NPDC Takes Over Shell’s Wells in Ogoniland?

By mosop media

Read the first reaction of the Ogoni people through the MOSOP President /Spokesman, Hon. Goodluck Diigbo

Join this unfolding development to share ideas with the Ogoni people, oil companies and the government. This is a significant unfolding situation in the global oil industry. Ogoni is Nigeria's most devastated oil drilling field. The European Parliament describes the situation in Ogoni as an environmental nightmare. Ogoni wants a meaningful resolution and this is the time to offer your ideas and suggestions.

When the Anglo-Royal Dutch/Shell started oil operations in Ogoni in southern Nigeria, it was known as Shell-BP. In June 2009, Shell settled a case of murder of Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight others out of a court in New York for $15.5 million. Shell wanted to use that settlement to return to Ogoniland where it had stopped operations over a decade.

It was not certain whether or not, Shell still had right to operate under international law or go to arbitration to sort things out with its partners. With recent troubles with BP, with which Shell shares common secretive policy and the habit to hide information; Shell has been pressured by its own conscience to finally get out of Ogoni.

Yet, Shell's pipes still run across Ogoni land carrying crude to oil Bonny Terminal near Ogoni for export. The Ogoni case vs. Shell and Nigeria is a case to watch as things begin to unfold.

As MOSOP Leader, I have issued my first reaction to the announcement today that Shell is handing over its operations to Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, NPDC - an arm of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC. The Ogoni demands were made also on NNPC, a senior partner of Shell operations in Nigeria. To hand over Shell's operations to NPDC does not make sense, because NNPC has not settled its own dispute with the Ogoni people.

Shell says it is handing over and at the same says it wants to remain a partner in Ogoni. The Ogoni had demanded for self-determination according indigenous peoples rights as well as corporate accountability for human and environmental rights violations. The settlement in New York was a tip of the iceberg.

The link below can take you to my preliminary reaction published in my column:

NPDC takes over Shell's Oil Wells in Ogoni?
I read the Business Day online report of July 20, 2010 today. I cannot attest to the credibility of the statement given the unofficial manner in which it was released online. My first reaction is that in this course of action, if true; the government and oil companies should have taken the Ogoni into confidence as a matter of due process. However, the statement alludes to possibility of resolution of conflicts associated with oil before oil operations can resume in Ogoni. MOSOP welcomes dialogue and not use of force or violence by government or oil companies. The idea to resolve conflict is exactly what I want to see happen. It is why I met with a number of oil companies last year; but they need to show good faith, which is currently lacking. Conflict resolution will usher in peace and create enabling environment for many positive activities. People in this part of the world are reading about what is happening to BP. It should be instructive to government and oil companies on how they treat inhabitants of oil communities in Nigeria. Good relationship with them can mean the entire world.

MOSOP continues to maintain that oil operations may or may not resume in Ogoniland subject to genuine dialogue; proper resolution of all outstanding conflicts over oil operations and valid actions to meet the demands of the Ogoni people as contained in the Ogoni Bill of Rights (1990).In any talk about oil operation in Ogoniland, MOSOP will consult with the people at the grassroots because that is where the most resentful victims live. People who do not want to hear anything about oil operations unless Ken Saro-Wiwa is brought back to life. This is why dialogue is so important; especially when many realize that Saro-Wiwa was innocent and the demands he gave his life for not addressed. There is a lot of anger in Ogoniland. I am an optimist and believe things will improve for the Ogoni people under my leadership.

Oil is a very sensitive issue in Ogoni. Oil is like a naked electric cable. The people are in distress. The January 4, 2010 murder of Ndikeh Ndeemor did not help. I have weighed the online statement against human rights issues; the specific Ogoni demands and the current atmosphere of tension following the miscarriage by UNEP in Ogoni. There are clearly multiple issues to be tackled; including commitment to respect the right to life; right to land; all indigenous rights of the Ogoni people. The process of dialogue will be the starting point and that can give birth to commitment to justice, freedom and peace.

I believe with Dr. Goodluck Jonathan as Nigeria's president; this is a new era and he can make it an era of dialogue in Nigeria. President Jonathan knows about oil and the agony of victims of oil operations. For him, this may be too much expectation; I don't have a clue; but the bulk stops at his own table. The views of MOSOP as the voice of the Ogoni people will be vital and MOSOP is always willing to engage as matter of priority. In democracy, dialogue is considered a democratic process or genuine consultation under the rule of law.

Goodluck Diigbo
New York, July 20, 2010