Posted by News Express | 1 April 2017 | 1,441 times
The expected clean-up of Ogoni land may save the environment, but many may never recover from the terminal diseases pervading the area, and increasingly killing our people. Shell's lies and irresponsibility has left an irreparable damage on the health on thousands in Ogoniland, necessitating an urgent need for a health audit.
We are getting more revelation about Shell’s neglect and wickedness in Ogoniland. A German geologist, Kay Holtzmann, hired by Shell has recently revealed the Dutch petroleum giant’s concealed data on the level of environmental contamination of Ogoniland. Shell’s immediate response suggests that Holtzmann’s revelations did not require emergency measures. The company is largely self-serving and irresponsible, and will rather wish all Ogoni people die.
I call this Armageddon! It is a shame that Shell tried to conceal atrocities against the Ogoni humanity, people whom they exploited their natural resource and neglected for over 50 years. Yet, the multi-national oil czar will not get any punishment from the Nigerian state outside a meagre $1billion clean-up funding, which incidentally was recommended by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP). Livelihoods have been destroyed, and none will be compensated. Notwithstanding, both Shell and the Nigerian government continue to launder their images with a lazy-loaded clean-up programme, after many have died from heavy pollution, and many currently suffer from terminal illnesses. Shell should have been ashamed of her actions in Ogoni and act quickly to address this mess.
This is story of the neglect of a people whose land has contributed over $50 billion to the Nigerian economy; a minority community whose current contribution to the Nigerian economy still exceeds those of 20 states of the federation put together. A people callously neglected because of their small size. They may be the poorest of Nigeria's poor, yet they live on a richly-endowed land whose benefit they never feel. This is definitely a sad story to tell about an oil-bearing community in petroleum-exporting Nigerian state of the 21st Century.
Indeed, Ogoni land is faced with ultimate death. We are grappling to survive in an enormously degraded environment that can no longer sustain families, decreasing agricultural and maritime output, increasing insecurity and eventual recourse to stealing to survive. Even more shameful is the conscienceless attempt by Federal Government-owned drilling company – Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) – to resume oil production in the area.
The story of the Ogoni could not be told about any civilised society. Nigeria’s failure to resolve the Ogoni problem, especially as related to our environment and right to self-determination, signals a failure on the part of our country's leadership to build a united and progressive Nigeria.
The world must continue to be made aware of the story of the Ogoni, a small minority that had been exploited to death by Shell. We will continue to prick the conscience of the world and highlight the injustices perpetrated against the Ogoni people, until they are addressed. We will not let Shell hide her crimes against the Ogoni people nor shall we be persuaded by political manoeuvres, which do not address our concerns for a safe environment and our right to self-determination.
•Nsuke, Publicity Secretary of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People, wrote from Bori, Ogoni, Rivers State.
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