Ogoni: NGOs Speak Out Against UNEP Exoneration
After an inquest into damage done to Ogoniland’s environment United Nations investigators have exonerated Shell from main responsibility of the problems. This report’s findings have led to considerable outrage in the NGO world.
Below is an article published by AllAfrica:
A United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) report due for release in December (2010) which is reported to have exonerated Shell Petroleum Development Company from serial pipeline bursts in Ogoniland is not only outrageous but scandalous, the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), has said.
International media had reported that a three-year investigation conducted by UNEP funded with $ 9.5million provided by Shell had concluded that only 10 per cent of the pollution in Ogoniland was caused by equipment failures and company negligence and that the rest was caused by local people stealing oil and sabotaging pipelines.
The disclosure was said to have been made by Mike Cowing, the head of a UNEP team of 100 people who have been studying environmental damage in the region. The disclosure has generated global outrage and condemnation.
ERA/FoEN in a statement issued in Lagos, said the conclusion of the report is objectionable as it contradicts all verifiable facts about pipeline spills in Ogoniland and the entire Niger Delta. It also contradicts earlier reports on the oil spills by both Shell and the UNEP.
"We are aware that Shell has for years sponsored and orchestrated campaigns to white wash itself from atrocities it committed on Ogoniland that led to the murder of Ken Saro-Wiwa.
"We are, however, appalled that a United Nation agency will risk its reputation and engage in image laundering for Shell. This is a case of who pays the piper dictates the tune.", said Nnimmo Bassey, ERA/FoEN Director.
[We] reiterate our conviction that Shell's has a moral duty to own up to its spills and to remediate and compensate the impacted people. We stand with the people of the Niger Delta and all well-meaning peoples across the globe saying no to this Shell-induced UNEP report. We also reject the lame defence being put up by UNEP on this monumental gaff. It will not pass even as a moonlight tale,' Bassey insisted.