Vanguard (Nigeria): Ijaws petition UN over Ojobo crisis ...Accuses Shell, Army of genocide: “Ijaws of the Niger- Delta have sent a petition to the United Nations as well as all foreign embassies in the country, accusing Shell of conspiring with the Nigerian Army to commit genocide in Ojobo community in Delta State.”: "The group also alleged that Shell put aside 10 per cent of its yearly budget to bribe government officials in the legislature, judiciary and executive, including security agents, to cover its inhuman acts in the region." (ShellNews.net) 30 Nov 04
By Emeka Ugwuanyi
Tuesday, November 30, 2004
Ijaws of the Niger- Delta have sent a petition to the United Nations as well as all foreign embassies in the country, accusing Shell of conspiring with the Nigerian Army to commit genocide in Ojobo community in Delta State.
The petition written by the Ijaw Monitoring Group and signed by Comrade Joseph Evah on behalf of the group, condemned the attack on defenceless citizens of Ijaw at Beneseide Flow Station by the Army which it alleged is being sponsored by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC). "The killing of Ijaws at the aforementioned area, the group said, is on daily basis and has become a daily occurrence in the Niger- Delta region."
The group stated that it is the right of the citizens of the community to carry out a peaceful protest against non-implementation of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed between the oil companies and the communities.
The Ijaw Monitoring Group explained that what Shell does is to meet with the community with a promise to undertake a community development project such as construction of water boreholes or electricity project, among others. After the community has signed the MOU with it, Shell would give the contract to a contractor who will either do a substandard job or not do the job at the end of the day.
Niger-Delta communities, according to the group, have asked Shell not to give anybody cash to avoid embezzlement, that Shell should rather carry out the projects by itself to ensure standard. But the method Shell adopted is to award such contracts to people who would always do a substandard work and when the people protest such jobs, Shell would set the Army against them.
The group said: “Like the Ojobo case where Shell disregarded the MOU, there is no community in the Niger-Delta where Shell religiously respect and follow the conditions stated in the MOUs. Shell prefer to bribe security agents with contract favours and physical cash in order for the soldiers to kill and maim the citizens who may organize themselves to protest Shell's fraudulent activities.”
The group also stated that soldiers and officers assigned to oil rigs and platforms in the Niger-Delta area are richer than their counter- parts assigned to other duties in other areas in Nigeria because they are in the pay roll of oil companies who use them to commit inhuman acts in the region.
“We wish to inform the international community that all the figures displayed by Shell as money spent on development projects in the Niger-Delta are false because ninety-nine per cent of the money goes into the pockets of security agents and the black managers who Shell use as business front to siphon funds meant for the development of the Niger- Delta region and its people."
The Ijaw Monitoring Group also reminded the world body that the Ijaws lost 25 per cent of its population before the of age 50 as a result of the consequences of oil and gas exploration and production. Aside the physical and environmental devastation, there is also the human and material anarchy with accompanying mental depression.
The group also alleged that Shell put aside 10 per cent of its yearly budget to bribe government officials in the legislature, judiciary and executive, including security agents, to cover its inhuman acts in the region.
"Therefore, we urge the international community to check the activities of multi-national oil companies in the region before a breakdown of law and order which may threaten the lives of foreign nationals working in the oil firms.
The petition copied to the embassies in Nigeria warned that the Ijaw will not guarantee the safety of lives of foreign workers in the region because of the genocide committed against the Ojobo community where according to the group over 25 persons are missing apart from countless number of people killed while 50 percent of the community has been destroyed.
The Ijaws urged the world body to intervene as quick as possible to prevent unprecedented crisis in the region.