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Coalition Gives Condition for Resumption of Oil Exploration in Ogoni Land

….says Shell should steer clear of Ogoni Oil in its divestment plans

Nelson Chidiebere

United States-based Ogoni advocacy groups, Centre for Democracy, Human Rights, and Anti-Corruption (CDHRAC) and the National Union of Ogoni Students (NUOS) International USA, have called for a referendum among Ogoni people, home and abroad, to determine whether oil production can resume in Ogoniland or not after addressing the demands that led to the stoppage of oil production in 1993.

The groups stated this in a statement jointly signed by Mr Cornelius Dumerene, coordinator of the Centre for Democracy, Human Rights, and Anti-Corruption, by Mr Pius Barikpoa Nwinee, president of NOUS International, USA, and made available to journalists in Nigeria.

The groups said the issue of the resumption of oil activities in Ogoni is not something that anyone can sit in Abuja, Port Harcourt, or even Bori and decide upon without the involvement and participation of the generality of the Ogoni people, the same way they came together and halted the oil production process in 1993.

“If oil production is to resume in Ogoni, there should be a referendum of Ogoni people that will sit down to a round-table discussion and decide the future of Ogoniland, and before discussing the possibility of oil production resumption in Ogoniland, issues stemming from the stoppage of oil mining in 1993 and the subsequent crisis leading to the killing of Ken Saro-Wiwa with eight others including over 3,000 other Ogoni people must be addressed first,” the statement reads in part.

Mr Dumerene and Pius, on behalf of their organizations, called on the Federal Government of Nigeria to admit their wrongdoing to the Ogoni people, address oil transgressions against the Ogoni people, exonerate Ken Saro-Wiwa and all others who were labeled criminals and killed, among others, before talking about possible oil resumption in Ogoni.

The groups stated further that issues around the Ogoni cleanup as recommended by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in the 2011 report must be fully implemented, and UNEP must verify that its recommendations have been fully carried out before discussing possible oil resumption in Ogoniland.

Reacting to Shell’s proposed sale of its onshore facilities in Nigeria including OML 11 (“Ogoni Oil”), while opposing the plans, the groups stated that nobody can sit in New York, the Netherlands, or London and negotiate the sale of OML 11 as Shell does not own Ogoni Oil, having been declared persona non-grata and kicked out of Ogoni for more than 30 years, and therefore called on the Federal Government of Nigeria and President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to reject Royal Dutch Shell’s purported “backdoor sale” of its onshore facilities in Nigeria without first addressing associated liability issues, stressing that a company that was chased out of Ogoni cannot return to sell the same facility that it does not own.

The organizations thus advised Shell to steer clear of Ogoni Oil, which is not for sale, as Shell cannot sell OML 11 because they have been ousted from Ogoni and no courts can even grant them such rights.

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