…We didn’t destroy farmlands, just effecting repairs on 24″ TNP – SPDC
By DAVIES IHEAMNACHOR
PORT HARCOURT—MOVEMENT for the Survival of the Ogoni People, MOSOP, Rivers State, says it will petition the United Nations yet again over alleged devastation of farmlands in Ogoni communities by Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, in the course of laying new oil pipelines in the oil-rich area.
MOSOP said renewal of the pipelines in the area by the multinational oil firm was clearly a disregard for the people of Ogoni, as it ought to have conducted Environmental Impact Assessment, EIA, before resumption of activities.
Speaking in Port Harcourt, the President of MOSOP, Comrade Legborsi Pyagbara, wondered why SPDC would be insistent on renewing its facilities if it was not for oil exploration.
No plan to resume oil exploration in Ogoni- SPDC
Meanwhile, SPDC said it stood by its earlier statement on the renewal of its pipelines in Ogoni remains, adding there was no plan to resume exploration in the area.
Spokesman, Joseph Obari, said: “The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) is carrying out repair work on the 24” Trans Niger Pipeline (TNP) which passes through parts of Ogoni land and beyond.”
“The scope of work involves replacement of sections of the existing pipeline. No new pipelines are being laid. The 24” TNP has been shut in since 2013 awaiting this maintenance. SPDC has no plans to resume oil production in Ogoni land which was stopped in 1993.
“The maintenance work involves repairs on the 24” TNP, both in the Ogoni axis and beyond. The affected communities have been adequately engaged and their support secured prior to mobilisation of the repair crew. The repair work is providing employment and other benefits for the host communities.
“The works are restricted and contained within SPDC’s right of way, and so far, no third party land has been impacted,” he stated.
Signals NASS, NHRC
Pyagbara said: “As part of its campaign, MOSOP presented this case before the United Nations Human Rights Council, last November, and also initiated an online global campaign against the laying of the pipeline in Ogoni land, which had generated over 2,000 signatories of support from all over the world.
“MOSOP had also petitioned the National Assembly and the National Human Rights Commission to intervene in this matter. In the coming days, MOSOP will be returning to the United Nations to make the world body know that the Nigerian government and Shell are still bulldozing Ogoni farmlands and continuing with the laying of these pipelines.
“MOSOP reiterates its earlier position that Shell’s continuing laying of pipelines in Ogoni land is a negation of the environmental rights of the Ogoni people and a great display of impunity against the extant laws of this country,” he asserted.
Not against oil exploration
While calling on the Federal Government to reduce bottlenecks delaying the cleanup process in Ogoni land, he explained that MOSOP was not against resumption of oil exploration, but maintained that firms that want to come to Ogoni must ensure they carry residents along in the oil business.
“We call on the Federal Ministry of Environment to break down the wall of bureaucracy hampering the work of HYPREP to immediately cause the release of necessary funds for the agency to work. The unmitigated delay between approvals and release of funds is killing the UNEP Report implementation process,” Pyagbara said.