Ogonis decry FG’s delayed implementation of UNEP report
• Kick Against Shell, NPDC Move To Resume Oil Exploration
• Oil Firm Says It Is Committed To Clean Up
The Ogoni people defying heavy downpour yesterday, staged a peaceful protest against continuous delay of the Ogoni cleanup and alleged the resumption of oil exploration by the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and Nigeria Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) in their area.
The protesters grieved that six years after the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report was carried out and one year after Acting President Yemi Osibanjo flagged off the cleanup exercise, nothing concrete has been done to demonstrate the Federal Government’s goodwill.
The protesters, who gathered at Kpobie Junction in Gokana Local Government Area yesterday, displayed placards with inscriptions like: ‘NPDC, Shell, FG insincere, unfair to Ogoni people, we say no to divide-and-rule; ‘Our environment is our life, say no to Shell in Ogoniland’; ‘No broad-based discussion, no to oil production activities in Ogoni’; ‘No more pollution of the Ogoni environment’ and ‘Resumption of oil extraction in Ogoni through the back door is evil, Go home’.
Addressing the crowd, MOSOP President, Legborsi Pyagbara, charged Ogoni people never to surrender to the oppressors, insisting that they would sustain the non-violent struggle for their land.
Pyagbara, who led the protest, said that since Shell has been declared persona non grata in their land, nothing would change the decision of the people.Responding, Shell external relations manager, Igo Weli, has denied the allegation that Shell wants to hide under the guise of the clean up to resume explorations in Ogoni.
Weli told journalists in Port Harcourt yesterday that since UNEP submitted its findings six year ago, the company re-assessed 15 sites mentioned by UNEP report where remediation was required. According to him, these sites have been remediated and certified by government regulators.
He explained that Shell has also completed compressive review of oil spill response and remediation techniques, and made a number of improvements in line with industry best practices.
Weli said Shell and her partners appreciate and welcome the efforts of the federal government and the progress it has made in the implementation of the UNEP report, particularly as it concerns the creation of a governing council and the board of trustees of the Ogoni Restoration Fund to oversee and fund the clean up.
Beyond the remediation of the 15 sites mentioned in the UNEP, Weli states that Shell and her partners as a mark of their commitment to the clean up of Ogoni environment have also made available $10million take off fund for HYPREP as part of contribution towards the funding of the Ogoni restoration fund.
He explained that Shell remains fully committed to continue to support and contribute its share to the Ogoni restoration fund within the appropriate framework and governance structures. The company, according to him, will also appreciate other stakeholders to also remain committed to contributing their share to the Ogoni restoration fund.
The Guardian findings revealed that while the Joint Venture Partners comprising Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Shell, Total and Agip, may have set aside about $170 million this year for the Ogoni clean up, the Hydrocarbon Pollution Restoration Project (HYPREP) is yet to come forth with its work plan to warranty the release of the fund.
Igo explained that Shell had been working on a section of its pipeline that supplies crude oil to bonny terminal that vandalized in B-Dere community of Ogoni. He empathized that Shell has no intention to return to Ogoni as being alleged.