Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria limited (SPDC) has signed a Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with the Bodo community in Gokana local government area of Rivers State that will lead to the clean-up and restoration of Ogoniland. If the MOU works as the parties to the agreement said, it is likely to be the biggest clean-up and restoration exercise ever undertaken in a mangrove environment in the world.
The representative of Shell and former ambassador of the Netherlands to Nigeria, Bert Ronhaar said that the negotiation which has led to the MOU started two years ago.
According to Ronhaar, the people directly affected by the pollution will benefit from the clean-up and restoration. ‘We are confident that this world’s biggest oil polluted mangrove ecosystem will be cleaned up, remediated and restored and the people affected will benefit from the restoration of their common and economic livelihood. All parties should realise that this requires as well a full stop to re-pollution by mechanical failure, oil theft and illegal refineries.
Ronhaar added that the signing of the MOU is the first step in the mediation process which has achieved concrete results.
He said ‘the achievement today is the signing of MOU between the Shell and the Bodo community and the MOU will lead to the clean-up, remediation and restoration of the community located in Ogoniland.
‘It is disingenuous to accuse everyone who calls for restructuring as trying to break up the county. History tells us that that kind of cheap blackmail will not work as long as the underlying reasons for the agitations persist.’
‘The biggest challenge seems to be that we seem to be allowing moderate voices on this issue to be drowned out by the reckless utterances of a few rabble rousers on all sides who may be tools in the hands of those who do not wish this country well. These are some of the people who arrogate to themselves the toga of spokespersons of our diverse groups.’
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