike from where it may have ended up in several private accounts.
“The $300million compensation was meant for the Ogoni communities that suffered environmental disasters when OML 11 was being operated by Royal Dutch Shell
“Only Wike and Governor Siminalayi Fubara know the whereabouts of the $300million”, Ude said.
Responding, the President of the Ogoni Liberation Initiative (OLI), Dr. Douglas Fabeke said the NNPC is playing politics with the OMIL 11, for not doing the right thing.
Fabeke said the Ogoni people are not aware of any money released to the State Government.
“If any money is released to the State Government, Ogoni people should be aware. NNPC is doing this because they want to come through the back door for Oil resumption.
“We are taking our stand that if they don’t go through the right process, we will not allow them to enter our land for exploration.
“They know the agreement we entered with them. We have written a lot of communique to them telling them that the people living in the Oil exploration communities have been negatively affected by the degradation and pollution of the environment due to Oil spillage, and these issues must be addressed before we can allow them to do business in our land.
“The first entry point is to compensate the communities that have lost economic value. Also, we have so many other things that we have agreed as a procedure before Ogoni land can be explored again”, Fabeke said.
The OLI President said they were surprised to hear news that money has been disbursed from the federal government.
“NNPC does not have the right to negotiate with the Rivers State Government without involving the Ogoni people.
“We also want to categorically say that the Ogoni people did not receive any money”, Fabeke reiterated.