The National Union of Ogoni Student International and Ogoni Lives Matter INTL have petitioned the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) on the activities of Hydrocarbon Pollution Restoration Project (HYPREP) and Shell Petroleum in Ogoniland, Rivers State Nigeria.
The petition titled; “Withdraw Support with HYPREP/Shell’s Remediation Hoax in Ogoni…. Re-recommend a Capable International Company.”
In the petition dated December 10, 2018 and addressed to the Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), Joyce Msuya in Nairobi, Kenya, the bodies condemned the oil spillage in the land and the alleged criminal conspiracy that “took the lives of Ken Saro Wiwa and eight Ogoni activists, and a gross human rights abuse in Ogoniland.”
The petition which was co-signed by the President of (NUOS INTL. USA), Mr. Pius Baripkoa Nwinee, Secretary General, Mr. Sampson B Npimnee, Coordinator (OLM INTL (Ogoni Lives Matter), USA, Mr. Cornelius J.S Dumerene and Secretary General (OLM INTL) Ogoni Lives Matter), USA, Mr. Tuate Ganago, the group stated that Shell Petroleum paid UNEP $10 Million to conduct and evaluate the impact assessment of Ogoni environment.
They alleged that Ogoni was a place that the Royal Dutch Shell discovered and maintained oil theft without payment of rent, loyalty or lease for decades.
“Not surprisingly, your findings indicated high presence of benzene in the environment.
“Your report also included a recommendation for an extensive clean-up of the Ogoni land for the next 30 years with a projected cost of $1 billion.
“Sadly, several years later, the much-required clean-up is yet to be conducted. The Nigerian government presented an attempt to implement the recommendations and inaugurated the “Hydrocarbon Pollution Restoration Project (HYPREP),” they alleged.
They further stressed in the petition, which was made available to journalists, that till date, the board has only “succeeded” in conducting the following activities, “Mobilising Belema and Robo-Michael to play quasi-companies for the Royal Dutch Shell Petroleum, in an effort to buy OML 11 (Ogoni Oilfield), cutting corners into Ogoni oilfield for illegal oil resumption.
“Launching millions of dollars to disburse fat bonuses and exotic vacation overseas to its board of trustees to get support for coming election and gain access into Ogoni oil field.
“Assembling local companies owned by corrupt recycled politicians across the country to bid and give themselves fat contracts from HYPREP to benefit them and disadvantage Ogoni in the name of cleaning Ogoni land.
“Organising dishonest and fake clinical exercise across Ogoni land where HPREP later used as a propaganda machine to deceive the world they that care about the health and welfare of Ogonis.
“Hiring of recalcitrant youths to sow discord and unleash mayhem in the area, either to say Ogoni youths are not responsible people or as a vehicle to invite federal security to clampdown on Ogoni to access Ogoni oilfield.
“Beyond the non-implementation of this report, what is more disturbing is the Royal Dutch Shell relentless deployment of its parent government, dark money and special interests in soliciting Nigeria government to use force to invade Ogoni against our will rather than cleaning our land.”
NOUS added in the petition that “neither the Ogoni land nor its people are any better from any of the above activities.”
They said further that given the rising mortality rate in the area from benzene and benzene parasite related diseases and the time that has elapsed since the findings, they felt that it was highly probable that benzene is not only killing Ogoni people, destroying their livelihood, historical heritage, but has spread to their food chain, human blood, water, aquatic life and the ecosystem.
“To this end, on September 18th, 2018, the National Union of Ogoni Students International, Ogoni Women in the US, in collaboration with Ogoni Lives Matter INTL, USA, in an open letter, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to conduct a comprehensive health impact/biometrics assessment study on the Ogoni people, disband HYPREP, and investigate the Royal Dutch Shell Oil Company for knowingly and intentionally refusing to implement your recommendations in a timely manner so as to extinct Ogoni population.
“By your own admission and findings, one of the strongest push back and criticism you leveled against Shell in the report was its gross negligence and the indiscriminate cover up implored by Shell’s agents, associates and pseudo contractors using sand to cover oil spills and harmful chemicals to defame the soil surface and nutrients in almost all the sites you examined.
“The intriguing question here is, what has changed that you have suddenly become hand in gloves with HYPREP’s incendiary approach to use violence in forcing the Royal Dutch Shell, Belema and Robomichael into Ogoni through the back door for illegal and clandestine oil resumption. What has happened that you have now eaten your words by supporting HYPREP fraud scheme, parading 21 companies with no professional and technical skills for such environmental and health emergency.
“No matter the threat, question, challenge or obstacle, Ogoni like any circular democratic society or ethnic group does not invest its power, control or prerogative in any King, Queen, traditional ruler or leader, but the people. As such, we distance ourselves from any clandestine and improper discussion without the consent of Ogoni people led by Mr. Ibe Ikachikwu, HYPREP, HYPREP BOTS, SHELL or its agents, associates or quasi companies, and those involved, do that at their peril,” they said.
NOUS INTL. USA subsequently rejected the proposal “to auction Ogoni land as backyard of pollution and request you re-recommend the service of an international company with capable professional and technical resources to handle the cleanup. Because losing our livelihood, historical heritage and lives is not losing an election circle or losing few points on the stock market but slavery, genocide and extinction.
“Given that HYPREP has established itself as a dishonest, bureaucratic bottleneck agency that is being used only for political propaganda.
“It is evident that as presently constituted, HYPREP has no professional and technical skill to conduct, handle, monitor and supervise such a complex environmental and health intervention. We respectfully request you re-recommend an international company with capable professional and technical know- how.”
Copies of the letter were sent to reputable international organisations such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, London Office, Human Rights Watch in Washington DC, New York office and the Nairobi office.
Also copied were Amnesty International, London office: USA office, and World Health Organization, Sierra Club, Green America, Heal the Bay, 1% For the Planet, World Watch Institute, American Bird Conservancy and the United Nations office on genocide prevention and the responsibility to protect.