Date Published: 07/22/10
COUNCIL OF OGONI PROFESSIONAL
COP INTERNATIONAL , USA.
July 21, 2010.
Press Release Re: NPDC, takes over Shell's Oil Wells in Ogoniland
The attention of the Council of Ogoni Professionals (COP-USA) has been drawn to the article published in the Business Day of Tuesday, 20 July 2010, captioned "NPDC, takes over Shell's oil wells in Ogoniland".
In the statement published in this newspaper and credited to Abbiye Mambere, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) - the oil production arm of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC), it is disclosed that "the NPDC will enter into partnership with Shell Petroleum Development Company..." with a view to taking over the abandoned oil well in Ogoniland and subsequently resuming operations in the area.
In view of the foregoing, the Council of Ogoni Professionals (COP-USA) consider the remarks of Abbiye Mambere as a slap on the face of the Ogoni people because it is the irresponsibility and lack of oversight on the part of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that led to the devastation of the Ogoni environment and the denigration of Ogoni people by Shell and ultimately resulted in the death of Ken Saro-Wiwa and other Ogoni leaders. The fact that Abbiye is only concerned about increasing the company's "reserve base" and the associated revenue without first and foremost considering the plight of our bereaved and impoverished families is a height of irresponsibility and greed on the part of the company. We therefore condemn such insensitivity and subsequently demand an immediate apology from the NNPC and NPDC through Abbiye Mambere.
Moreover, Council of Ogoni Professionals (COP-USA) uses this special opportunity to restate that whether it is any company is operated by Shell, NPDC, Treasure Resources Limited, or even Ogoni as the name, no oil production would commence in Ogoniland until the Ogoni people have negotiated the terms of any further oil production in the area with the Nigerian authorities and the oil operators concerned in an environment devoid of any intimidation, with such negotiations held with the authentic leadership of the Ogoni people selected on the basis of their credibility and trust-worthiness.
Furthermore, any oil production in Ogoni will only resume after the oil spill and other environmental problems caused by Shell's reckless oil operations in the area has been addressed and a new Social, Environmental and Health Impact Asessments Studies of the future of oil operations in the area has been carried out in accordance with international standards.
Furthermore, we use opportunity provided by this publication to inform the management of NNPC, the NPDC and the present leadership of Nigeria that the creation of Bori State is a practical way of resolving the Ogoni crises, hence they should support the creation of Bori State, most especially now that the Nigerian National Assembly has indicated its readiness to create more states. The creation of a state for the Ogoni people is one of the major demands enshrined in the Ogoni Bill of Rights (OBR) and there is no going back or shifting ground on this demand.
Finally, we remind the public that contrary to the impression that Ogoni struggle is over because we have not embarked on massive protests in recent times, that the struggle is not over, rather, the Ogoni people, most especially COP is using this time to assess what has happened to our nationality in the wake of our struggle and pondering on any new strategy that it might adopt in its determination in actualizing our struggle. We hope that that the NNPC and the government would not adopt the failed policy of Abacha which centered around the use of force, as such steps would be detrimental to the prospect of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) resuming oil operations in Ogoni in the near future through its subsidiary Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC).
Comrade Barima Victor Wifa