The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) has welcomed the award of N45.9 billion judgment delivered in favour of the Ogoni people, but voices in Ogoni are rising to ask who will handle the disbursement and who really owns the windfall. Shell sources indicate that the money would be paid as dictated in court.
The judgment had made it clear that the money must be paid to the lawyer for the claimants, Lucius Nwosu, SAN. Now, voices want to know who would handle the disbursement. MOSOP however said the suit was by Ebubu/Ejamah communities in Eleme local council of Rivers State.
MOSOP said the judgment is a sign of hope for the rest of the Ogoni people who seek justice following years of irresponsible business practices of the oil company.
The judgment further reaffirms our claims of the environmental devastation of the Ogoni country by Shell. But more than that, it opens up a window of hope and relief for thousands of Ogonis whose lives have been turned miserable by state-backed repression and several others who lost their loved ones in the cause of seeking justice and redress from Shell’s genocide in Ogoni.
MOSOP regrets that despite scientific and factual pieces of evidence against Shell, the Nigerian authorities have not considered a penalty for Shell and tacitly have endorsed the genocide and repression of the Ogoni people, sustained the political discrimination against the Ogoni as a distinct ethnic nationality in Nigeria and encouraged multinationals to promote double standards especially the prosecution of business practices that they won’t dare in their home countries.
MOSOP statement was signed by Fegalo Nsuke, president, on August 12, 2021.
Shell has reacted insisting that it was not responsible for the oil spills in the first place. According to a statement from the company which was made available by Bamidele Odugbesan, spokesperson for Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited, the company said the order for the payment of N45.9billion to the claimants is for full and final satisfaction of the judgment in the suit, Chief Agbara and Others v. “SPDC, in respect of the spills which we maintain were caused by third parties during the Nigerian Civil War, a challenging period which resulted in significant damage to oil and gas infrastructure in the Niger Delta region”
He went on; “While the SPDC Joint Venture does not accept responsibility or liability for these spills, the affected sites in the Ebubu community were fully remediated.’
Groups insist that the award is for all Ogoni but others say it is for a particular clan in Eleme LGA, not all of Ogoni. Ken Saro Wiwa family which won a similar windfall donated a chunk to the entire Ogoni.