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Daily Independent (Nigeria): Ogoni, Shell Dialogue Dead, Says MOSOP

By Odudu Okpongete, Senior Correspondent, Port Harcourt

The Ogoni umbrella socio-cultural group, Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), Monday, accused the federal authorities and Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) of killing the Ogoni dialogue process and described the reconciliation efforts as dead.
 
The body, therefore, wants the Federal Government to act fast in getting a fresh operator for the abandoned oil field in the area.
 
MOSOP’s Information Officer, Bari-ara Kpalap, said in a statement that the body was delighted by recent announcements by government that it would revoke Shell’s licence in Ogoni, lamenting that 12 years after being evicted from Ogoni there was no evidence from the past 12 months of the radical change needed in the company.
 
“We believe it has reached the point where a fresh start with an oil operator of unimpeachable integrity is required in Ogoni,” MOSOP argued, adding that a successful transition to a principled relationship with the people and the environment would set vital precedence in the Niger Delta.
 
The Ogoni socio-cultural organisation disclosed that no dialogue had taken place in the last four months since the reconciliation process was initiated and that there was no explanation from the facilitator, Rev Fr Mathew Hassan Kukah, on why the dialogue had not taken place. 

“To date, there has not been a single meeting involving all the key parties to the dispute being MOSOP, Nigerian government authorities, and Shell. Despite calls to clarify why no meetings were taking place, we have not heard from the facilitator for over four months.
 
“We believe that this process is effectively dead and we are calling on the facilitator and the government to acknowledge this and move on to a more credible process of reconciling with the Ogoni people in the context of a fresh operator for the area,” the group explained.
 
MOSOP also recounted its frustrations since the talks began, lamenting that government’s promise to construct a road in the area had not been met.
 
The group said the entire Ogoni axis had been plunged into darkness without electricity for 11 months.

18th October, 2006

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