From Blessing Ibunge, Port Harcourt
A group under the agies of Ogoni Liberation Initiative has urged Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) to settle out of court with the Ogoni communities as was advised by court during their last sitting in court.
It would be recalled that a Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt presided by Justice Emmanuel Obile on November 12 this year, in a suit filed by Ogoni Liberation Initiative against the Attorney General of the Federation and SPDC encouraged the parties to resolve their differences amicably and settle out of court.
During the proceedings, the claimant in the suit was seeking for compensation for all the years of pollution in Ogoniland with adequate cleanup of the environment while praying that Ogoniland returns to its original fatal state and the case was adjourned till Jan. 21, 2021 for hearing.
Dr. Fabeke Douglas, President of Ogoni Liberation Initiative, a Non-Governmental Organisation who made the plead on Sunday at Bori, Khana Local Government Area, said: “I advise shell that we settle out of court as it was advised because this matter comprises of six kingdoms of Ogoni, the earlier we settle out of court the better because it will bring a national healing to every communities in Ogoni.
“I don’t think any other community will rise to say we are taking shell to court because we already have a platform which can resolve all issues in every other community, we are still waiting for them because they have one month ahead given to them by the court,”Douglas said.
Speaking further, Douglas pleaded with the Federal Government to order the relocation of Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project(HYPREP)head office to Ogoniland for more efficiency and accessibility by Ogoni people.
He said that Federal Government should order back the head office of HYPREP which was situated in Port Harcourt City to Ogoniland so that they can feel the impact of the effect of the polluted environment on the Ogoni people.
“HYPREP office is not supposed to be in Port Harcourt but in Bori where we have the problem of pollution so that people can access their office,” he said.
Douglas stated that about N136,805,148,000 said to have released for Ogoni cleanup have not yield much impact in the cleanup of the Ogoni communities.
“The Hon. Minister of Environment Miss Amina Mohammed announced that the Ogoni cleanup was to generate thousands employment opportunities for our teaming people, but today, no fewer than none have been gainfully employed by HYPREP.
“There is no implementation of the emergency measures recommended by UNEP, our request is that HYPREP should provide the construction of Ogoni water treated reservoirs and water supplies for all communities in Ogoni.
“Commence integrated soil management centre and establishment of centre for excellence in Ogoniland where it was flags up at Bori and immediate Construction of Ogoni Environmental Authority Secretariat on Ogoni land, among others.”