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Divestment: Coalition Urges Shell To Steer Clear of Ogoni Oil 

“If oil production is to resume in Ogoni, there should be a referendum of Ogoni people that will sit down on a roundtable to discuss.”

A United States-based Ogoni advocacy group under the aegis of Centre for Democracy, Human Rights, and Anti-Corruption (CDHRAC) and the National Union of Ogoni Students (NUOS) International USA, have urged Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) to steer clear of Ogoni oil in its plan of divestment.

The group was reacting to Shell’s proposed sale of its onshore facilities in Nigeria including OML 11 in Ogoniland. 

They also called for a referendum among Ogoni people, home and abroad, to determine whether oil production can resume in Ogoniland or not after addressing the demands that led to the stoppage of oil production in 1993.

The coalition made the call in a statement jointly signed by Mr. Cornelius Dumerene, coordinator of CDHRAC, and Mr. Pius Nwinee, president of NOUS International, USA, and made available to journalists in Port Harcourt, yesterday. 

They further said that the issue of the resumption of oil activities in Ogoni is not something that can be decided upon without the involvement and participation of the generality of the Ogoni people.

They said “If oil production is to resume in Ogoni, there should be a referendum of Ogoni people that will sit down on a roundtable to discuss and decide the future of Ogoniland, and before discussing the possibility of oil production resumption in Ogoniland, issues stemming from the stoppage of oil mining in 1993 and the subsequent crisis leading to the killing of Ken Saro-Wiwa with eight others including over 3,000 other Ogoni people must be addressed first”.

The coalition called on the Federal Government to admit their wrongdoing to the Ogoni people, address oil transgressions against the Ogoni people, exonerate Ken Saro-Wiwa and all others who were labeled criminals and killed, among others, before discussion possible oil resumption in Ogoni.

Again, the statement mentioned that “issues around the Ogoni cleanup as recommended by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in the 2011 report must be fully implemented, and UNEP must verify that its recommendations have been fully carried out before discussing possible oil resumption in Ogoniland”.

Reacting to the Shell’s proposed sale of its onshore facilities in Nigeria, the coalition stated that “nobody can sit in New York, the Netherlands, or London and negotiate the sale of OML 11 as Shell does not own Ogoni Oil, having been declared persona non-grata and kicked out of Ogoni for more than 30 years.

“We therefore call on the Federal Government of Nigeria and President Bola Tinubu to reject Royal Dutch Shell’s purported backdoor sale of its onshore facilities in Nigeria without first addressing associated liability issues”, stressing that “a company that was chased out of Ogoni cannot return to sell the same facility that it does not own”. 

Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt

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