Ogoni communities condemn the planned resumption of oil extraction in their territory
ESCR-Net member, Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), has condemned the planned resumption of oil production in Ogoniland by the Nigerian government. The decision to resume oil extraction in Ogoniland has been taken without the Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) of the Ogoni People.
Oil extraction has taken place in Nigeria for more than 50 years, when Shell Oil Company began its operations in the country. This led to large scale land acquisitions, degradation of farmlands, waterways and air and the displacement of local populations, particularly the Ogoni People, who have been suffering discrimination and marginalization since colonial times. Shell and the Nigerian government accrued more than $100 million from the oil extraction, while the Ogoni People, still amongst the poorest people in Nigeria, were left with environmental destruction undermining their economic, cultural and religious life.
MOSOP was born out of Ogoni resistance to oil extraction and the disregard shown by the Nigerian government of Ogoni rights to self-determination. The Ogoni resistance to invasions of their lands has historically mobilized support nationally and internationally, and they were successful in bringing their concerns to the attention of national and international actors. In response, the Nigerian government, in collusion with Shell, targeted Ogoni human rights defenders with harassment, detention, torture and killings. Shell’s role in the 1995 execution of nine Ogoni activists is currently being examined in a Dutch court, which earlier this year ruled that it has jurisdiction to examine the case.
In relation to the recent plans for the extraction of oil in Ogoniland, MOSOP insists on Ogoni rights to self determination over their territories and natural resources as well as their right to free, prior and informed consent as recognized in international human rights law.