26 October 2017, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt – The Shell Petroleum Development Company has denied destroying any farmland in Ogoniland following the repairs of its 24inch Trans Niger Pipeline which passes through some communities in the area.
The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People, MOSOP, recently had alleged that SPDC has destroyed farmlands and also forcefully commenced the laying of pipelines in Ogoni without the consent of the people.
MOSOP, in a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Mr. Fegalo Nsuke, described as “conscienceless destruction of crops in Ogoniland by the Shell Petroleum Development Company in Nigeria with the backing of heavily armed Nigerian soldiers.”
Nsuke expressed worries that the current pipeline laying would only result in the killing of protesting Ogonis by soldiers attached to Shell as the people are bound to resist the invasion.
“Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) has this morning destroyed farmlands and forcefully commenced the laying of pipelines in Ogoni without the consent of the people.
“Communications and inspections carried out in Biara and Bera in Gokana local government area as well as Korokoro and Botem in Tai local government area reveal military-backed pipeline laying activities without the people’s consent.
“For Shell to be engaged in destroying farmlands in a society that depends predominantly on farming for food and family support, we are deeply concerned that Shell’s action is not only destroying livelihoods but also endangering the future of our people.
“We further note that Shell has not conducted an environmental impact assessment (EIA) on how its current activities impact the lives of our people, rather, it is now destroying livelihoods with attendant implications for food shortages.”
But the Spokesman for the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd, Mr. Joseph Obari, responding to the allegations raised by MOSOP, said no new pipelines were being laid in Ogoni but repairs of its 24inch TNP, which has been redundant since 2013.
Obari stated that all the affected communities have been adequately engaged and full support of all the host communities secured, prior to mobilisation of its repair crew.
He also explained that the repair work has provided employment and other benefits for the host communities, adding that the works are restricted and contained within SPDC’s right of way and so far, no farmland has been impacted.
“The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd is carrying out repair work on the 24inch Trans Niger Pipeline which passes through a part of Ogoniland and beyond.
“The scope of work involves replacement of vulnerable sections of the pipeline; the 24inch TNP has been shut in since 2013 awaiting this maintenance.
“No new pipelines are being laid, and it is not true that SPDC is executing the work in preparation for resumption of oil production in Ogoni land which was stopped in 1993,” Obari said in the statement.