Ogonis Reject Oil Resumption Before Cleanup
Oil is the mainstay of the Nigeria economy, hence, the world should be appalled that a nation whose economy is dependent on the oil industry has no clear cut industrial laws, and laws that protect the oil-bearing communities from the enormous hazardous environmental side effects of gas flaring and oil spillages on peoples’, farmlands, swamps, streams, rivers, and the atmosphere. It is grossly unacceptable that some privileged Nigerians who sleep quietly thousands of miles away from the hazardous harms of oil production are the owners of oil wells and oil blocks in Nigeria. It is bemoaning and we find it unacceptable that President Mohammadu Buhari and his administration that claim to play by democratic rules have turned blind eyes to the death toll in Ogoni and the rest of the Niger Delta in preference to oil extraction by treating the environmental cleanup of Ogoni with levity.
The Center for Accountability, Transparency, and Human Development (CATHUD), a United States based Justice, Human Rights and oil industry watch group is appalled, saddened, and wish to shine a light on the politicization of the environmental clean-up of Ogoni. CATHUD also want to highlight the glaring monumental corruption and nepotism at the Nigeria Ministry of the Environment and its agency; the Hydrocarbon Restoration Project (HYPREP)), an agency charged with the award of contracts and management of the Ogoni environment restoration project. We are also seeking answers as to why strategic or premeditated insecurity/ threats in Ogoni have become a precursor to the Nigerian government’s Ogoni oil resumption scheme, which we find as sinister and threatening.
Eight years to date, the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) released a comprehensive scientific report on the Ogoni environment. The 257 pages graphic report is an indictment of Royal Shell Oil Company that the Ogonis have accused of environmental racism and double standards. The UN agency also identified benzene 900 times above World Health Organization (WHO)'s recommended standard in drinking water in Ogoni beside other toxic carcinogens. The UN agency acknowledged that, it would take 30 years to do a proper cleanup and remediation of Ogoni ecosystems. However, what was worrisome about the report was why only a paltry sum of One Billion ($1billion) dollars was recommended for the flag-off of the cleanup in spite of the adept qualitative, quantitative, and graphic nature of the report.
We may point out that as the Ogonis mark eight years of the UNEP report and three years since the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, a man that was supposed to be a bearer of the truth, launched the window dressing/ flag-off of the cleanup on June 02, 2016, the project has remained a white elephant, an illusion, and one of the highest deceits and shams in human history. The world should be horrified at the Nigerian government's level of politicking and should demand action and reasons for the politicization of such a vital project.
The world should not look the other way because the Ogoni people need comrades in their struggle for justice and a clean environment. People of goodwill should begin to write to the Royal Dutch Shell Oil Company and the Nigeria government and demand answers why against all odds, the duo want to return to Ogoni for oil resumption, using gorilla and hostage take-over methodologies of bribery and terrorizing residents and indigenous peoples. We demand answers to why Nigeria and Shell Oil split a 2,800 sq. Km Ogoni Oil Block (Ogoni Oil Mining License (OML 11) into three (3)using quasi excuses; and why the cleanup of the Ogoni environment would be tied to a "concurrent" resumption of Oil activities per the Ministry of the Environment.
The CATHUD, USA bemoans the silence following wide-ranging investigative journalism by Premium Times of June 11, 2019, "How Buhari administration awarded Ogoni cleanup contracts to unqualified firms". The paper detailed how the Ogoni cleanup and remediation is a fraud. For instance, how the secretary of the Federation, Mr. Abba Kyari awarded part of the cleanup to his company using his brother as a front. It also detailed how some companies like Basic Nigeria Technology Limited, a company registered to carry on business as manufacturers of palm kernel oil products were allotted contracts for the cleanup of petroleum oil spillages, even when they don't have clean up licenses and certifications. If this does not move the world into questioning Shell Oil and Nigeria what would?
What the Ogoni People want:
On this eight anniversary date of the UNEP report and in the face of the apparent threats to the Ogoni people, The Center for Accountability, Transparency, and Human Development reached out to thousands of the Ogonis in Nigeria and in the Diaspora. Over 92% of the Ogonis surveyed want Nigeria to sign a Treaty with them for a guarantee of Autonomy as of right. They want to be protected and be classified as a protective class. They want a Treaty that would include provisions of the Ogoni Bill of Rights (OBR) and exoneration of MOSOP leadership(including Africa's foremost Environmentalist, Ken Saro Wiwa) falsely accused and murdered along others in 1995.
On the cleanup, the Ogoni people want the cleaning of their environment and ecosystems to the headed by the UN Environmental Program (UNEP) in partnership with the U.S Department of Energy (Office of Environmental Management), the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), the Harvard University, and a consortium of licensed internationally recognized expatriate firms like Ardaman and Associates, Partner Engineering and Science, Inc., etc.
Going forward, the Ogoni people want a designed plan of each cleaning site, site characterization, remedial cost estimates, and soil and groundwater remediation techniques, amongst others. The Ogoni people want the involvement of Commonweal.org; a U.S based organization that would undertake a Bio-metric assessment of the Ogoni people (Social Assessment Impact Studies). No study has been on the impact of oil extraction on humans and animals. This is undertaken and accounted for in the civilized world. The Ogoni people no longer want to be treated like a menu, they are the goose that lays the golden egg and demands seats at the table in deciding the faith of Ogoni and its people. Henceforth, as part of the planning pertaining to Ogoni, the Ogoni people want their representatives drawn from the diaspora and among Ogonis in Nigeria. The UNEP is as a result of commitment of concerned Ogonis and their NGO network around the world.
The threat to the Ogoni race from Shell Oil Company and Nigeria's government is real and formidable. Those threats are based on oil resumption in Ogoni and we have enough evidence of their evil plans. Recently as of March 2019, Mr.Abba Kyari, Chief of staff to President Buhari issued such threat in a memo Reference number SH/COS/24/A/8540, entitled, "Operatorship of Entire Oil Mining Lease (OML 11.)”
The United States and the rest of the world MUST not sit in silence. The world should decipher into the annals of history and act fast because it could no longer feign ignorance as Ogoni is decimated by Shell Oil and the Nigeria authorities. The world must always remember its silence during the Jewish holocaust, the Hutu and Tutsi genocide, the Armenia genocide, and the genocide of the Rohingya Muslims (2017).
As a reminder of the evil plans against Ogoni, it is important to point out that several international professionals and organizations have voiced and appealed to the conscience of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Shell Oil Company to rescind their plan of forceful oil resumption in Ogoni before the cleanup of the Ogoni ecosystems to no avail. The Ogoni people have also called for their rights to be respected because in a Federation, all federating units have equal right. In lieu of this, Ogoni want Autonomy so as to be protected as a protective class and to establish an economy to aid their survival.
We hope the path of peace is preferred to the path of anarchy.
Mr. KorneBari Nwike
Terr. (Sir) James DonuBari Nalley
(Director of Media & Communications)
Fr. Anthony Kote-Witah, OFM,Cap
Director of International Liaison
* Hon. Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State, U.S. Department of States
* U.S. Department of Energy (Dept. of Environmental Management)
* Karen Ruth Bass, Chairperson, U.S. House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights & International Organizations
* Karen Ruth Bass, Congressional Black Caucus; U.S. House of Representatives
* The Rt. Hon. John Bercow, Speaker, British House of Commons, United Kingdom
* Pope Francis, The Vatican, Vatican City
* Hon. Ahmed Ibrahim Lawan, The President of the Senate, Nigeria
* Africa Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
* Corporate Accountability Lab
* Mr. Antonio Guterres, Secretary General, The United Nations
* Hon. Maria Fernanda Espinosa, President, United Nations General Assembly
* Corporate Affairs Secretary, Royal Dutch Shell Oil Company, The Hague
* Green Peace, USA
* Amnesty International, USA
* Oil Change international, USA
* Friends of the Earth
* The Press – BBC, Shellnews.net, vanguard