MOSOP requested that UNPO send a mission to Ogoniland in May 1993. Around the same time Shell International’s representatives suggested UNPO should visit Ogoniland to gain a better understanding of the situation.
A firm invitation from Shell International and Shell Nigeria was provided at a meeting with UNPO in November 1993. With invitations from MOSOP and Shell to undertake a fact-finding mission, UNPO hoped it would also provide an opportunity for preliminary talks between the parties, towards reducing tensions.
In March 1994 Shell1 changed its position and withdrew its invitation. By the planned date of departure, March 8, the Nigerian government had not granted visas to the UNPO Mission members.
In late 1994, with still no response from the Nigerian government, UNPO’s General Secretary decided to send a representative, Mr. Richard Boele, on an unofficial mission in February 1995. This decision was taken reluctantly and UNPO remains open for an official mission to visit the area, with the assistance of the Nigerian government, so the organization can better understand the Nigerian government and Shell’s views.
The Mission visited Lagos and Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
The mission coincided with the trial of Mr. Ken Saro-Wiwa, MOSOP President, and Ledum Mitee, MOSOP Vice president and Dr. Barinem Kiobel.
Mandate and Purpose of Mission
UNPO’s second General Assembly adopted on August 6, 1991 the resolution entitled, “Prevention of the Use of Force by States Against People Under their Rule”. This resolution reaffirmed the UNPO Covenant’s condemnation of the unprovoked use of all forms of violence by States against nations and peoples.
The resolution authorizes the UNPO Secretariat to intervene, at the Member’s request, in situations where the Member feels threatened by the use of force or other forms of violence. As the dispatching of missions is one of the UNPO’s primary methods of intervention, a mission was organized to investigate the situation of the Ogoni people of Nigeria.
The purpose of the UNPO Mission was as follows:
1. To obtain first hand information on the situation in Ogoniland
2. To prepare a report for distribution to governments, international organizations, NGOS, the press, Shell and other relevant parties in an effort to provide a more accurate picture of the situation and the aspirations of the Ogoni people.
3. To make recommendations to all concerned parties and to the international community with respect to the situation in Ogoniland.