MOSOP reacts to court judgement ordering FG to renew Shell’s OML 11 for 20 years
The President of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), Chief Legborsi Pyagbara, has kicked against the judgment on twenty-year renewal of operatorship of Oil Mining Lease (OML)-11 in Ogoniland by the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC).
Pyagbara, on Saturday in Port Harcourt, stated that MOSOP had over the years consistently and non-violently drawn the attention of all institutions, successive governments, fellow Nigerian citizens and the international community to the persistent injustice and plight of the Ogoni people as host to SPDC.
The Federal High Court (FHC) in Abuja on Friday ordered the Minister of Petroleum Resources (President Muhammadu Buhari) to grant the renewal of OML-11 to SPDC for 20 years.
FHC, Abuja’s Justice Taiwo Taiwo, in his judgment delivered on Shell’s suit, ruled that the renewal would be for 20 years and not 30 years, as requested by the Anglo/Dutch oil giant.
SPDC was sent packing in 1993 from Ogoniland’s four Local Government Areas of Khana, Gokana, Tai and Eleme, while a renowned environmentalist, Ken Saro-Wiwa, and eight other Ogoni martyrs were hanged on November 10, 1995 at the Port Harcourt Prisons, during the regime of the late Gen. Sani Abacha.
MOSOP president said: “The abuses and injustice have continued unabated for over 60 years, from 1957, when oil was discovered in Ogoniland. Our peaceful and defenceless people have been killed in thousands, communities sacked, means of subsistence destroyed through reckless oil mining activities, polluting our environment, including farmlands, aquatic life and forest resources, without redress by the government or change of attitude by the oil companies, particularly SPDC.
“The judgment (of FHC, Abuja) came at a time that we have said consistently that the attempt to deal with the oil mining, extraction or in any other way, that the three parties must be brought in or carried along in discussing issues relating to oil licence. The community, as a critical stakeholder, must be carried along with the Federal Government and the oil company, in discussion relating to anything about licensing of any oil company to operate in Ogoniland, particularly, in discussing issues of externalities associated with oil extraction and even the question of benefits’ sharing.
“We have thought and had expected that having committed our lives, resources and everything about us into this non-violent struggle, and remaining law-abiding in the face of obvious oppression, suppression and provocation by most times combined forces of the oil giants and the government, that this injustice will cease and our people begin to have a new lease of life.
“It is, therefore, an issue of worry and deep concern that the cries, woes and anquish of the people of Ogoni seem not to be seen and understood, in a country they belong and have made huge sacrifices to keep Nigeria together and even growing.
“While we call on our (Ogoni) people not to be dissolutioned, but to remain calm, we appeal to the Nigerian government to act responsibly and do everything to protect the fundamental rights of the Ogoni people and all citizens of the country. We continue to demand justice for our people and we will never renage or compromise the people’s position on where they stand, particularly, as it relates to the issue of oil resumption in Ogoniland.
“We stress, for the umpteenth time, that in order to facilitate any issue relating to the resumption of oil production in Ogoniland that the issue of benefits’ sharing, community participation and environmental management plan of the Ogoni environment must be put in place and the Ogoni oil field continue to be treated as a green field, as far as the issue of oil operation is concerned.”
Pyagbara also assured that the leadership of MOSOP would engage the key actors, the Nigerian government and the oil multinationals on the latest decision of the FHC, Abuja and ensure the ideals of Ogoni struggle stand and to remain irrevocable.