Feb 10, 2010

Ogoni: Cleaning Ogoni Land

Sample ImageUnrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization's along with other International Minorities Groups Seek cleaning of the Ogoni Land

Below is an article published by Next:

Aninternational organization for minorities, the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) has counseled the new oil operator likely to take over the operations of Anglo/Dutch oil giant, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), in Ogoni land to adequately dialogue with the people of the area before they commence operations. The group is also insisting that Shell be made to conduct a proper clean up of the land in the area before leaving. The

 organization's Programme Coordinator, Maggie Murphy, who met with reporters in Port Harcourt at the weekend, said SPDC had undermined its position in the area by not living up to internationally acceptable standards.

Shell was forced to suspend its operations in Ogoni land in 1993, following a communal uprising which eventually led to death of the late environmental rights activist, Ken Saro-Wiwa, on November 10, 1995 by the regime of late Sani Abacha.

The Ogoni people, under their umbrella of the Movement for the Support of Ogoni People (MOSOP), have insisted that they would not welcome the return of Shell to their land and are, in addition, demanding a thorough clean up of the highly polluted lands.

The federal government recently invited the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), to take up the task of cleaning up the area. It started with an on-going assessment and consultation with the Ogoni for the clean-up of 350 impacted sites in four Ogoni local government areas of Khana, Tai, Gokana and Eleme. Ms Murphy, who came to Nigeria from Netherlands last week and moved round Ogoni land to assess the situation, predicted a promising future for the people.

 Mr Saro-wiwa was a Vice Chairman of UNPO, before his death while the current MOSOP President, Ledum Mitee, is the organization's president-elect.

 Enthusiasm of youths - “Ogoni people are the only members of the organization in Nigeria,” Ms Murphy said. “We acknowledge the enthusiasm of youths of the area to better their lives and this must be encouraged. MOSOP should be consulted and be made an integral part of the processes, to ensure peace in Ogoniland and other parts of the Niger Delta. “MOSOP wants another oil company, which should be open in dialoguing with the people. Engaging the people is very important. The local, state and federal governments must be committed to developing the Niger Delta. People of the communities must also be part of the processes,”Murphy said.

Mr Mitee said the tremendous success made by MOSOP in garnering international exposure was made possible through its partnership with UNPO.