The Council of Ogoni Professionals (COP International, USA) says it is elated that after years of “subservience and servitude to Shell and other multi-national oil companies, the Federal Government of Nigeria has finally awaken from her slumber and decided to bring Shell to justice by slamming a $5bn fine on the company for the Bonga Oil Spill of December 2011”.
COP International, USA further called on the Nigerian Government to not only ensure Shell pays the $5bn fine but to also ensure that the money is spent judiciously on development projects that will benefit the impoverished communities of Southern Nigeria affected by the said oil spill.
“Moreover, we appeal to the Nigerian Government to go a step further and prevail on Shell to pay compensation to the locals affected by the oil spill. The claim by Shell that the Bonga spill was caused by sabotage is hogwash and should be disregarded immediately”COP said in a statement.
Also the body of Ogoni professionals in the United States in the statement by Anslem D. John-Miller,chairman, caretaker committee seized the special opportunity to call on President Goodluck Jonathan to stop playing ethnic-politics with the implementation of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Report on Ogoni. “We maintain that if Shell can pay $5bn fine for the Bonga Oil Spill without such a payment making any dent in the company’s coffers, then Shell can equally pay the $1bn recommended by the UNEP for the implementation of its ground-breaking report on Ogoni without any stress on its profits” the group said.
COP also said that Ogonis are not opposed to the clean-up of the entire Niger Delta as President Jonathan would wish. However, the UNEP Report is for Ogoni and the clean-up of Ogoniland will serve as a guide to any successful clean-up exercise in the entireNiger-Delta. “We therefore appeal to President Jonathan to give his political blessings sothat Shell can immediately take steps to implement the report which emanated from the reckless oil exploration and exploitative activities of the company in Ogoni since 1957.”
Finally, the umbrella body of Ogoni professionals reiterated “ that neither us (COP) nor the Ogoni people in general will accept any partial or selective implementation of the UNEP Report as previously echoed by Nigeria’s Petroleum Minister, Mrs. DiezaniMadueke sometime ago.”