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Ogoniland and Shell

Screen Shot 2015-02-22 at 10.18.33Article by Ben Ikari (International Human Rights and Environmental Justice Advocate)

Dr. Eddy Wikina Should Advocate Clean-up and Ogoni Bill Of Rights-Not Oil Production

My comments are based on a press statement credited to a respected elder of Ogoni Dr. Eddy Wikina on behalf of the “Ogonis Elites and Elders,” titled: Oil Resumption in Ogoniland: Elites Advocate 10-15 Percent Equity, and published March 4, 2015 on Ogoninews.com.

I wish to state clearly, and without equivocation that, although Dr. Wikina is a well known and respected Ogoni, especially as someone with enormous experience in the oil industry, he’d understand that Ogoni isn’t ready for oil production until the United Nations Environmental Program’s (UNEP) recommendations on Ogoni clean-up, restoration and sustainable development/people’s empowerment are implemented to a reasonable level.

There can be no sane justification rubbing dirt on dirt, or ignoring gross injustice caused by Nigeria and $hell to resume oil business as usual in Ogoni or anywhere. As a result oil production can only commence peacefully in Ogoni if and when the minimum demand of the Ogoni Bill of Rights (OBR), which is a state for Ogoni as of right is created. A state for Ogoni or self-determination also known as political autonomy will honor the people’s struggle and the reason Ken Saro-Wiwa and 8 other Ogoni martyrs were unjustifiably murdered by $hell and the Federal government of Nigeria. These demands, if met will demonstrate government’s understanding, respect and inclusion, and that the government is serious to resolving Ogoni conflict with her and the oil companies.

Meanwhile, Ogoni State or by whatever name called will grant the people political and economic control of their affairs like about 32 out of current 36 states in Nigeria including those without oil, but mostly sharing monthly oil allocation from the Federation Account hence obvious insane mismanagement of resources and corruption alongside incompetence.

The position credited to Dr. Wikina’s that, for “any company to be endorsed by the people it must be ready to accept partnership model and nothing less,” is worthwhile, but lacks the meat needed for oil production. It will be grave error and morally wrong for any Ogoni or company, the government of Nigeria to accept and push oil production in Ogoni or anywhere pollution is large scale without first cleaning the degraded land, restore same and adequately compensate victims of such disaster.

It can be recalled that Dr. Wikina worked many years with $hell and ascended to a managerial level. We’ve no record of him fighting in the interest of Ogoni. He’s part of the $hell staff and management team, which deliberately, recklessly and callously polluted Ogoni. His pension, I believe still comes from $hell, therefore, he’s still part and parcel of $hell, though currently said to be the Chief Executive of Treasure Energy Resources owned by some Rivers State politicians and business people. In some quarters, however, $hell is reported to be financing this company as a possible proxy through which it can return to Ogoni, like the alleged Belema Oil experiment.

Also, asking for Ogoni representation in all cadre of business or operations including managerial in any company that will produce oil in Ogoni isn’t wrong, and demanding 10-15 percent equity as credited to him is well thought out, at least for a start. Dr. Wikina seems not serious and insensitive, a $hell’s trademark, to have completely ignore the implementation of the United Nations Environmental Program’s (UNEP) report that was released in August 2011, and abandoned by $hell and the Federal government of Goodluck Jonathan who is a Niger deltan/South-South person. Jonathan should know the Ogoni issues and travails better since he’s ethnically Ijaw, and his birthplace has oil and depressing marks inflicted by $hell, other oil companies and successive Federal government.

Finally, Dr. Wikina has been known to have lobbied some Ogonis including National Union of Ogoni Students (NUOS Intl. USA) and myself. In a telephone and email conversation with me about 4 years ago, he suggested Ogonis should forget about the past including the unjust and barbaric hangings of the Ogoni Nine among many killed by the Federal government and $hell Oil and open up for oil production to improve development and empower the people. I disagreed with him despite agreeing on the need for development, which government and $hell ignores after carting away billions of petrodollars from Ogoni.

Therefore, I’m not surprised he’s ignoring the issues paramount to Ogoni. These are issues, which forms the basis for any resumption of oil production. Dr. Wikina isn’t discussing or including Ogoni State or by whatever name called, that will grant Ogonis self-determination and serves Ogoni best than his proposals which are also good, but not the best with long-lasting impacts and clean, safe environment with fresh and uncontaminated water to drink and air to breathe.

Meeting these urgent Ogoni needs, which embodies the provisions of the Ogoni Bill of Rights (OBR), is the foundation or premise on which oil production can and will resume in Ogoni. Anything to the contrary is an invitation to crisis and disturbance of the peace Ogoni has enjoyed in recent years.

RELATED ARTICLES

Naanen: Preventing oil conflict in Ogoni: TheGuardian Nigeria: Thursday, 05 March 2015 00:00: Written by Ben Naanen,a Professor at the University of Port Harcourt

Group Slams Shell For Failing To Attend To Oil Spill Polluting Bayelsa River: 05 March 2015

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