By John Donovan
The Ogoni people are being played for fools. A few will become rich as a result of the so-called settlement, while the vast majority will remain poor and pitilessly exploited, as always.
Read between the lines of what Shell Executive Malcolm Brinded has said in the carefully co-ordinated media campaign.
We believe this settlement will assist the process of reconciliation and peace in Ogoniland, which is our primary concern.”
The real purpose of the paltry $15.5 million is as a re-entry fee to once again plunder the hydrocarbon riches of the Niger Delta: an entry payment for future exploitation, not compensation or genuine atonement for past sins. Note that many other Shell related stories were generated yesterday by the Shell propaganda machine in an unsuccessful attempt to bury news of the so-called settlement.
The robber barons knocking at the Ogoni door are the same ruthless people who have been at the helm of Shell for many years, including during the period when Shell has been up to its corporate neck in activities fuelling the corruption and violence in Nigeria. The gas flaring pollution has also continued unabated despite repeated pledges by Shell management.
Shell instigated covert operations in Nigeria relating to Ken Saro-Wiwa just as it has in Ireland to counter legitimate opposition to the Corrib gas project. My family and I have also been the subject of undercover activity by Shell as admitted by Shell legal director Richard Wiseman, after a Shell spy, Christopher Phillips, was caught red-handed engaged in an illegal act. Wiseman has since been promoted to the position of Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer of Royal Dutch Shell Plc. His elevation by Shell senior management speaks volumes about the lack of integrity and scruples at the top of Shell.
The $15.5 million payment is not a new beginning as suggested in a Los Angeles Times article today nor a humanitarian gesture as laughingly portrayed by Shell. It is just more of the trickery and deceit that is the trademark of the oil giant.
Let’s hope for their sake that the Ogoni are not mesmerised by the smoke and mirrors which cloak Shell’s real intentions, which if past history is any guide, are not honourable.
If the Ogoni believes anymore of Shell’s promises, they will have no one but themselves to blame for what follows.