Ogoni group begs FG to appeal court order on OML 11
The Conscience of Ogoni People (COOP) yesterday pleaded with President Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal government to appeal a court judgment that ordered the renewal of the Shell lease for OML 11 for 20 years.
Its National Coordinator, Gani Topba, said Shell’s desperation to renew OML 11 and return to Ogoniland was another sad reminder of decades of environmental degradation and violence against the Ogoni from 1958 till date.
A Federal High Court in Abuja had on Friday ordered the Minister of Petroleum Resources and President Buhari to grant the renewal of Oil Mineral Lease 11 to Shell for another 20 years without reduction in the size of its field coverage.
Topba explained that Ogoni remained opposed to the renewal of Shell’s lease for OML 11 on the ground that the oil company had breached the terms and conditions in its OML 11 lease, especially provisions requiring the lessee to adopt good oilfield practice in the operation of the lease.
He cited the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report, which indicted Shell that it fell below Nigerian standards throughout the 40 years or more that it operated the block, let alone international standards recommended by the Mineral Oils (Safety) Regulations of 1997.
COOP explained that the President as substantive Minister of Petroleum Resources had listened to the plea of Ogoni people and rejected the application for Shell’s renewal after considering the travails of the Ogoni in the hands of SPDC for the past four decades.
It said the non-renewal of OML 11 for Shell meant that the lease expired on 30 June 2019 and reverted to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
The group commended President Buhari for showing compassion for the Ogoni by resisting the pressure mounted by Shell to renew OML 11. To this end, it urged the Federal Government of Nigeria to appeal the judgment of the Federal High Court, Abuja.
“Our position is that the judgment is an open invitation for SPDC to complete its genocide agenda against the Ogoni people for 20 years, which should not be allowed to stand.
“As believers in the rule of law, who have the utmost respect for the court as the bastion of hope for the common man, we believe that the Court of Appeal will vindicate the Ogoni and the Federal Government by setting aside the Federal High Court judgment.
“We restate that SPDC remains persona non grata in Ogoniland and that the Ogoni will continue to resist every clandestine tactics adopted by SPDC in its bid to actualise its grant design to decimate the Ogoni population, impoverish them, destroy their livelihoods and economy and render their environment an ecological wreck,” he said.
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