President of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), Fegalo Nsuke says Nigeria has lost at least $178,850,000,000.00 (One Hundred and Seventy Eight Billion, Eight Hundred and Fifty Million United States Dollars), an estimated NGN72 Trillion, since Shell exited the Ogoni oilfields in 1993. Nsuke said the figure represented oil revenue alone as the revenue losses from gas is inestimable due to non-availability of statistical evidence. He noted, however, that the Ogoni gas potentials and revenue generation capacity far exceeded that of its oil.
In an online message to a congress of MOSOP in Bera, Gokana local government area, Nsuke blamed Nigeria’s mismanagement of the Ogoni crisis for the huge financial losses. He said based on available evidence from the oil industry, Ogoni’s oil production capacity stood at 350, 000 barrels a day before the exit of Shell from Ogoni in 1993. At an estimated average of $50 for a barrel, he said, Nigeria has lost an estimated $178. 850,000,000.00 for its mismanagement of the Ogoni crisis.
Hitting at the government, the MOSOP leader said, in a statement by Alex Akori, Secretary-General, MOSOP that rather than listen and engage with the people, those who managed the country opted for the repressive approach of killing, maiming and torturing and thus exacerbated and prolonged the conflicts. He urged Nigeria to accept the offers made by MOSOP for the implementation of an Ogoni Development Authority to pave the way for a peaceful resolution of the conflicts.
Nsuke, who addressed the congress from an electronic device said the continual delay by relevant agencies of government to accept the Ogoni demands and reach a deal with the Ogoni people does not only amount to economic sabotage but represents a threat to the security of the country.
He held that the repressive approach and divide and conquer tactics of the oil industry have only worsened the relationship between the government and the people and prolonged the conflicts. He urged the Nigerian government to accept MOSOP’s development proposals as the way forward to a speedy and peaceful resolution of the Ogoni conflicts.
“Money runs the government and so when those in government fail to take advantage of opportunities to resolve issues that affect the national economy, it does not only amount to sabotaging the economy but is also a threat to national security.
“I think the inability of decision makers to peacefully resolve the Ogoni crises in over 28 years leading to the loss of over $178 billion amounts to sabotaging the economy and national security,” Nsuke said.
“MOSOP led the struggle and I know you are willing to move on with it if your interests are not considered in any deal. It will be best for the government to consider our development proposals rather than allowing the oil industry to create mushroom groups and hope that those groups will pave the way to resume oil mining activities in Ogoni. The struggle for survival has been a collective struggle which no mushroom group can truncate,” he said further.
Blaming the huge financial losses on Nigeria’s failure and lack of commitment to resolve the Ogoni problem, the MOSOP president said the Ogoni people have demonstrated that they are ready for a resolution of the conflicts with the proposal for the implementation of an Ogoni Development Authority developed by MOSOP.
The MOSOP president noted that the Ogoni struggle was a response to under development and that MOSOP is convinced that implementing a development plan such as the Ogoni Development Authority will be an excellent approach to resolve the Ogoni conflicts, boost economic development in Ogoni and improve the revenue base of the country.
He assured the people of MOSOP’s commitment to Ogoni development and urged them to remain peaceful as the leadership of the movement is committed and will continue to push forward the proposals for a peaceful resolution of the conflicts and the vision of the struggle.
Nsuke held that MOSOP’s vision was to reverse the underdevelopment in Ogoni and urged the Nigerian authorities to encourage the Ogoni people to recover from the effects of years of alienation by accepting MOSOP’s development initiatives.
“The vision of the Ogoni struggle was to achieve development for the Ogoni people. We launched MOSOP in response to underdevelopment and so any campaign that does not trigger positive development in infrastructure, economic activities and political freedom is not aligning with the vision of MOSOP”.
Nsuke said the primarily focus of MOSOP at the moment is to drive a new future and direction for the Ogoni people who have sacrificed so much with the hope of achieving a better life, to end the environmental problem created by neglect and corporate irresponsibility and to streamline our struggle with a clear focus to drive development.
While commending the resilience of the Ogoni people in sustaining the peaceful methods, the MOSOP president called for the cooperation and understanding of Ogonis and her partners in the drive towards a new Ogoni.
Recall that the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited, SPDC, was forced to leave Ogoni in early 1993 following a series of protests against the company’s poor environmental standards. This led to huge economic losses for Nigeria whose income is mainly from oil exports. In response, Nigeria deployed its military into Ogoni leading to the death of an estimated 4,000 people especially civil rights campaigners who were members of MOSOP and the eventual execution of nine leaders of MOSOP in November 1995.
The Ogoni people have demanded the restoration of the environment, better environmental standards, economic reconstruction, an end to political discrimination and exoneration of the nine executed men including Ken Saro-Wiwa who were wrongly killed by the military government under General Sani Abacha.