Vanguard (Lagos)

2 December 2004

Nigeria: MOSOP Hints On Return of Shell to Ogoniland

Port Harcourt — PRESIDENT of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), Mr. Ledum Mitee, says there is the likelihood of Shell and other oil companies resuming work in Ogoni if the process towards that goal is credible. He was reacting to efforts by President Olusegun Obasanjo to reconcile the Ogoni and Shell.

"What the president said as I understand it is that the Ogonis should reconcile amongst themselves and after that, they should now reconcile with Shell and other oil companies that are keen on working in Ogoniland. That's my understanding. We are always open to dialogue, open to negotiations. There is an extant document which stipulates clearly how Shell and other oil companies can come back to Ogoniland.

"The United Nations special rapporteur also made recommendations on how these oil companies could resume work. The Ogoni Bill of Rights is clear on the demands of the people. If the oil companies follow the rules then things could work out.

President Obasanjo had addressed the Rivers State Stakeholders Forum in Port Harcourt where he urged the Ogonis to reconcile amongst themselves which would then pave the way for the people's reconciliation with Shell and the other oil companies. At the Stakeholders Forum, leader of the Niger Delta Vigilante, Mr. Ateke Tom, and of the Niger Delta People Volunteer Force, Alhaji Asari Dokubo, were present.

Shell backs Obasanjo on reconciliation

Meanwhile, Shell yesterday reacted in a statement to a call by President Obasanjo that it should reconcile with Ogonis, saying: "The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd (SPDC) welcomes the call in Port Harcourt by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, H.E. Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR, for reconciliation in Ogoni.

"SPDC is committed to resolving its differences with Ogonis by dialogue. Much work remains to be done, but we hope that today's call will be an important step towards lasting reconciliation that will be to the benefit of all Ogoni people, SPDC and the country."

The statement signed by Shell's Managing Director, Mr Basil Omiyi, added: "We commend the president for this initiative. We look forward to working with all Ogoni people, other stakeholders and the presidency to make the initiative a success."

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