SARO WIWA: OGONI LEADERS HAIL JUDGMENT
Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) said yesterday that with the $15 million compensation by Shell Petroleum Development Company to the families of Ogonis killed during their face - off with the oil giant and the Federal Government, the struggle for the protection of environmental rights and ensuring adherence to the path of justice was not in vain.
Reacting to the settlement option by Shell, President of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP), Mr. Ledum Mitte, who was elated at the development said it should in the end be made to cover all families who suffered during the period he referred to as time of repression.
“I feel that any settlement to the benefit of the several families that suffered for the repression that engulfed Ogoni in the 90s is a welcome development. It should be extended to all the families affected or involved.
“What I mean is that the compensation now is for the main plaintiffs in the matter but there is the larger interest we should extend it to. It should also be extended to the families of Ogoni four who are not plaintiffs in the case and the general Ogonis who were affected by the problem”, he said.
Reverend Father Pius Kii said he was very happy when he heard of it especially on the aspect of Shell realising that they were wrong in their approach to things, adding, “Yes, infact I felt very happy when I learnt about it. The issue is that if Shell has come to the realisation of their wrong and is ready to settle, there should also be compensation for those who were affected by the activities of Shell and it should be a lesson for other multi-nationals..
“When the issue was on, government was silent but now that Shell has realised what it did, the government should also come in and see what they can do for the people, they should extend it to other people who suffered from oil exploration”, he said.
Joy Nunien, a lawyer from Ogoni who has been at the vanguard of fighting for the rights of her people said the settlement was a vindication that they were right in their fight against the oil giant for over the years.
“What it means is that we have been vindicated. Ogoni 9 fought a good fight and their fight has not been in vain. We are vindicated. The struggle has not been in vain. The family of the Ogoni 10 who instituted this matter did not fight in vain, ” she said.
Asked if it will pave way for the return of Shell to Ogoni, she replied, “Allowing Shell to come back to Ogoniland is like a man killing your father and fighting to get you mom”.