- Accuses UNEP of Compromising Report Integrity.
President of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), Fegalo Nsuke, says the fraud in the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) report was known to the Ogoni people despite the strong push MOSOP made for the implementation of the report. Addressing MOSOP Chapter Leaders in Biara, Gokana local government area yesterday, Sunday, March 20, Nsuke said "the UNEP report was skewed in favour of Shell and we knew that very well but we hoped to influence the implementation process in favour of the people, unfortunately we could not".
In obvious reference to a revelation by the HydroCarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) that 172 oil spill sites were not captured in the UNEP report, Nsuke said the UNEP report downplayed the level of Shell's pollution in the Ogoni area.
He said Shell Petroleum Development Company Limited, a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell PLC never ever wanted the world to know the gravity of their crimes in Ogoni and UNEP simply played their cards not minding how such actions affect the integrity of the report. The first attempt UNEP made to mislead the people was to blame locals for about 90percent of the spillages.
"The report was in favour of Shell in many ways, they funded the investigation and you know that he who pays the piper dictates the tune. Again they (Shell) wanted to downplay the gravity of the crimes and pollution of the Ogoni environment and UNEP, unfortunately, played their cards"
"Can you imagine that 172 oil spill sites were missing in the UNEP report, maybe even more than the number that were captured. That cannot be a mistake or some errors of oversight. If we were talking of 10 sites being missing, we can say it is a mistake or an oversite but we had a total of 172 oil spill sites that were missing out and not captured, according to government sources. It was deliberate I must tell you".
"So clearly, you see that just the way they were fraudulent in their investigation and reporting, deceiving the public about the magnitude of the crimes in Ogoni, they are also fraudulent in their implementation of the report" Nsuke said.
The MOSOP President said what is unfolding may be worse and more shocking than what we already know about Shell's damaging impact on the Ogoni environment and its peoples. He noted that all these revelations can give some insights into the amount of deaths Shell has caused in Ogoni. He however regretted that as time passes, it may become far more difficult to bring Shell to account for her crimes in Ogoni especially following the ceding of the oilfield operatorship to a different entity.
Nsuke described the Ogoni cleanup program as the symbol of Shell's shame. He noted that MOSOP has tried to get HYPREP back on track but like a rotten fish, it is a near impossible task to salvage HYPREP. The MOSOP president further noted that he is worried about whether the cover-up of Shell under the current cleanup program can be corrected especially with claims from the ministry of environment that some sites have already been completely cleaned and certified safe by government agencies.
"With the mess and corruption that stinks in HYPREP, which clearly is tied to the fraudulent UNEP investigation itself, coupled with Shell's strong influence on HYPREP's decision making organs, it is doubtful if the fraud in HYPREP can be corrected at this stage"
"HYPREP is like a big fish with a rotten head and I do not see what can be done to restore the fish and make it usable at this time" he said.
He however expressed hope that the Ogoni people will ultimately recover their damaged environment from its deplorable state. "We will ultimately get our environment cleaned if they won't," he said.