There seems to be a rush for Ogoni oil since Shell announced their intention to divest the 45% equity held by the JV partners in OML 11. All the Ogoni nine oil fields are in OML 11. Recently, the Ogoni communities have witnessed an influx of people purported to be investors, going about seeking endorsement and offering financial inducements (or bribe) to unsuspecting and illiterate people who do not understand the dynamics and implications of oil asset divestment. The intention is for the local chiefs to sign documents recommending them to Shell as their preferred bidders.
In order to ensure proper control, openness and transparency in the process of selecting a buyer of the equity being divested within the Ogoni territories, a committee of the Ogoni Leadership Forum has been approved by His Majesty, King G. N. K. Gininwa, to interface on oil and gas matters on behalf of all Ogoni communities. Membership of the committee which cuts across all the LGAs, including KAGOTE and MOSOP leadership and are selected leaders, strategists, economists, and development experts. This is very necessary to ensure the best value accrues to Ogoni as a whole, and to the host oil producing communities in particular. The committee is mandated to welcome and discuss with all interested investors, to be open and to encourage all to present their proposals for development of the communities, development of the people, partnership in the operations, and plans for UNEP’s programme amongst others. The committee will review its plans and consider what it intends to offer that will improve on what Shell has been doing, to bring about fast transformation of the Ogoni industrial landscape, and economic development of the people. In doing this, companies with proven track record in oil field operations, world class experience, and proof of financial capability will be given preference over brief-case-single-person companies.
All investors interested in bidding for the equity are advised to liaise with this committee and avoid being misguided and deceived by people whose interest is just to collect the little monies offered them, with no interest in the sustainable development demands of the entire Ogoni people. The committee is to control the process properly, and ensure all Ogonis are carried along so that whoever wins the bid will also have full social license to enter the communities and operate the fields. Shell is requested to be guided, accordingly, in its interactions with bidders.