•NGOs against resumption of oil production in Rivers community
The Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) has described the Federal Government’s N3.039 billion expenditure on Ogoni clean up as the “biggest scam, using it to resume oil exploration in the region.”
In a statement, the group’s president, Fegalo Nsuke, said his people had lost confidence in the entire process, alleging lack of transparency.
Describing the project as “image laundering”, he submitted that the reported spending did not address the needs of the people, who still get drinking water from unsafe sources.
According to Nsuke, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report prioritised provision of water as well as erection of facilities to tackle the contaminated soil.
He regretted that all of these were yet to be put in place, claiming that the efforts were possibly to enrich the project managers and force resumption of oil production in the area without the consent of the people.
The MOSOP leader accused government of being “hypocritical as the real target and that of Shell is to use every means available, including the scandalous cleanup exercise, driven by benefits accruing to contractors.”
He went on: “It is sad, pitiable and regrettable that they are not only celebrating the pains and deaths caused by Shell and her irresponsible business conduct in Ogoni, but also using the funds to enrich themselves.
“The Ogoni people demand an apology from Nigeria and Shell. They should stop celebrating in the media their corporate irresponsibility and award of contracts to companies.”
Nsuke reiterated that his people urgently need water and the soil management centre, urging government to be “genuinely committed to doing the right thing as recommended by UNEP.”
In the same vein, two non-governmental organisations (NGOs), Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) and We the People, have called for the immediate withdrawal of the presidential order granting resumption of oil exploitation in the Rivers community.
The presidency, had in a March 1, 2019 memo signed by the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, and addressed to the Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), directed “NNPC/NPDC to take over the operatorship from Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) of the entire OML 11 not later than April 30, 2019 and ensure smooth re-entry given the delicate situation in Ogoni Land… NNPC/NPDC to confirm by May 2, 2019 the assumption of the operatorship.”
But in a statement, HOMEF’s Executive Director HOMEF, Comrade Nnimmo Bassey and his We the People counterpart, Ken Henshaw, noted with “alarm and unease the recent memo originating from the presidency…we consider this instruction insensitive, ill-advised and capable of inflaming suspicions and conflict in an area that is already very fragile and prone to crisis.”