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BBC Monitoring Service: Nigerian environment activist group supports new UN assessment of oil spills

BBC Monitoring Service – United Kingdom
Published: Oct 24, 2006

Text of report by Kelvin Ebiri entitled “MOSOP welcomes fresh UN assessment of oil spills” published by Nigerian newspaper The Guardian website on 24 October

The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) says it would support any environmental clean up within the framework of subsisting recommendations of both the United Nations (UN) Secretary General’s Fact Finding Team to Ogoni and the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Nigeria.

MOSOP, which said it had pulled out of the Ogoni/Shell reconciliation process headed by presidential facilitator, Rev Father Matthew Hassan Kukah, also alerted of a plot to destabilise Ogoni.

The group’s Information Officer, Mr Bari-Ara Kpalap, said in Port Harcourt yesterday that allowing the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) into the country to assess the environmental impact of oil activities in Ogoni land was in order, since no other UN organ had taken any position different from the recommendations of the UN’s Fact-finding Team to Ogoni or that of the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and fundamental freedoms in Nigeria.

Kukah had over the weekend in Port Harcourt announced that a special team from UNEP would be due in Ogoni this month end for a detailed assessment tour of oil spill sites in the area, with a view to commencing clean-up exercises in the affected communities.

Kpalap described references to the UN by Kukah as a charade aimed at saving Shell from losing its oil concessions in the Ogoni area since the oil wells had remained dormant for over 12 years.

He said: “MOSOP urges all Ogoni and its allies worldwide to understand this mindless act of desperation by Shell and its collaborators, against the backdrop of recent announcement by the Federal Government to remove Ogoni oil concessions from Shell.”

Kpalap said MOSOP was worried that Kukah could claim to “facilitate a so-called stakeholders meeting at which an already prepared ‘communique’ announcing a reconciliation between Shell and Ogoni which would usher in a new era of oil production in the area by Shell was made.”

The group regretfully recalled that at the time when Ogoni was an oasis of peaceful resistance in the Niger Delta, those saddled with the sacred responsibility for law, order and reconciliation should have done everything to consolidate peace instead of precipitating a fresh crisis.

He appealed to the Ogoni to refuse to be provoked into taking any precipitate action that would lead them to the path they had trodden and suffered before.

“We must resolve not to be deceived by anybody, not even by their supposed religious background, into other crises.” Kpalap added.

“For the avoidance of doubt, MOSOP as an organization committed to non-violence supports reconciliation based on honesty and transparency with no predetermined outcome,” he stated.

Source: The Guardian website, Lagos, in English 24 Oct 06

BBC Monitoring

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