Ogoni: Renewed Demand for Replacement of Shell
Below is an article published by Business Day:
Still basking in a strong community-wide avowal to keep the Anglo Dutch Shell completely out of their oil-laden lands, the Ogonis have again called on the Federal Government to urgently approve a replacement of the oil giant as operator of oil wells in the area, which covers six traditional kingdoms and three local government councils in Rivers State.
While acknowledging the presence of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) team in their land to carry out a comprehensive environmental oil spill audit, the Ogonis said they were ready to receive and cooperate with a new oil operator in their land, where Shell had produced over 30,000 barrels per day for over four decades. The Royal Anglo Dutch oil giant was forced out of Ogoni in 1993 following a continued community resistance against its oil production activities, which has brought much ecological degradation and massive deprivation of the local community.
Ledum Mitee, president of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP), an umbrella body championing the Ogoni struggle, said “we rejected Shell and its bad corporate practices.
“It is as well that we have an impressive senior government officials with whom we plead to assist in conveying to the Federal Government our people’s desire to cooperate with a credible replacement for Shell,” stated Mitee while addressing the mammoth crowd gathered at Bori for the 18th Ogoni Day, 2010.
While assessing the distances covered by their struggle since January 4, 1993, Mitee said some measure of achievements were recorded, including the Federal Government’s revocation of Shell’s operating licence in Ogoni and announcement of 10 percent equity to oil communities.
“Our demand for the protection of the Ogoni environment from further degradation, the UNEP environmental audit, is now being launched. For our quest for the use of a fair proportion of Ogoni economic resources for Ogoni development, the Federal Government has now approved 10 percent equity for oil producing communities.” The MOSOP president said the Ogonis would use the new decade to retool to further achieve the goals encapsulated in the Ogoni Bill of Rights.
To deepen the impact of the amnesty-propelled peace, he called on the Federal Government to immediately take advantage of the amnesty window to address the Niger Delta fundamental issues; and that would also take care of the former combatants so as not to slide back to the ugly past.