MOSOP goes hard on Wike, voids ‘purported acquisition of Shell’s 45 percent stake in OML 11’

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Kelechi Kas

The apex Ogoni socio-political group, the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People, MOSOP, has voided the “purported acquisition of Shell’s 45 percent stake in OML 11 by the Rivers State Government”

MOSOP president, Legborsi Pyagbara, stated this during its National Executive Council meeting held at the state secretariat of the organization in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria on Friday, October 4th, 2019.

The meeting called to amongst others deliberate on the broadcast by the
Governor of Rivers State, His Excellency, Chief Barr. Nyesom Wike that Rivers State Government had acquired Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC’s) 45 percent stake in OML 11, was attended by members of the MOSOP national executive council and some other invited participants.

The organisation in a 14 points communique, condemned the continuing humiliation of the Ogoni people by state actors particularly with the brazen, insensitive, outrageous, dismissive and
insulting manner in which government officials at all levels treat the matter of OML 11 which comprises the Ogoni oilfields.

According to MOSOP: “First, it was Chief Abba Kyari’s leaked letter in March 2019 directing NNPC to commence plans for the resumption of oil production in Ogoniland in October 2019 and now Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State reporting of a purported acquisition
of OML 11 and the eventual take-off of oil resumption in 15months, all these
done without the slightest consultation with the Ogoni people or their free, prior and informed consent sought as guaranteed under international human rights law.

“The Council observed that the Ogoni Oil fields is only a part of OML
11.Whereas oil production continues to take place in other fields in OML 11,
it is only in the Ogoni oil fields that oil operations ceased since April 1993.
Thus, the only field with subsisting conflict with the Nigeria state and Shell Petroleum Development Company is the Ogoni Oilfields in OML 11

MOSOP noted that the stoppage of oil production in Ogoniland was the
result of the Ogoni campaigns for environmental protection, resource control, political justice and economic emancipation,adding that the Ogoni people declared Shell persona non-grata on January 4th, 1993.

MOSOP also observed in the meeting that this declaration ushered in a period of military repression of Ogoniland that resulted in the death of over two thousand souls,
fourteen Ogoni communities reduced to rubbles whilst thousands fled into
exile in Europe, America and Canada.

It reiterated that Ogoni is older than Nigeria that Ogoni was never
conquered and we continue to hold our ancestral domain recognized under international human rights law to our lands, territories, resources, culture and spirituality.

The meeting noted that international human rights law had affirmed the rights of ownership of Indigenous peoples over their lands, territories and natural resources.

Citing the case of the Ogiek vs. Kenyan Government, where the African Court on Human and Peoples Rights basing its decision on the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights which Nigeria had signed and domesticated,
upheld that the Ogiek had a communal right to their ancestral land, and that the expulsion of the Ogiek from this land against their will and without prior consultation, violated their property rights guaranteed by the Charter, it said the State had no right to grant concessions to third parties in their land.

MOSOP noted that even for the purpose of discussion, the secrecy and
inconsistencies surrounding the latest purported acquisition particularly as
inquiries at critical institutions relating to the oil industry such as the
Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Ministry of Petroleum
Resources, Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), NAPIMS and even Shell indicated absolute ignorance about how this so-called acquisition was carried out, is legendary and leaves much to be desired.

The Council maintained that the Ogoni people have always insisted that they are stakeholders in the ownership, exploitation and utilization of the natural
resources found in the bowels of their land. That is the core of the Ogoni
struggle.

“In pursuance of this position, a Committee was set up to establish a
template that would be the basis of petroleum operation in Ogoniland. The Ogoni people are about to discuss the report of that Committee”

The meeting therefore declared that in appreciation of paragraphs 6 and
8 above, where Ogoni rights of ownership have not been respected, all purported midnight acquisitions, divestments or licensure of the Ogoni
oilfields without broad consultation and agreement with the Ogoni
people are null and void and cannot stand.

“Ogoniland is not for Sale. The
inalienable resources of Ogoniland cannot be expropriated by private interests masquerading as public interest”

The meeting reiterated its position adumbrated before the former Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu last year that while the people of Ogoni are not opposed to the resumption of oil production in Ogoniland, the Ogoni area must be treated as an area of subsisting struggle against injustice meted against them by the duo of the Federal Government of Nigeria and Shell Petroleum Development Company; and requires a reconciliation process to look into the issues that had been raised over the
years and proffer a process of national healing, reconciliation and addressing of legacy issues arising from the decades of environmental degradation, political marginalization and repression.

MOSOP reiterated that any future discussion about resumption of oil
production in Ogoniland must address the issue of benefit sharing between the community, the government and the prospective oil company, the issue of community participation in the entire value chain of the industry and the
emplacement of a clear Environmental Management Plan for the fragile Ogoni ecosystem.

It recalled that MOSOP had called on the Governor of Rivers State,
His Excellency Nyesom Wike in the past to demonstrate statesmanship and inclusivity by supporting the Ogoni cause for justice and contribute to finding a lasting solution to the Ogoni crisis, adding the Governor failed to do it.

It said the Governor’s u-turn and his latest declaration of interest in acquiring the Ogoni Fields is a big surprise; and stressed that “if the Governor was trying to dance on the misery and penury of our fellow compatriots from Ejama, Ebubu community who have endured a
long struggle against the multinational giant, Shell since 1992 without any government support, then the dance steps are indeed faulty and the drummers living in fairyland”

The meeting urged “our brothers from Ejama, Ebubu community to continue to remain resolute and resilient and not to be distracted by any political intervention until justice is done to their case and the financial redress obtained”

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