*We have no plans to resume operations in Ogoni – Shell
09 August 2017, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt – The Ogoni people in Rivers State have asked the Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, and the Nigeria Petroleum Development Company, NPDC, to cease engagements focused on resuming oil production in Ogoniland.
The Ogoni socio-cultural pressure group, the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People, MOSOP, placed full implementation of the United Nations Environmental Programme, UNEP, report on the top of its list of conditions for a possible resumption of oil operations in Ogoniland.
But, Shell said in a statement that the SPDC Joint Venture comprising the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Shell, Total and Agip stopped oil production in Ogoniland in 1993 and has no plans to resume such operations in the area.
“Any suggestion that we are planning to secretly resume oil production is untrue,” the company said in the statement.
President of MOSOP, Mr. Legborsi Saro Pyagbara, while briefing newsmen in Port Harcourt, stressed that no oil production can take place in Ogoni without the achievement of a clear process of clean-up and broad public discussion about the future of oil operations in Ogoniland.
Pyagbara warned that the alleged plans by Shell and NPDC to resume activities in the land was capable of causing another round of chaos and violence in Ogoniland and would be resisted by the people.
“In the recent months, there had been intense and deliberate attempts by Shell to return to the Ogoni oilfields through the back door without any broad-based discussion with the Ogoni people with the potential of igniting a blaze of conflict and violence that will skirt this forceful attempt to return to the area.
“It is disappointing that the Federal Government which commissioned UNEP to carry out an assessment of Ogoniland, whose report had called for a total clean-up and restoration of Ogoniland, is the same government trying to force her way through the back door to commence operations in Ogoniland without addressing the key concerns raised by the Ogoni people across the years.
“It is especially disappointing because we have seen divisive efforts to re-enter Ogoni for oil production over the last decade, all of which have ended in failure. In each case the lack of transparency and attempts to deal with local actors in isolation was the fundamental failure,” Pyagbara said.
The MOSOP leader further explained that If there was credible interest in resuming production in Ogoni, the government and the prospective oil companies should initiate a broad-based discussion with representation from all sectors of the community.