The American Negro leader, Frederick Douglas, once asked, “who will stand for the downtrodden, open his mouth for the dumb and remember those in bonds as if bound with them”.
At a period when men worshipped at the altar of Nigeria’s self styled dictator and maximum ruler, when men so shackled by the ferocious cruelty of a wild and ruthless military junta, kept numb over the atrocious deeds that permeated the political waves of the country, when the chimney of injustice and institutional compromise reeked to its most repulsive and insipid taste, a bold, courageous and fearless Ogoni activist, Ken Saro- Wiwa braved the odds, putting his life on the line to question the excesses of the Abacha junta.
It was a critical period in Nigeria’s chequered political history which analysts described as a “decisive moment”.
Angered by the sad realities of the loss of the natural environment of the Niger Delta to a convoluted oil economy, where oil bearing communities existed as mere pawns in the game of power, he dusted up his hitherto docile Ogoni people to confront the deep-seated inequities and outright contraventions of the principles of justice in the Nigerian State.
He duly alerted his people that their foes; the Military Junta and Shell were formidable, but he pinned his conviction on the fact that it was better to fight the glaring environmental injustice that besieged them, than to remain silente and phase out of existence as a result of reckless oil exploratory activities by Shell which was ongoing in the area for decades. The moment was therefore ripe to confront the vilest political contraption in the history of Nigeria led by a pugnacious General, fully at home with the culture of might to subdue every real or imaginary enemy of the junta. The stage was set for the battle, and Ken Saro-Wiwa was not deterred to carry out his identified course of action.
Through the platform of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People, (MOSOP), he instituted a global campaign against the activities of the Royal Dutch in Ogoni. Through his oratory, activist posture and unique literary voice, he reaped cans of worms open against Shell, exposing the many social defects and corporate irresponsibilities of the company to a mass global and local audience.
As the controller of the highest stake among the IOCs in the Joint Venture agreement with the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, (NNPC) Shell and the Military junta were badly heated by Saro Wiwa’s campaign. Abacha was challenged to his chagrin, and he let loose his ill temper against the defenceless Ogoni people, framed up their leaders under junket of charges and summarily executed Ken Saro Wiwa and other Ogoni compatriots after a Kangaroo trial.
Shell also took cover under the Military junta to perfect it perfidy in Ogoni; the climax of which was the decimation of the elitist class in Ogoni, the wanton wastages of innocent lives, and the eventual pullout of the company from Ogoni. It is on record that during the Kangaroo trial of Ken Saro Wiwa a military Tribunal, Shell was duly represented even when they were supposedly not a party in the trial. What evidence could then be required for their complicity in the Ogoni crisis?. When Shell’s role in the prosecution of the Ogoni leaders became apparent, the company claimed it was the state’s role to ensure fairness under the law, and not a corporation’s. Such hypocrisy has continued to resonate among some unrepentant apologists of shell and other foes of Ogoni till date. But history has judged Ogoni fairly, as Shell’s record of environmental abuse and human rights abuse has continued to swell. Reports show that a Shell security fraud scandal in 2004, led to the forced resignation of the group chairman, Sir Philip Watts, who was escorted from the Shell centre by security staff.
Thus not its self righteousness or impregnable posture has saved the company from a diminishing corporate reputation globally. The denigrating poverty and unabated pollution in Ogoni and other Niger Delta communities are also glaring evidence against Shell. Reports reveal that between 1976 and 1991, over two million barrels of oil polluted Ogoni in 2,976 separate oil spills, and pipelines operated by Shell still traverse the land, creeks and water ways in Ogoni after oil production has ceased.
Although Ogonis paid dearly for their foremost role in environmental awareness in the Niger Delta, the fact remains that Saro Wiwa’s campaign has changed the face of oil politics in Nigeria. Shell and other nonchalant IOCs and corporate firms that prospect for oil in the Niger Delta have continued to incur the odium of its host communities. There is also pressure on the federal government to ensure strict compliance of international laws and politics in the oil industry.
As a Chief Proponent of true federalism, Ken Saro- Wiwa approached the leadership echelon of the country to rule by democratic ideals, rather than a surplus appropriating centralised command system immersed in an oil economy that survived vampire like on the fortune of the Niger Delta. Predictably, some leaders of Niger Delta cashed in on the Ogoni struggle and made themselves amiable tools in the hands of Shell and the military junta. Saro-Wiwa predicted this. He knew that the consequences of a failed oil-led development were conflicts, and divide and rule by the beneficiaries of the fraudulent system.
He therefore admonished the Niger Delta leaders to key into the vision and pointed out that, “Genocide was not selective”.
The implication being that such compromisers would equally become targets of destruction after aiding the external aggressors to destroy their kith and kin. History was to judge him correctly. Saro Wiwa also kicked against what he referred to as “indigenous colonialism”, a system where the minority ethnic groups in Nigeria are expected to render perpetual obedience to the majority ethnic groups, which history and colonal annexation has made a determinate superior.
He had a strong conviction in Thomas Jefferson’s Postulation during his inaugural address that, “All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority in all cases should prevail; that which will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression”.
Saro-Wiwa was therefore deeply concerned about the moral issue that confronted Nigeria as a sovereign nation; the issue of constitutional democracy that would guarantee the rights of every citizen, irrespective of ethnic affiliation. Like the sage, Obagemi Awolowo, his idea of federalism was that all ethnic groups in Nigeria, should be given fair treatment, irrespective of size or numerical strength. Exactly 24 years after the death of Ken Saro Wiwa, the forces of oppression against Ogoni and the Niger Delta is yet to abate. The environment remains contaminated and polluted. There is more oil, more money and yet more poverty in the Niger Delta, there is more security troops and yet more insecurity in the Niger Delta.
National security as it affects the Niger Delta, at best relates to unfettered oil production. The hope of oil resumption in Ogoni is also very elusive, as Ogonis have insisted that the issues of environmental injustices raised by Saro Wiwa must be addressed before any oil resumption deal. Addressing a mammoth crowd of supporters at a memorial lecture organised to mark the 24th anniversary of Ogoni matyres day, MOSOP President, Legborsi Pyagbara, said the organisation would remain committed to the tenets of the Ogoni struggle. He called on Ogonis and the Niger Delta to remain steadfast in the pursuit of environmental justice in the region.
Speaking with The Tide in an interview, the president of a foremost pan Ogoni youth body, the Ogoni youth federation, Comrade Legborsi Yaanabana called on the federal government to expedite action on the implementation of the United Nations Environment Programme, (UNEP) report on the cleanup of Ogoni.
The Ogoni youth leader also urged the federal government to exonerate Saro Wiwa from the questionable circumstances that greeted his trial and death, by offering him post humus pardon. He said Ogoni youths will resist any forced resumption of oil exploration in Ogoni without properly negotiated settlements.
Also speaking in an exclusive interview with The Tide, foremost environmentalist, Engr Olu Andah Wai-Ogosu called for a more sustainable environmental policy to address the lingering challenges in the Niger Delta.
The environmental consultant and university don, also solicited local and international concern over the plight of the Ogoni people, to address the issues raised by Saro-Wiwa. In death, Saro Wiwa did not only set the pace for a new environmental consciousness in Nigeria, he also raised a new consciousness in minority rights activism in Nigeria. He won the Rights Livelihood Award for exemplary courage in striving nonviolently for civil economic and environmental rights, and he is one of the few Africans celebrated in the international mainstream of martyrdom.
Nigeria Earns N2.7trn From Domestic Crude Oil Sales In 2019
The latest report by the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has put Nigeria’s earning from domestic crude oil sales in 2019 at N2.7 trillion.
According to NEITI’s 2019 Oil and Gas Industry Audit report, the country earned N2.72 trillion from just domestic crude oil sales.
It added that of this figure, N518.07bn was deducted for Petroleum Motor Spirit, PMS, under-recovery by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.
This figure is N213.07bn above the approved sum of N305bn for under-recovery in 2019.
Similarly, the sum of N126.66bn was incurred by the corporation as costs for pipeline repairs and maintenances, which showed a difference of N96.38bn from the approved sum of N30.29bn for the purpose.
The report also pointed out that N31.84bn was deducted for crude and product losses due to theft and sabotage in 2019.
The sum of $34.22bn was recorded as revenue from the oil and gas sector in 2019.
The $34.22bn revenue represented an increase of 4.88 percent over the $32.63bn garnered from the sector in 2018.
A breakdown of the earnings showed that payments by companies accounted for $18.90bn, while flows from federation sales of crude oil and gas accounted for $15.32bn.
The report showed that 10-year (2010-2019) aggregate financial flows from the oil and gas sector to government amounted to $418.54bn, with the highest revenue flow of $68.44bn recorded in 2011, while the lowest revenue flow of $17.06bn was recorded in 2016.
According to NEITI, the total crude oil production in 2019 was 735.24 million barrels, representing an increase of 4.87 per cent over the 701.101 million barrels recorded in 2018.
Production Sharing Contracts contributed the highest volumes of 312.042 million barrels followed by Joint Venture and Sole Risk, which recorded 310,284 million barrels and 89.82 million barrels respectively.
Others include Marginal Fields and Service Contracts which accounted for 21,762 million barrels and 1,330 million barrels respectively.
The report also showed that total crude oil lifted in 2019 was 735.66 million barrels, indicating a 4.93 per cent increase to the 701.09 million barrels recorded in 2018, with companies lifting 469.01 million barrels, while 266.65 million barrels was lifted by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation on behalf of the federation.
Egbin Power Plant Plans 1,900MW Boost
A boost for electricity generation is on the horizon.
This indication comes on the heels of a planned additional 1,900 megawatt (MW) to the country’s power generation capacity by the Egbin Power Plant.
Its Chairman, Temitope Shonubi, made this known while unveiling expansion plans for the Egbin (Expansion) Phase 2 Investments, which is expected to add between 1,750MW and 1900MW to power generation.
Shonubi, conducting a delegation of the NNPC led by its Chief Operating Officer (COO), Gas and Power, NNPC, Yusuf Usman, an engineer, through the plant’s post-privatisation, said the plant has gone through major overhauling, which he said has helped to increase its generation from the low capacity it had before 2013.
“Egbin has 1,320 MW capacity. As at the time we took over, the plant was generating 300MW which is an abysmal 22 per cent. As at today, our generation capacity has surged and we do 89 per cent. We have reached 970 MW, the peak generation for the year and we are working hard to ensure sustainability of this feat. The 970MW we hit is the highest for the year and based on our core value of sustainability, we are working round the clock to make sure that we sustain the gains we have made,” Shonubi explained.
Listing challenges being faced by the company to include, grid limitation, gas constraints, and liquidity, Sonubi added that stakeholders, including the NNPC, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) have been trying to solve the problems.
He called on the NNPC to keep exerting efforts towards gas development and supply of the product to keep turbines at Egbin working productively at optimal capacity.
Responding to the call and obviously satisfied with efforts put in so far in the thermal plant, Usman assured of the corporation’s commitment towards gas optimisation and supply for gas to power. He said NNPC will be joining the Egbin Power Plant to deepen gas supply for power generation.
He maintained that the NNPC was impressed with the turnaround at the thermal power station.
By: Tonye Nria-Dappa
Rising Oil Prices’ll Create Problems For Nigeria – NNPC
Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mallam Mele Kyari, has warned that rather than being a positive development, the rising prices of crude oil in the international market could cause major challenges for resource-dependent nations like Nigeria.
He spoke just as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) expressed concern over the re-emergence of fuel subsidy in Nigeria in the face of the country’s low revenue mobilisation.
The Washington-based institution, however, welcomed recent moves by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to unify exchange rates, certifying Nigerian banks as being liquid and well-capitalised.
Kyari, at the virtual Citizens Energy Congress, tagged: “Securing a Sustainable Future Energy System through Strategy, Collaboration and Innovation,” yesterday described the rising price of crude oil as a “chicken and egg” situation.
He added that oil prices had started exiting the comfort zone set by the NNPC, and becoming a burden.
The forum was organised by DMG Events, a London-based Public Relations company, which said the occasion was to provide an opportunity for players to reset the energy agenda post- COVID-19 and connect the divergent and polarising perspectives.
Kyari put the comfort zone globally at $58-$60, saying that for the NNPC, anything above $70-$80 will create major distortions in the projections of the corporation and add more problems to the company.
Brent crude, Nigeria’s oil benchmark, is currently selling for over $74 and is likely to increase further in the coming days as the NNPC continues to battle the dilemma of shouldering the payment of petrol subsidy, which has made it unable to contribute to the Federal Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) on two occasions.
Kyari expressed the concern that as the commodity prices rise, buyers of Nigeria’s crude may be compelled to accelerate their investment in renewable sources of energy, thereby leaving the industry in a quagmire.
He said: “In a resource-dependent nation like Nigeria when it gets too high, it creates a big problem because your consumers shut down their demand. Demand will go down and obviously even as the prices go up, you will have less volume to sell.
“So, it’s a chicken and egg story and that’s why in the industry when people make estimates for the future, they always make it about $50 to $60. Nobody puts it beyond $60.
“But for us as a country, as prices go up, the burden of providing cheap fuel also increases and that’s a challenge for us but on a net basis, you know, the high prices, as long as it doesn’t exceed $70 to $80, it’s okay for us.”
According to him, Nigeria will have no problems supporting the restoration of about 5.8 million barrels a day that the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) still has offline since the pandemic, due to the curbs in production quota imposed by the oil cartel.
He said adding that number to demand will stabilise and probably bring oil prices down to about $60 level or a little below $60, stressing that that’s a comfort zone for every producing company or country.
“I don’t see them (Nigeria) having any difficulty agreeing to add additional volume to cushion the effect of these high prices for this period,” he said.
He stated that Nigeria is already producing well below its capacity, because in early 2020, the country actually produced up to 2.4 million barrels of oil per day for both oil and condensates.
With declining investments in the oil sector, Kyari stated that in a short time, most likely the next five years, the world may experience an energy crisis if the current situation is not properly managed.
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