(By Prince ije-Owu)-The people of Ogoni ethnic nationality in Rivers State, Nigeria, have kicked against the news of the renewal of mining rights of Shell Petroleum Development Company in the area over allegations of the multinational oil company prosecuting an ecological war against the host communities for over 50 years.
This observation was made by the Publicity Secretary of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People, MOSOP, Fegalo Nsuke, on Monday in Bori, headquarters of Khana local government area where he addressed a cross section of Ogoni women.
He described the news of the renewal of Shell’s mining rights in Ogoni as an insult on the collective dignity of the Ogoni people, just as he recalled how Nigerian soldiers were allegedly used to trample on the rights of the aggrieved Ogoni people while the much publicized promise of cleaning up polluted lands and water in the area has remained unfulfilled.
The MOSOP spokesperson therefore challenged the Nigerian president, Mohammadu Buhari to demonstrate his government’s intolerance for corporate irresponsibility by throwing out Shell from Ogoni and getting the company to pay for the abuses in Ogoniland.
Fegalo Nsuke further said “the news of president Buharis approval of Shell’s mining lease for OML 11 smacks insensitivity to the Ogoni predicament and confirms the intent of government to resume oil production in the area without first cleaning previous mess and addressing the issues raised by the Ogoni people including the demand for political rights to self determination, the protection of the Ogoni environment and other demands as contained in the Ogoni Bill of Rights.
“It is very disturbing that despite the danger faced by the Ogoni people consequential of Shell’s irresponsible business practices, the Nigerian authorities will still approve a request by Shell to run the Ogoni oilfields. Shell on the other hand should have been ashamed of her conduct in Ogoniland and not request a renewal of its license for the Ogoni area. In over 50 years of doing business in Ogoniland Shell has killed the environment and the people and lacks the moral grounds to return to Ogoniland” Nsuke said.