The Ogoni say the group stated that IUCN’s continued relationship with Shell, a company that “has destroyed our home and our livelihoods is unconscionable.”
Following a recent report which placed the bulk of the blame of oil spillage on host communities, the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP), have asked the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to stay away from Ogoniland.
The IUCN is “no longer welcome” in Ogoniland except it “immediately” terminates its relationship with Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria, SPDC, according to MOSOP.
In a letter addressed to Julia Marton-Lefevre, Director General of IUCN, the group stated that IUCN’s continued relationship with Shell, a company that “has destroyed our home and our livelihoods is unconscionable.”
The letter also accused the IUCN of acting as the “public relations arm” of Shell.
“Your Niger Delta Panel, paid for by Shell, was unnecessary, inaccurate, and the only thing it accomplished was to give Shell an excuse and time not to correct its irresponsible behaviour in our home – Ogoniland,” read the letter signed by Legborsi Saro-Pyagbara MOSOP President.
“Based on our recent experiences, we have just sent a letter to Shell CEO Peter Voser informing him that the SPDC clean up in Ogoniland has been a fiasco, with virtually no effective work being done…
“In view of the foregoing, IUCN, through its association and support of Shell, has also lost its Social License to Operate in Ogoniland.
“Thus, we inform you that unless and until IUCN terminates its relationship with Shell, IUCN is no longer welcome in Ogoniland,” it added.
The five chapter IUCN study – done in partnership with Shell – titled ‘Sustainable Remediation and Rehabilitation of Biodiversity and Habitats of Oil Spill Sites in the Niger Delta’ documented recommendations and re-mediation techniques in the Niger Delta.
The report came after the yet-to-be implemented 2011 UN Environmental Programme study, UNEP, which called on Shell to conduct a “comprehensive review” of its assets in Ogoniland as well as desist from its current approach of cleaning up contaminated sites.
The Shell-IUCN report is “unnecessary and inaccurate” and gave Shell an excuse and time not to correct its “irresponsible” behaviour in Ogoniland, MOSOP said of the Shell funded IUCN study.
“Further, your panel never for once consulted us, the Ogoni People, about the panel’s mission, work, or conclusions,” said Mr. Saro-Pyagbara.
“And now that you have released your report, Shell has announced it will be leaving our region,” he added.
The IUCN is one of the world’s oldest and largest global environment organization dedicated to biodiversity and conservation.
The report, released last July, stated that most of the oil spills in the Niger-Delta are caused by “sabotage, illegal refining, and bunkering.”
But the Ogoni community insisted that Shell’s “dilapidated oil system” in the region is to blame.
Mr. Saro-Pyagbara said that Shell has deliberately chosen to ignore Nigeria’s environmental laws.
“As apparently, IUCN is unaware, Shell has been required by Nigerian law for decades to respond effectively to oil spills, conduct damage assessments, restore degraded or damaged environments, and fairly compensate local people whose environment and livelihoods have been destroyed by oil spills.
“Shell know precisely how to conduct its business legally, and to the highest international standards, but chooses not to.
“There is nowhere else in the world where Shell would get away with such negligent conduct, and everyone knows it, apparently except you at IUCN,” Mr. Saro-Pyagbara said.
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