News / Africa

MOSOP Feels Vindicated by Shell Company's Spill Admission

MOSOP president Ledum Mitee says admission proves MOSOP's non-violent agitation over years can yield positive results

Oil is seen on the creek water's surface near an illegal oil refinery in Ogoniland (file photo)
Oil is seen on the creek water's surface near an illegal oil refinery in Ogoniland (file photo)

Multimedia

Audio
James Butty

The president of the movement for the survival of the Ogoni people (MOSOP) said Shell Oil’s acceptance of responsibility for two oil spills in 2008 and 2009 vindicates the Ogoni people’s claims that the company had been responsible for environmental degradation in the region.

Ledum Mitee said Shell Oil’s mea culpa and Thursday’s United Nations report on the magnitude and impact of oil spills in the Niger Delta prove that MOSOP’S non-violent agitation over the years can yield positive results.

‘We think it is a very welcome development. We applaud it, and we think that it is a victory for the Ogoni People and the non-violent approach that we have adopted in an environment that will appear most times that only the violent options attract attention,” he said.

MOSOP has struggled against the degradation of their lands by Shell in Nigeria for years.

It began its campaign with the 1990 Ogoni Bill of Rights, addressed to the federal government. Among the concerns listed in the bill were oil-related suffering of the Ogoni People and neglect by the federal government of Nigeria.

Mitee said the group feels vindicated by Shell Oil’s mea culpa.

“We feel completely vindicated, and the only regret is that it took a court in the United Kingdom to get Shell to admit its culpability in oil spills that we already knew that they were culpable for,” Mitee said.

Lawyers representing the Bodo community of Nigeria's Ogoniland region sued Shell in a British court. They said the oil company could pay out hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.

Mitee said Shell’s admission of responsibility would encourage other Ogoni groups to seek damages from Shell.

“Definitely, this presents a very good precedent. For several other communities, it will open a whole line of cases where people will feel that this is where they need to go, and more importantly, it sends the message that the non-violent option also has some rewards ultimately,” Mitee said.

In a report released August 4, the United Nations Environmental Program said drinking water supplies within Nigeria’s oil-rich Niger Delta have been damaged by 50 years of crude oil spills.

The United Nations report said decades of oil spills in Nigeria's Ogoniland region may require the world's largest petroleum cleanup that could cost more than $1 billion.

Mitee said the UN report confirms what MOSOP has said all along that there was a high level of environmental devastation in Ogoniland.

“We think that this is a very salutory development to the cause that our leaders and my friends who died many years ago stood for,” Mitee said.

He expressed regrets that the UN took four years and $10 million to say what the Ogoni People have been saying for years.

In November 1995, nine MOSOP activists, among them the playwright Ken Saro-Wiwa were hanged by the Nigerian government on charges of "incitement to murder".

Mitee said Shell’s admission of culpability is a good atonement to Saro-Wiwa and several Ogoni activists who died in the struggle.

“He [Saro-Wiwa] would feel fulfilled that some of those things that he stood for and Shell was always denying that there was environmental devastation, now scientifically have been proven, and he would feel vindicated, and I’m sure that several others who laid down their lives in this in this cause, that is a good atonement to their memory,” Mitee said.

You May Like

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid