Feb 27, 2013

Ogoni: Suspicions Rise Over Resumed Unlawful Oil Operations Involving Shell

A Dutch-based oil company is suspected of having resumed oil operations at night with the help of armed military escorts, against the people’s wishes, say community sources in Ogoni. 

Below is an article published by Spy Ghana:

Royal Dutch Shell (RDS) may be set for a serious crisis and bloodletting in Ogoni, Nigeria. Information reaching the African Cultural and Fundamental Rights Council (AFCRC-USA) has it that the oil company, which happens to be the foremost in Nigeria for over 50 years, have been using heavily armed soldiers to clear the Ebubu Eleme oilfield in Ogoni. The corporation is also said to be engaging in other activities villagers believe include oil extraction against the people’s wishes.

Community sources said that, for the past several months Shell has been in Ebubu Eleme and has particularly been working in locations one and two of the oilfield. The Ebubu community members have complained that the company hasn’t consulted them regarding what it’s doing or intends to do. The fear of possible oil resumption isn’t the only concern this community has. Sources also said that, before this new development and in the past three months, Shell’s oil tankers have been coming into the oilfield with heavy military escorts late at night and going out, after what villagers alleged to be oil-lifting from wells, has been completed.

Based upon the foregoing, AFCRC-USA is demanding that Shell respect the wishes and fundamental rights of the people of Ogoni, especially Ebubu. Under international law, which Nigeria, Shell’s host country is a party, indigenous peoples rights are to be respected, implemented, and protected by states and their allies which include business partners such as Shell. Article 8 subsection 2 (b) of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples states that, “States shall provide effective mechanisms for the prevention of, and redress for any action which has the aim or effect of dispossessing them of their lands, territories or resources.”

Therefore indigenous people of Ogoni have inalienable rights to their land, territories, economic and otherwise natural resources, and the right to consultation regarding whatever activities or business is planned by the government, its agencies and business partners. Land owners have to agree and be compensated accordingly before and when agreed upon economic or otherwise endeavors are or about to be operational, unless agreed otherwise and based upon optional opportunities created or settlement reached. It’s against international and most domestic laws-including natural doctrines for anyone, government, groups or corporations, and institutions to force on other persons and community or indigenous peoples, land/property without due consultations and agreed upon formula.

As such AFCRC-USA demands that Nigeria follow the path of peace and desist from creating or supporting, or allowing clandestine criminal activities capable of stirring fear, breaching the peace and causing avoidable crisis and bloodbath in Ogoni or any other part of the country. The Nigerian government should respect itself and respect the Universal Declaration of Human Rights it’s signatory and other international Conventions, including the Indigenous Peoples Rights it agrees to abide, by being a member of the United Nations.

In addition, the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) report of August 4, 2011 is clear on the danger Ogoni faces due to Shell and government pollution in the region. At the moment it isn’t clear what Shell and the Nigerian government are doing to intervene in the emergency situation in Ogoni, the anticipated cleanup exercise, or the restoration of land and people through sustainable development. These issues and truth will not go away. So taking holistic approach to solving the problems and making plans to prevent further occurrence should be Shell and the government’s concerns and initiatives. The answer isn’t attempting to start oil business as alleged when the previous mess hasn’t been attended to, and the people they’ve milked so much money from live in squalor.

Shell Oil should note that it vowed when it was stopped from operating in Ogoni in about 1993, for environmental degradation, human rights violations (which include economic/livelihood deprivation) not to return to Ogoni for oil extraction unless by the people/MOSOP’s consent. We ask that Shell respect its own vow, consult with the people in a respectful and collaborative manner, get the community involved as also affirmed and protected by international law, and keep open its activities to allay fears, suspicions and misconceptions capable of heating up the Ogoni community.

AFCRC-USA demands that Shell and the government should immediately withdraw all alleged soldiers from the oilfield and communities. It should allow the media access to whatever it’s doing in the oilfield to reassure the public that it’s open, respectful and commit to its own principle of honesty, integrity and respect. […]