MOSOP Berates Shell Over Failure to Remit Clean-up Funds, Attempts to Resume Operations in Ogoni

The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) has expressed disappointment over the failure of Shell Petroleum to remit the funds meant for the clean-up of Ogoniland. President of MOSOP, Legorsi Saro Pyagbara made this known yesterday in Port Harcourt during a chat with newsmen.

"It is unfortunate that Shell is using all types of scheming to divide, blackmail the Ogoni people and misinform the public about the true situation on the Ogoni cleanup" he said.

Pyagbara said Shell was not keeping to an agreement reached during negotiations between the Ogoni community, the Federal Government and the oil company. He said it was agreed that the oil company will provide US$200,000,000 to the Ogoni Trust Fund on an annual basis to fund the clean-up of Ogoniland. Unfortunately, Shell has not provided the fund and that was frustrating the clean-up of the area.

Pyagbara said Shell should address the issues raised by the Ogoni people and not misinform the public. He said claims by Shell to have provided $10million for the cleanup of Ogoniland was misleading since the $10million grant to HYPREP, the government agency for the clean-up, was meant to be a take-off grant for the work of the HYPREP secretariat.

Pyagbara condemned attempts by the oil company to resume oil operations in Ogoniland through the back door using a partnership with the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) and doing so without the discussions and the permission of the Ogoni people.

The Ogoni people led by The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) has in the past 25years been drawn in a costly battle over unacceptable business practices of Shell which led to the total destruction of the Ogoni environment. In 1993, Shell was forced out of Ogoniland after series of coordinated protests by the Ogoni people. In a state-backed repression that followed, over 3,000 Ogonis have been killed. The climax was the hanging of nine activists in 1995 including the Ogoni leader Ken Saro-Wiwa. Shell has recently been accused of bribery to divide the Ogoni people in a bid to resume operations in the area without negotiating with the people. MOSOP insists that there will be no negotiations with Shell until the company cleans its mess in the area.