Fumnanya Ojugbana, Lagos
The National Union of Ogoni Students (NUOS) International, United States of America (USA) and Ogoni Lives Matter International (OLM) (USA), have berated an Abuja High Court’s judgment, which granted 20 years’ license to Royal Dutch Shell in Ogoniland, Rivers State.
In a statement made available to journalists by the groups, titled: “Abuja High Court Opinion A Fraud,” and jointly signed by President of NUOS International USA, Pius Baripkoa Nwinee, Secretary General, Sampson B. Npimnee, Coordinator (OLM INTL, Ogoni Lives Matter), USA, Cornelius J.S. Dumerene and Secretary General, OLM International, USA, Toate Ganago, the groups said “The attention of National Union of Ogoni Students NUOS International, USA and, Ogoni Lives Matter International USA have been pinched to a fraudulent decision handed down by an Abuja High Court, granting 20 years’ license to the Royal Dutch Shell, which had been criticised and forced out of Ogoni for non-payments of rent, loyalty and other matters, as she found herself on a desperate ground to access its old colony, the Ogoniland, through the back door.
“Although we consider the decision as a huge blow to the Nigerian government, the President and Minister of Petroleum; the outcome is a testament that the Nigerian government has no sovereign rights or control over OML 11 Oil, but the Ogoni people.
“As a result, the court order granting 20 years’ license to Shell does not in whole or in part guarantee Shell right to Ogoni oil,” the statement read.
Also in the statement, the U.S-based groups stressed that they noted with surprise to “see deep holes in the government defense despite Shell gross violation, which range from oil theft, oil racketeering, organised crime, money laundering, bribery and kick-back scheme to defraud Nigeria, government couldn’t make a reasonable case against Shell.”
NOUS and OLM International added that the government’s argument was a mere propaganda, and that they viewed the opinion and ruling “as fraud, judicial and political tribalism, misuse and abuse of power.”
They emphasised that no independent court with competent authority will issue such an opinion to a company that they said had no legal ground to such request, adding that given that Shell’s license had been revoked democratically by the host community and that “this court decision is a total mockery of justice.”
NOUS then urged Ogoni people to go about their lawful activities and disregard the opinion, “as government and Shell conspiracy, and a distraction.”
They called on Ogonis to ignore, as well as reject Legbosi Pyagbara, “the corrupt and disgraced former MOSOP president’s ignorant utterance aired on FM, to appeal the ruling as inappropriate, insensitive, unintelligible and unacceptable. The said appeal will only unnecessarily give Shell a wedge.”
It was suggested in the statement that, “should judicial tribalism become the new route Shell hopes to use in accessing Ogoni oil through the back-door, we would like to suggest to Shell that a good place to start is for Shell and the government to be brave and face their fears now that the crime scene, prison and behind closed doors are talking, exposing their undercurrents while our leaders were killed, particularly now that the scandal that Aso Rock and the late Gen. Sani Abacha invited Brain Anderson, former CEO of Shell, to endorse, encourage the ploy that slaughtered and dismembered four Ogoni illustrious sons, an incident that trumped up charges that led to the hanging of Ken Saro-Wiwa, and eight other Ogoni activists three weeks before the incident.”
They reiterated that just as an “untrustworthy tenant” who refused to pay his/her rent and was consequently evicted 26 years ago, has no claim over his old apartment or landlord, so is “Shell corruption and their insensitivity to Ogoniland, laughable.”
The group pointed out that they hoped Shell understood that we live in an era when information travels like speed, adding that they were watching “to see how Shell will resume oil production in Ogoniland to kill one-million Ogonis.”
“We have repeatedly stated that Ogoni does not oppose oil resumption in Ogoniland. But Ogoni vehemently opposes oil theft and, therefore, reaffirm that Shell remains persona non grata in Ogoniland.
“Finally, we also want to use this medium to inform the Nigerian government and Shell that Ogoni oil is not for sale.
“An Ogoni indigenous company will be requesting the Ogoni mining license so as to create job for its youths and pay taxes to the Federal Government.”