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Sunday Tribune (Nigeria): Ogoni may pull out of reconciliation process with Shell

Ogoni may pull out of reconciliation process with Shell

Hope of a successful Ogoni/Shell reconciliation process has again been threatened just as the Ogoni people have indicated their likely withdrawal from the talk.

In a press statement circulated in Port Harcourt on Saturday and signed by the Information Officer of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), Bari-ara Kpalap, the group frowned at what it described as Shell’s “provocative and unfriendly actions” in recent times.

MOSOP contended that the alleged entrance of some workers of the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) into Kpean, an Ogoni community, on the night of April 13, this year, was a violation of the terms of the ongoing peace and reconciliation process.

It noted that the action of SPDC, which it regarded a unilateral move and one with a ‘mischievous intention’, almost provoked youths of the community into responding angrily, stressing that “Shell remains unwanted in Ogoni”.

“MOSOP notes that one of the main items proposed and submitted agenda by Shell to the facilitator of the Government, Shell and Ogoni dialogue, Reverend Father Mathew Hassan Kukah, for discussion at the talks was ‘a thorough inspection of all SPDC facilities in the area to assess their current conditions, secure and make them safe in order to prevent any further environmental or safety accidents’.

“In our own view, once the parties that have declared commitment to the process have submitted the issues for discussion and resolution to an agreed facilitator, it behooves on the parties to allow the issues be resolve through the same process and not to take steps to undermine it”, the statement added.

MOSOP, however, warned that unless it received “genuine and measurable assurances”, it would most likely step out of the reconciliation process and seek, through a non-violent approach, justice for its people.

In an earlier press statement, SPDC had said it entered Ogoni in a bid to secure its facilities in the land, which in recent times have been causing serious environmental hazards to the communities.

It said further that it took the step after the state government had given it the go-ahead to work on its deteriorating facilities in Ogoniland, where it was driven out in 1993. It also added that the facilitator of the reconciliatory process, Father Kukah, was informed of the move.

“Following an invitation by the State Ministry of Environment, the company subsequent-ly commenced discussions with the Commissioner of Environment and the affected Ogoni communities on how this will happen. SPDC has also discussed this issue with the Facilitator of the Ogoni Peace Process, Father Matthew Kukah”, it said.

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