The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), Nigeria’s main militant group, threatened on Friday to attack oil facilities after it accused Shell of complicity in the environmental destruction of the Niger Delta.
MEND said the UN report on the degradation of the environment in Ogoni land, formed a minuscule past of the Niger delta and reckless exploitation of the resources of the delta.
“The ecology of the Niger Delta has persistently borne the brunt of numerous spillages of catastrophic proportions yet our moron of a president has the audacity to publicly embrace the levity with which the concerns of the people of the Niger Delta are treated by western oil companies,” MEND said in an e-mailed statement.
“MEND views the Shell Petroleum-sponsored UN report on the degradation of the environment of the Niger Delta and its inhabitants by the deliberately irresponsible activities of Western oil companies as a pathetic attempt at trivializing the wave of destruction wrought on the ecology of the Niger Delta,” it stated.
The group, responsible for most of the sabotage attacks on Nigerian oil and gas producing facilities during three-years violent campaign between 2006 and 2009, said it would not be deceived by Shell’s pretence of concern.
“MEND, forewarns all oil companies in Nigeria of the battle that is to come. Shell and its counterparts in the oil industry should not waste their booty on irrelevant studies of an environment they chose to destroy,” the group stated.
“Oil companies in Nigeria should save as much as they can for the days of darkness which are not afar,” it added.
The UNEP report released last week criticized Shell and the Nigerian government for contributing to 50 years of pollution in Ogoniland, and that it would take up to 30 years and cost an initial $1 billion to clean up.
Meanwhile, the Managing Director of Shell Petroleum Development Company, Mr. Mutiu Sunmonu, said while the oil firm acknowledged the devastating effect of spills in the Niger Delta, he insisted that there was need for the Nigerian authorities to take concerted action to curb the illegal activities, in particular oil theft and refining, that are exacerbating so many of the environmental and social issues.
“Unless these activities are brought to a halt, any action we take will be of limited impact,” Sunmonu said.