THE BIG STORY: After Saro Wiwa, another Ogoni activist resurrects, redirects Shell to quit as massive protest begins

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Following the jamboree cleanup exercise of Ogoniland embarked upon by the federal ministry of environment in collaboration with multinational oil firms, especially Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), the people of Ogoni land in Rivers state have asked SPDC to as a matter of urgency quit their land.

The people claimed that the company has allegedly exploited oil in the area worth over $49billion with no contribution to show that a multinational company operates in the land.

Consequently, a prince of Ogoniland, Ambassador Prince Victor Kirika on Thursday told journalists in Asaba: “shell is wicked and I am assuring them that come rain, come shine, they will leave Ogoni land. If they don’t quit, I will not leave.” He claimed that the company has impoverished the people and left them in sorrow.

“I am from Rivers state and a typical Ogoni man. I want the whole world to know that Shell Petroleum Development Company has deceived the Ogoni people. They connive with the federal government and they have taken everything that the Ogoni people have.”

Ambassador Kirika alleged that the company, in connivance with the former head of state, Sani Abacha, killed Ogoni people, saying: “They rendered over 700 Ogoni people homeless and they raped our women,” warning that the people would not sit down and watch their resources being looted and taken away by Shell.

His words: “We agreed that Shell and the federal government will commence the cleanup of Ogoni land. They did a flag-off but we never knew that they were deceiving us just because they wanted Senator Magnus Abe to win his senatorial seat,” maintaining that there was nothing like cleanup going on in Ogoni land.

“If anybody claims that there is cleanup going on in Ogoniland, let the person come out and show me,” he challenged, adding: “I was born and brought up in the village, they deceived us and after that they came now and started laying pipe. I went and stopped them and they threatened me with some police officers, they shot at us but we are not threatened because they have stolen from us,” he alleged.

He warned that Ogoni people would not fold their hands and watch their God given resources taken away from them by strangers, stating “we shall fight” not in a violence way, “that is why we are filing a suit in the International Criminal Court of Justice, demanding Shell to give to us 50per cent of the $49billion they have taken from Ogoniland and commence a full scale cleanup.”

He revealed that countries like Singapore, Dubai and Australia where cleanup were carried out are now like heaven on earth, adding “believe me, come to Ogoni land today, you will cry for the Ogoni people” even as he disclosed that “98percent of youths from Ogoni who are graduates earn a living from okada riding and I am here telling you people that $49billion has been taken away from the region. Shell, they are criminals,” he further alleged.

According to him: “They are fraudsters and killers. They should prepare, we will meet in the court. I am not afraid of anybody and nobody can intimidate me. Even the Ogoni people in the police are suffering,” saying that no Ogoni person would be silent over the alleged ills perpetrated against the people by the federal government and Shell.

He said Ogoni people are wallowing in abject poverty “while our oil goes out every day. I am pleading with Shell to peacefully carry their loads out of Ogoni land because from January 1, 2018, there will be protest in Ogoni land till they quit,” insisting that the Ogoni people do not want the company any longer to operate in the land.

He tasked the company to rebuild houses for the over 700 people they rendered homeless “and those people they raped, justice will take its course,” reiterating that the case the people would file to the International Criminal Court would be achieved before the end of January 2018.

On thepart of the federal government he said: “They are working with Shell. Whether they are the people who sent them, we don’t know but when the case comes up, we will see who is with them.”

He claimed that he has evidence to prosecute the company in court, saying: “I have all evidences concerning this and I have all proofs that Ogoni people are suffering, Shell has looted our money and as I speak to you, they are taking oil from Ogoni land.”

He disclosed that the “shell wire” empowerment and training programme organized by the company was allegedly aimed at defrauding the youths of millions while a paltry sum of N100, 000 and unusable tools were made available to the youths at the end of the training, “when I got to Shell, what they are collecting on behalf of these boys, is N3million each. They will connive with politicians from this region and embezzle the money,” he further alleged.

Our reporter who visited Ogoniland in October 2016 saw the devastation of the area ocassioned by the oil spillage that wiped out the economy and the farmlands of the area. The water bodies have been destroyed and the vegetation burnt with fire from oil.

The people also do not have water to drink as sources of water for the people is dirty streams that have leaves falling on them with very tiny flow routes. The major occupation of the people has been fishing and petty trading but for those interested in farming, their farmlands have been destroyed by oil sspillage.

Public relations officer of Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), Fegalo Nsuke, has been battling Shell over the danger its activities have posed to the people of the area, even as he joined Victor Kirika to call for the evacuation of Shell from Ogoniland saying the company’s resumption of oil exploration was against the wishes of Ogoni people.

 

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