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Niger Delta Human Rescue Organisation


File:  ND-HERO/HR/002/1998
November 27, 1998


Rights Groups in the Niger Delta yesterday November 26th met with the special rapporteur to Nigeria, Mr. Soji Sorabjee at the Hotel Presidential Port Harcourt.

The meeting which took place at 7.20 and lasted for about an hour was attended by Ledum Mitee, representing the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People, (MOSOP); Robert Azibaola, Niger Delta Human & Environmental Rescue Organisation (ND-HERO); Nelson Azibaolanari, Movement for Reparation to Ogbia(MORETO); Lucky Akareso, Committee for the Defense of Human Rights, (CDHR); Purane Ebelegi, Elimotu Movement; and Elizabeth Avhuregh, Women in Nigeria (WIN).

The groups submitted a joint memorandum to the rapporteur cataloging their views on various human rights issues using the rapporteur's last recommendation to the the Commission on Human Rights as benchmarks.

The groups stated that nothing has changed in Nigeria, especially in the Niger Delta apart some cosmetic or window dressing of the Nigerian Government.  The rights groups recall various human and environmental rights violations in the Niger Delta including the murder of five youths of Gbaraun community in Southern Ijaw area of Bayelsa state Messrs.. Moris Kerema (23),Meshach Nikko Ukpukpa, Edumene Idatode (24), Paul Peter Igbagivei(15), Fineboy Godlaw (22) on October 22nd 1998; the arrest and detention without trial and torture of 21 Egi, in the Ahoada West of the Niger Delta youths;incessant pollution's destroying the Niger Delta environment like the recent spillage of 21 of October 1998 in Santa Babara flow station of Shell, which the company has neither cleaned up nor paid compensation; the Jesse fire incidence in the Ethiope West Local Government in Delta state in which over 1000 persons where charred to death and the hasty conclusion by government and the Nigerian National Petroleum Devolopment Comapany of Nigeria(NNPC) that the sabotage was sabotage before the outcome of a judicial panel of inquiry.

The groups submitted that Shell operates a parallel police with the Nigerian police and maintains armory and detentions centers in its flow stations and in an area called the 'dog' sections in Miniokoro area of Port Harcourt. And that Shell's records of social infrastructures provided it provided in the Niger Delta are not reflect on the ground.

The groups also submitted that other oil companies like Agip, Chevron and Mobile are equally guilty of environmental devastation of the Niger Delta and human rights violations pointing that in the case of Egi, the youths were arrested and detained by the Nigerian mobile police force under the control and prompting of Elf petroleum company.  And that in the case of Agip, the company employed Mr.. J. A. Irabor, an Assistant Commissioner of Police with the Nigerian Police who was responsible for the Umuechem massacres of 1990 who was recommended for dismissal and trial but was never dismissed and instead got job with Agip to head its police force.

The groups recommend that the only way to safeguard human rights in the Niger Delta was for the disbandment  of all paramilitary and military formations like the 'River State Internal Security Task Force, RSISTF', 'Operation Flush', and 'Operation Salvage'.  And for the Nigerian government to repeal certain decrees have effect of depriving the people of the Niger Delta of their land, and other property rights including The Petroleum Act of 1969 Land (title) Vesting Decree 1993
National Inland Waterways Decree 1997 Petroleum (Drilling and Production) Regulation 1969 Oil Terminal Dues Act (cap. 338 Laws of the Federation) Oil Mineral Producing Areas Development Commission Decree No. 23, 1991 And expressed their displeasure in Shell for its treatment with impunity of the recommendation of the special rapporteure that 'an independent agency should be established in consultations with MOSOP and SPDC which would determine all aspects of environmental damage due to oil exploration and other operations...'. And that instead of implementing this recommendation the company is more interested in resuming oil exploration activities in Ogoni land.

Before this meeting MOSOP had been prevented from joining the convoy of rapporteur's visit to Ogoni land.  A Scene was created when two MOSOP activists, Sunny Kogbo and Bari Ara Kpalap were prevented from joining the entourage and pushed down one of the vehicle in order to prevent the rapporteur from visiting the devastated sites of Ogoniland.  Mosop
immediately protested the inhuman treatment and stated that this shows that government still has hidden agenda against the Ogoni people.

The rapporteur is expected to visit Shell today.

The UN special rapporteur to Nigerian Mr. Soji Sorabjee appointed by UN human rights commission resolution 1997/53 with the mandate of establishing direct contact with the authorities and the people of Nigeria and report to the General Assembly of the UN and to the commission on the basis of any information which he might gather and to keep a gender perspective in mind when seeking and analysing information.

ND-HERO is a mass base human and environmental rights organisation in the Niger Delta found on the 10th of December, 1998. No copy rights of its reports except otherwise indicated is reserved except by way of acknowledgement.

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