No plan to return to Ogoniland says Shell
The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC), says it has no plan to return to Ogoniland for oil and gas exploration.
According to Mr Bamidele Odugbesan, Shell’s Media Relations Manager, the SPDC as operator of the SPDC Joint Venture (SPDC JV) carried out exploration and production but production ceased in 1993 following a rise in violence, threats to staff and attacks on facilities.
He said that since then, the SPDC JV has not produced oil or gas in Ogoniland, although one of Niger Delta’s main pipelines, the Trans-Niger Pipeline (TNP), traverses Ogoniland from 1950s to early 1990s.
Odugbesan said: “In 2012, SPDC transferred operatorship of the JV’s assets in Ogoniland to the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), the production and exploration arm of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
Odugbesan was reacting to charges by Ogoni People that “several attempts to go through the back door to return Shell and its surrogates into Ogoniland have provoked anger and distrust among Ogonis who feel cheated and insulted’’.
Mr DineBari Augustine Kpuginen, the Vice-President of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP), USA branch, said in a statement issued recently in Houston, U.S., that Ogoni people are dismayed and that “all tactics to return Shell to the area are but attempts to use collateral fraud against us, the Ogoni people. Instead of owning up to the colossal mess they caused in Ogoni, Shell and its agents are bent on insulting the Ogoni people.
“This is barbaric, inhuman and oppressive,’’ Kpuginen further alleged.
He said Shell’s obligations to the Ogoni people are to clean the environment, pay royalties, pay land and mining rents from 1958, rehabilitate Ogoni people, rebuild the 22 villages that were destroyed on Shell’s orders between 1993 and 1996 as well as rehabilitate Ogonis who were rendered homeless.
Kpuginen also called for an unconditional implementation of Ogoni Bill of Rights (OBR), saying that through the OBR, Ogoni people are also seeking compensation for the pollution and destruction of their environment, along with the right to protect the area from further degradation.
The OBR, initiated by the late renowned environmental rights activist, Ken Saro-Wiwa, which was adopted by the Ogoni people on August 26, 1990, at Bori-Ogoni, the traditional headquarters of Ogoni land and the seat of Khana Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The OBR seeks self-determination and political autonomy, the right to control and use their economic resources for the development of Ogoni land and payment of reparation to Ogoni people by the Federal Government and the oil companies.
The OBR also emphasised that MOSOP is a non-violent organisation which believes in the use of non-violent means to pursue its goals.
He said that copies of the OBR were sent to the then Military President, Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, members of the then Armed Forces Ruling Council (AFRC), the military governors of Rivers and other states on October 2, 1990.
It was signed by six representatives each from Babbe, Gokana, Ken-Khana, Nyo-Khana and Tai kingdoms in the area. ##