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ThisDayOnline: Ogoni Land: MOSOP, Shell Trade Words

ThisDayOnline: Ogoni Land: MOSOP, Shell Trade Words

 

From: John Iwori in Port Harcourt, 04.14.2006

 

The Movement for Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP), the apex organization of the Ogoni people in Rivers State is at loggerhead with Anglo Dutch oil giant, Shell over what it called, “reports of Shell’s unabated, provocative responses and disguised plots in support of its regime of destabilization of Ogoni communities”.

 

In a two page statement made available to THISDAY yesterday in Port Harcourt, MOSOP decried the multinational oil company’s attempt to “immediately work on oil installations in Ogoni”, especially those located in Kegbara Dere and other oil producing communities in Gokana Local Government Area, even as it accused Shell of announcing what it described as a “non-detailed but limited, monetized relief materials for victims of the Kegbara Dere oil spill of March 24th, 2006 as a subtle means of enhancing the plan”.

 

The umbrella body of Ogonis in Nigeria and the diaspora also accused the oil company of ordering security operatives to torture two youths from Ban-Ogoi community, Messrs Patra Loole and Zorbe Loole. The two youths were said to have taken some foreign journalists, human and environmental rights activists to a construction site in Afam, Oyigbo Local Government Area. It was alleged that serious bodily injuries were inflicted on them while their attires were torn to pieces leaving them completely naked.

 

Describing Shell approach as “gravely insensitive and unfortunate”, MOSOP expressed concern that rather than adopting a new path in relating with our people, the company has deliberately maintained a tendency that the people have been protesting against over the years.

 

“MOSOP had expected that the firm would have shown evident sympathy to victims and communities affected by the spillage but instead of dealing with the people with integrity and transparency, it has resorted to masking behind the excuse of relief materials to attempt working on its field facilities in the area. This behaviour in our view, betrays the essence of the Reverend Father Matthew Kukah Peace Process, which would comprehensively deal with all issues in the Ogoni question. The SPDC arrangement to work on her installations without any agreement with our people is not only provocative but also unacceptable. Shell would thus be held responsible for any break down of law and order in Ogoni should it dare the people and proceed with the plan,” the statement signed by MOSOP Information Officer, Mr. Bari-ara Kpalap added.

 

However, the management of Shell in a press release made available to THISDAY yesterday in Port Harcourt denied the allegations, saying that it has no hand in any human right violations in Ogoni land.

 

According to Shell, it was not true that it embarked on a hasty and ill-intended repair of facilities in Ogoni land, involved in underhand payment of monies and pretentious supply of relief materials to divide Ogoni land.

 

Giving an insight into the root cause of the problem in Ogoni land, Shell said it was forced to pull out of Ogoni land in 1993 without the opportunity to secure and make safe its wells and other facilities.

 

“Since then, continuing sabotage and deterioration of facilities left behind have caused a number of crude oil spills and fire incidents, putting communities and the lives of people at risk. SPDC has been seeking access from Ogoni leaders to return to the area to secure these facilities and clean up the spills and the environment, but without success. The latest incident occurred at Bomu Well-2 on March 24.

 

According to the oil company, it takes the safety of people and protection of the environment very seriously and would like to secure oil installations in Ogoni land and clean up the spills that have occurred.

 

 

 

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