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From the President’s desk

March 22, 2008


Fellow Ogonis and Supporters of the Ogoni Cause,

I salute you!

Few weeks back we were jolted by the news of Shell’s purported return to operation in our land, Ogoni. It made major headlines in Nigerian national dailies. At the same time, we saw a rebuttal to Shell’s claims from the Rivers State government, with a shift in burden of proof on the issue to the federal government. Thereafter, Shell reconstructed and concentrated its argument on two fronts: that it has only come into Ogoniland not to resume operation but to “secure dormant wells” and that this exercise came on the heels of “immediate past administration” permission. Really?

As a people, we know the antics of Shell. We know when a psychological warfare is being waged on us. We know too when desperation occasions weird performances. We are neither blinded by accusations nor rocked by denials. Why? We have lived with and suffered from these antics. For more than four decades. So, the position held by either Shell or the government of Rivers State on this issue is not new to us. They are simply distractions to pull us away from the facts of the matter. What are the facts of the matter?

First fact, impeccable inside sources reveal that Shell is desperately seeking a come back into Ogoniland because the company has been told by government that if it doesn’t resume operations in Ogoniland, come May 2008, it will lose its operating license. Second fact, Shell in collaboration with the government of Nigeria is eyeing the abundant gas deposits in Ogoniland. How else can these cohorts achieve their aims but to cause fear, frustration, and internal strive among the Ogoni people through divide-and-rule, and a little show of good face in denials? Third fact, Shell has trained and armed a sizable number of Ogoni youths as Shell facility scouts. These youths are charged with the duty to “monitor, track down and deal with so-called Shell pipeline/facilities vandals.” Implication: Shell is playing the game of using Ogonis against Ogonis with no responsibilities traceable to the company when things get nasty. After all, if Ogonis had argued yesterday that Shell paid Nigerian security operatives to do its dirty jobs against the Ogoni people, what will be the argument today? Shell can simply claim it has no hands in Ogonis killing Ogonis, right?

Fellow Ogonis and Supporters of the Ogoni Cause, these recent developments in our land need our utmost attention. Shell is hurting so bad. It cannot stand the prospect of losing its biggest money-minting machine – Ogoniland. As such, Shell will stop at nothing, like desperados, to achieve its objective. Shall we let this evil empire succeed? I say NO! If your own answer too is “NO”, then this is what I ask of us this Holy Saturday morning of Easter: PROTEST NON-VIOLENTLY!  Let us deny Shell from attaining its objective by reiterating in action, that the company remains persona non grata in Ogoniland. Remember: this is no time (and no time is the time too) for divisive chatter, name-calling, finger-pointing or bickering.

This is the time for unity of purpose and concerted effort against a common enemy – Shell – an enemy that thinks so lowly of our strength and tends to feast on our perceived quietude. It is time the Ogoni people make the loudest noise wherever they are. And the time is NOW! I implore you to organize and demonstrate non-violently in your cities, towns, states – at home and abroad. Chapters in the United States and everywhere in Diaspora where there is an Ogoni should organize pickets at Shell sites and make the loudest non-violent but serious attention-getting noise. Invite the press. Use your pen against Shell and not against yourselves! Ogoni people are no fools. We must make Shell realize it has again “murdered sleep” and it “will sleep no more” until it chooses to honour the demands of the Ogoni people as enshrined in the Ogoni Bill of Rights (OBR).

Trespass and forceful entry are crimes punishable under the law. We must make Shell pay for its unholy incursions into Ogoniland this time around. By the way, why does Shell fear sitting at the negotiating table with the Ogoni people? Why does it enjoy going through the back door always? Does Shell think the Ogoni people are powerless because they do not carry guns or kidnap foreigners? Is this why the Ogoni people are undermined?

Fellow Ogonis and Supporters of the Ogoni Cause, act against Ogoni people’s arch-enemy – Shell and its cohorts. Ernesto Che Guevara once said: “Our every action is a battle cry against imperialism, and a battle hymn for the people’s unity against the great enemy…” We cannot and must not miss this golden opportunity to stamp our presence on the stone of time. If we let Shell go scot-free with this impudent act, then, we must have given a pass to imperialism; and let the people’s battle hymn to be sunk by the subterfuges of terror and greed, and the surrogates of evil! Ogoni people, wake up! I say, enough is enough!

I salute you with a heavy heart!

IkpoBari Senewo and its also non-profit sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.


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