The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) has hit back at Shell over the company’s claims that it conducts its business responsibly. Addressing a meeting of the Federation of Ogoni Women’s Association, FOWA, yesterday in Ebubu, Eleme Kingdom of Ogoni, president of MOSOP, Fegalo Nsuke said The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited, SPDC, also called Shell is a brutal and irresponsible company.
Nsuke, said Shell’s comments on about 9 oil spills which occurred in Ogoni over the past one year and some months suggest that Shell has not changed its dirty tactics and ecological war on Ogoni and was a clear testament that the company will never change nor support the people.
The MOSOP president said Shell should be ashamed of its unprecedented records of oil spill cases and the overall Ogoni pollution levels which had been acknowledged the world over as one of the most devastating.
He told the women that there is nothing responsible about Shell. He said all around Ogoni, the only that is unmistakably visible is Shell’s devastation.
“Look around you, all you see is greed, devastation, cheating, deprivations. As far as MOSOP is concerned, we have not seen anything responsible in Shell. All we see and can remember Shell for are its oil spills and divide and conquer tactics, military repression of the Ogoni people and a very brutal approach to sustain their dominance over the people”
The MOSOP president further said:
“Shell cannot tell us that sponsoring state terrorism against the Ogoni’s peaceful demand for justice amounts to responsible business practice, Shell cannot tell us that its role in the murder of some 4,000 Ogonis during the repressive years of the 1990s including the 1995 execurions amounts to responsible business practice” Nsuke said.
Nsuke said it is unfortunate that Shell does not understand what responsible business practices really mean. He maintained that it is irresponsible to practice double standards and take advantage of weak laws which do not protect the people.
“Shell’s conduct in Ogoni had been racist and promoted a system which did not hold oil companies accountable for endangering the lives of people. Oil companies in Nigeria are free to endlessly flare poisonous gasses and pollute the lands without punishments. Because the Nigerian laws are so weak not to punish for those crimes does not mean Shell’s practices are responsible”
The MOSOP leader further said the activities of Shell has sent thousands of people to early graves. Nsuke said responsible business practices should solve social problems and not cause deaths, noting that there is absolutely no circumstance under which cutting people’s lives short can be responsible business practice.
The MOSOP president called on the Nigerian authorities to consider a review of its petroleum industry laws vis-a-vis the operational guidelines to prioritize the protection of the people and environment and severely punish oil companies like Shell whose activities hurt the people and the environment.
Nsuke further called on the Nigerian government to heed the calls of MOSOP for the operationalization of an Ogoni Development Authority which he described as the hope of the Ogoni people and a win-win situation for all stakeholders including the government, the people and the oil industry.