Shell Must Clean Up Ogoni Before Selling $2.4bn Onshore Assets, Says CEPEJ

Shell Must Clean Up Ogoni Before Selling $2.4bn Onshore Assets, Says CEPEJ

Sunday Aborisade in Abuja

The National Coordinator, Centre for Peace and Environmental Justice (CEPEJ) Chief Mulade Sheriff, has appealed to the federal government to ensure that Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) concludes the multi million dollar Ogoni clean up project before leaving the country.

Sheriff who made the call yesterday while addressing journalists in Abuja, said he was speaking on behalf of other environmental rights activists in the Niger Delta on the need to save the region from further degradation as a result of oil spills, illegal bunkering and oil theft.

Shell announced recently that it was set to conclude over six decades of operations in Nigerian onshore oil and gas after agreeing to sell its subsidiary to a consortium of five mostly local companies for up to $2.4 billion.

Residents of the oil rich region have accused it of numerous onshore oil spills as a result of theft, sabotage and operational issues that led to costly repairs and high-profile lawsuits.

The firm has since 2021, been making moves to sell its Nigerian oil and gas business, but said it would remain active in Nigeria’s more lucrative and less problematic offshore sector.

But Sheriff said yesterday at the news conference that  environmentalists and stakeholders of the Niger Delta had agreed to stop the SPDC from selling it’s multi billion dollars assets until it concludes the Ogoni clean-up project.

He said: “We have only one option, we are calling on the federal government to do the needful but if the government fails, we will institute a suit restraining the sales of those assets.

“We have already commenced the process. Because, until these things are done, we will not allow Shell to exit our land until the proper clean-up is done. Take for example, Oloibiri was the first land that produced the commercial quantity of oil for Nigeria in 1956, today, Oloibiri is history.

“There is nothing there again, the people are in abject poverty. The traditional occupation of the people, fishing and farming have been eroded.

“So, what do you expect? The continuous destruction of confiscated vessels by the Nigerian security agents and destroyed them openly, is against the ethics of environmental best practices.

“We have told the federal government and we have also called on the security agents for the past eight years and when you apprehend any vessel or local canoe, take these things to the Nigerian refineries.”

Sheriff said the people of Niger Delta will continue to commend the United Nations, whose report gave that opportunity for the clean-up of Ogoniland.

He said: “I can tell you authoritatively that that clean-up to many of us, who are environmentalists, is political. There’s nothing tangible on ground to write about.

“You can only see the clean-up exercise and the process on document. In the land of Ogoni, there’s nothing much. To many of us, we can describe it as a failed project to some extent.

“It will interest you to know that in the Niger Delta, there are more areas that are more polluted than Ogoniland but the good thing is that the people of Ogoni took it upon themselves and have been able to push their case to the international level, and that is why we are talking about Ogoni.

“There are areas that are more destroyed as a result of exploitation and exploration activities in the Niger Delta,” he added.

Related Articles