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Expulsion of Shell from Ogoni, Nigeria Hailed

Tuesday 10 June 2008

Expulsion of Shell from Ogoni, Nigeria Hailed

The expulsion of Shell Oil from Ogoni country in the Niger Delta by the Nigerian Government was hailed in Wellington today by the Environment and Conservation Organisations of NZ as a wake up call to the big oil companies to clean up their environmental performance and their impacts on local people., says Cath Wallace, spokesperson for ECO.

"Shell's performance and behaviour in the Niger Delta in South West Nigeria has been controversial for years. Despite promises of reform, the Ogoni people have continued to suffer on-going oil leaks, contamination and lack of access to revenues or benefits from the oil wells and pipelines that criss-cross Ogoni. The people have been abused and Shell continues to flare gas as though climate change was just a bad dream.

"The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People, MOSOP, one of the main organisations voicing Ogoni concerns, has responded non-violently over the years - they deserve recognition for their patience in the face of on-going abuses and grief.

"The Nigerian Government has decided that Shell must go because of the company's irreparably damaged relationship with the Ogoni people. This damage has been sealed in blood many times, and most notably in the mid 1990s when writer Ken Saro Wiwa and the Ogoni 21 were imprisoned and nine hanged, including Ken Saro Wiwa, after years of mistreatment and farcical trials.*

"Prior to the trials, a civil case with an arms dealer and Shell saw documents filed in the Port Harcourt High Court which showed that Shell was arming and providing other supplies to the Spy police who were attacking the Ogoni people. Grisly footage of burnt bodies in torched houses, hacked up children and other evidence emerged during the 1990s in this period.

"The expulsion of Shell marks an opportunity for a whole new approach to oil extraction and management, and provides the government and the community with the opportunity to tackle environmental and community concerns. It is very positive that the government has taken account of the Ogoni concerns, said Wallace.


1 See the Ogoni Statement attached and below and the link to the statement by Ken Wiwa below.

2 New Zealander Chris Newsom is based in the Niger Delta and has been working with MOSOP until recently.

The text of the MOSOP reaction and contact details are below, and their statement is attached.

*Son of Ken Saro Wiwa, Ken Wiwa's reaction [quoted as Y'Adu spokesperson] can also be found


Statement from the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People

June 5, 2008


The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) has today commended the Federal Government's decision to appoint another operator in place of Shell for the Ogoni area, describing it as a bold step that stands the brightest chance of quickening the resumption of oil activities in Ogoni.

Commenting on the development, the President of MOSOP, Mr. Ledum Mitee, said today in Port Harcourt:

"We agree that the relationship between Shell and the Ogoni people has been damaged irreparably and therefore the President's decision is timely and appropriate."

"There is now a profound opportunity for the Federal Government to recognise and address the grievances of the Ogoni people in a manner that can bring hope to the whole Niger Delta region. A dialogue on the way forward that centres around the Ogoni Bill of Rights would do much to reassure our people".

We note the reports that commitments have been made to address existing environmental damage. It is vital that the remediation of Ogoni is an exercise that is treated with urgency, transparency, and commitment by all parties.

"As to any future oil company we see this as an opportunity for government to seek an operator who can play a transformational role by recognising the centrality of human rights, justice, and the environment from the outset of its operations".

"MOSOP will in the days ahead seek to play a constructive and leading role in the debate over what will be requried of an oil operator to win the confidence of our communities and provide a groundbreaking positive model for the Niger Delta".


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