We Should be Concerned About Shells Strangulation of Ogoniland

The story of Doodealo Barikui Clever and his colleague, Dr Nwosu who were detained by military men backing the laying of pipelines in Ogoni by Shel and brutally manhandled some two weeks ago (precisely August 18, 2018) in Korokoro, Tai local government area is one of the many sad experiences and just a tip of the iceberg among the glut of abuses of Shell against the Ogoni people. Doodeelo and Nwosu are researchers who wanted to conduct some soil tests in polluted Ogoniland.

Their story is one of many and gives a clue into what our people suffer in the hands of Shell's soldiers daily. Many are unable to find anyone to whom they can report their ordeal and the trauma and inability to get justice live with them for all their lives.

Earlier, three women from Biara in Gokana local government area have reported harassment from the same soldiers working for Shell. We have called for investigations into the abuses but the authorities are yet to respond. Shell however in their response on August 23 as reported on Port Harcourt radio Rhythm 93.7 claimed the soldiers do not take instructions from them. But clearly, they cannot absolve themselves of responsibility because they (Shell) brought in the soldiers to Ogoniland.

In reality, Shell has destroyed the lives of the Ogoni people. The health implications of the Ogoni pollutions have been very devastating and their is no hope of survival as the company seem bent on being allowed to resume operations in the area before they can commence the cleanup of the pollution they caused in over 50 years of operations. That simply implies that Ogonis now will have to pay for the cleanup of Shell's pollution and risk more pollution from Shell.

The situation in Ogoniland, Nigeria is a shame and reflects our weak and trampled standards which allow a private business to kill our people and still be backed by our armies to commit more atrocities.Shell and our leaders do seem not to care about the fact that the fastest growing business in Ogoniland today is the production of caskets.

In the last seven days, at least 50 persons excluding children died in Gokana alone. That is alarming but comfortable for Shell. It appears a strategy for Shell to use the fear of death to compel our people to give up on the oil. But that may appear too much of Shell's cruelty but truly reflects the indecency of Shell. The company (Shell) has in their racist conduct of business in Ogoniland carted away over $100 billion worth of oil, completely destroyed the environment and now unwilling to cleanup the mess from its operations.

If we will be silent on the abuses in Ogoniland especially the inaction of Shell and their unwillingness to correct the terrible consequences of their irresponsibility, then we would have lost a world of conscience and we can be as guilty as Shell.

The crimes of Shell in Ogoni leaves a lot of questions unanswered. People's lives have been destroyed, their sources of livelihood destroyed. But who pays for the livelihoods destroyed, the people have no benefit from their oil wealth which Nigeria and Shell takes away? Discrimination in Nigeria gives the wealth to those who do not bear any pain from oil mining. Oil revenue has been used to build Abuja and other cities in Nigeria. Ogoni looses on every side and does not share in her oil wealth nor is she protected from the hazards of exploiting her natural endowments..

For Shell, oil money means everything and human rights and social responsibility means nothing. Shell is so crude and acts without conscience, it exploits the people''s weaknesses despite having full knowledge of the damaging implications, it encourages standards that jeopardizes the safety of our world and as the United Nations report on Ogoni environment would put it, Shell fails even in keeping to its own very poor standards.

Just for Shell, over four thousand Ogonis have been killed in state sponsored repression. On May 21, 1994, we lost four eminent chiefs and on November 10, 1995, the Nigeria government hanged another nine including our leader Ken Saro-Wiwa.

Today in Ogoniland, the rate of still birth is increasing and over 50 percent of the children born in Ogoni are unlikely to survive beyond 120 days. In the midst of these, Ogoni is in big trouble but I am very confident that nonviolence will triumph very Shell's genocide in Ogoni. That Shell will not go unpunished for these crimes. Shell's day will certainly come and I am very certain that freedom for the Ogoni people is unstoppable.

Fegalo Nsuke is Publicity Secretary, Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP). He wrote from Bori Ogoniland. September 2, 2018