By Jimitota Onoyume
PORT HARCOURTâ€” MOVEMENT for the Survival of Ogoni People, MOSOP, has hailed the judgment of a Federal High Court, Asaba, which awarded N15.4 billion in favour of Ejama Ebubu community in Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State in a suit by the community against Shell.
The court had awarded the cost as generalÂ and punitive damages caused byÂ oil spill in 1970 from the operations of the Anglo Dutch oil giant.
MOSOP in a statement by Mr. Sunny Zorvah, said the judgmentÂ would go a long way in checkingÂ the reckless operations ofÂ multinational oil firms in the Niger Delta region.
â€œThis is one of other applaudable efforts that would help bringÂ justice to the continued reckless and irresponsible activities of the oil companies operating in Ogoni and other parts of the Niger Delta and their disregard of the rights of people, who have been deprived of the right to self sustenance, education and good life.
â€œWe hope that Shell will stop its legal filibuster, which had kept the case in court for almost a decade and deprived the community of justice for decades. If Shell wishes to convince the world that it appreciates Ogoniland and other areas of the Niger Delta and not just profits, then it should take elementary lesson from the Gulf of Mexico BP spill, where even before ascertainment of cause and containment of the spill, local fishermen were being compensated to the extent that some affected fisher folks said they got more than their usual revenue,” he added.
â€œThere have been numerous internationally known cases of extractive disasters in Ogoni and other territories of the Niger Delta, including oil spills resulting from failed equipment of the oil companies, which, government, rather than stand by the affected communities had not only left them to their fate but had deviously colluded with the firms to inflict and worsen their woes. A case in point is the April 2009 manifold fire and spillage in Kegbara Dere, Ogoni, confirmed to have been caused by the failure of Shellâ€™s field facility.
â€œSituations also abound where government had ordered armed soldiers and para-military personnel to murderously quell peaceful protests against the ecological war waged by the oil moguls in the Delta region. One recent example is the Baranyonwa Dere incident where soldiers acting as security shield to Shell officials opened fire on the people, killing one Mr. Bari-ara Vurasi Lemon in April 2010. Believing that this order will be respected and implemented urgently, we call on the polluter, SPDC, to de_pollute and rehabilitate the dry land swamps to its pre_impact status,â€ he added.