Business Day (Nigeria): Shell in Nigeria denies Ogoniland claims: “Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell on Friday denied charges by a minority rights group that it was attempting to "forcefully" return to oil-rich Ogoniland to resume operations, more than 11 years after bloody unrest forced it to suspend work there.” 26 Nov 04
LAGOS - Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell on Friday denied charges by a minority rights group that it was attempting to "forcefully" return to oil-rich Ogoniland to resume operations, more than 11 years after bloody unrest forced it to suspend work there.
"The company reiterates that having withdrawn from Ogoni in 1993, it will only return after due consultation with all stakeholders," Shell said in a statement received by AFP.
Police in southern Nigeria on Wednesday arrested three activists of a group, the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP), who were protesting against the activities of Shell, including its alleged attempt to resume operations in their territory.
Hundreds of the group's activists had staged a protest outside Shell headquarters in Port Harcourt, capital of oil-rich Rivers State against what the body's spokesman Bari Ara-Kpalap was alleged "destabilisation, destruction of the ecosystem and militarisation of Ogoniland".
"We are also protesting against moves by Shell to resume oil activities in Ogoniland without due consultation with interested parties," he added.
The Shell statement said that during the protest, marchers had attempted to block access to the company's office main gate, and their leaders refused to meet with Shell officials on their grievances.
Shell denied that it was responsible for the deployment of security forces to Ogoniland, saying that was the duty of government.
The company said that there have been increased threats and vandalisation of vital national oil and gas facilities in Ogoniland.
"The recent sabotage of the 24-inch Trans Niger pipeline at Mogbo in Ogoniland, which led to the deferment for some 13,000 barrels of oil per day is one example," the statement said.
MOSOP was founded in 1993 to campaign against alleged environmental pollution of the Niger Delta by foreign oil companies, especially Shell, which produces more than a third of Nigeria's around 2.5 million barrels of crude per day.