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BBC Monitoring Service: Nigeria: Ogoni rights group accuses oil giant Shell of breaching peace talks

Nigeria: Ogoni rights group accuses oil giant Shell of breaching peace talks
BBC Monitoring Service – United Kingdom; Apr 17, 2006

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Text of report by Kelvin Ebiri entitled “Mosop warns Shell” published by Nigerian newspaper The Guardian website on 16 April

The Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) has accused Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) of breaching the ongoing reconciliation talks with the Ogoni.

It alleged that Shell unilaterally entered into the Yorla oil field to work its oil facilities without the consent of the people.

In a statement last Thursday, Shell's management accused irate Ogoni youths of attacking 13 of its staff, who went on inspection of its oil wells in Ogoni, to assess their integrity preparatory to securing them.

The management explained that its workers went to clean up the spills caused by the rupture of the company's pipeline at Bomu Well-2 but that the team's vehicles and equipment were also seized.

SPDC, which was forced to pull out of Ogoni in 1993, sent its officials to the area, following an appeal by the Rivers State governor, Dr Peter Odili, to Ogoni communities to grant access to the company to secure facilities and clean spills.

However, MOSOP, which strongly condemned Shell, warned the multinational oil giant and those it referred to as her collaborators in and outside Ogoni to “immediately stop further provocative and unfriendly actions against the people of Ogoni.”

The [rights] group's information officer, Bari-Ara Kpalap, in a statement made available to The Guardian yesterday, iterated that Shell remains unwanted in Ogoni and must steer clear of the territory, as the company would be held responsible for any break down of law and order in the area.

Kpalap referred to one of the main items proposed and submitted by Shell to the facilitator of the government, Shell and Ogoni dialogue, [the] Rev Fr Matthew Hassan Kukah, for discussion at the talks.

That is for Shell to be allowed a thorough inspection of all its facilities in Ogoni, to assess their current conditions, secure and make them safe in order to prevent any further environmental or safety incidents.

Kpalap said: “In our view, once the parties that have declared commitment to the process have submitted the issues for discussion and resolution to an agreed facilitator, it behoves on the parties to allow the issues to be resolved through the same process and not to take steps to undermine it.”

Source: The Guardian website, Lagos, in English 16 Apr 06

BBC Monitoring

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