Urhobo Historical Society

STATEMENT ON ISSUES AND OUTCOME OF A PEACE MEETING BETWEEN SHELL OIL COMPANY AND IJAW COMMUNITIES OF OIL PRODUCING AREAS OF WESTERN NIGER DELTA ON THE WARRI CRISIS OF 2003

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-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [Ijaw_National_Congress] SHELL AND THE WARRI CRISIS
Date: Mon, 11 Aug 2003 12:17:11 +0000
From: Felix Tuodolo <felixtuodolo@hotmail.com>
To: danielbalintkurti@yahoo.co.uk, DKelly@energyintel.com, info@foei.org, Ijaw_National_Congress@yahoogroups.com, ijawnation@yahoogroups.com


SHELL AND THE WARRI CRISIS

FEDERATED NIGER DELTA IJAW COMMUNITIES (FNDIC)

NO. 1, PERE QUARTERS, OPOROZA TOWN,

GBARAMATU CLAN.

Motto: "WATER FOR FIRE"

7th August, 2003.

BEING FNDIC ARTICULATED IJAW CHARTER OF DEMANDS ON THE OIL COMPANIES AS SPDC SEEKS TO RESUME OPERATIONS IN WARRI SOUTH WEST LOCAL GOVERNMENT COUNCIL AND ITS ENVIRONS.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The Warri crisis 2003 came to be largely due to activities and conducts of SPDC and all other Oil Companies in Warri South-West Local Government Council Area. It was in response to the demand for comfort and confidence by SPDC and other Oil Companies under Operation Hakuri II that the Army and Navy on March 13, 2003 launched a pre-emptive and premeditated attack on the Ijaw of Warri South-West like they did to the Urhobo of Warri earlier. The Navy seem to be angry with the Ijaw further because an illegal bunkering traceable to the former navy Commanding Officer of Warri Naval Base, Warri, Capt. Titus Awoyemi on 12th March, 2003 was obstructed and disrupted by some Ijaw Youths at Jones Creek where SPDC operates. The vessel (tug) with barge involved in the illegal bunkering was carrying enabling "sea fairer" documents from SPDC. The Navy are particularly vindictive of a court case already brought by the Ijaw against them for an extra-judicial naval invasion on! Okerenkoko Community 1st Nov. 2002.

In the waterways outside their Oil Fields, and Oil Installations, the Oil Companies particularly SPDC puts to un-lawful use the military particularly the Navy resulting to a Missing Service Rifle Syndrome and the subsequent raiding and torching of Ijaw Communities. The heavily militarised Oil Fields and Oil Installations are fast becoming launching pads for incessant military attacks on the Ijaw and their settlements.

Wrongfully parading herself as the worst casualty of the pre-emptive military Action, SPDC was into massive propaganda of War providing preludes to further military strikes on the Ijaw.

It is as if SPDC must be settled first before the waterways shall be re-opened to public use. Since SPDC never resumes operations, the Warri Waterways remain shut down by the navy. Before the very eyes of the Navy, in the water ways, the Ijaw have been kidnapped and murdered by assailants in military uniforms, in a manner that passes for act of war.

THE SPDC/FNDIC MEETING TO CHART A WAY FORWARD FROM THE WARRI CRISIS 2003.

A meeting between SPDC and FNDIC held in Hotel Omega Hilton in Refinery Road, Uvwie/Warri on 29th July, 2003.

The meeting received reports on Militarisation characterising SPDC re-entry bid into its Jones Creek Oil Field. The meeting also sought to handle any other matter raised as a pre-entry condition for SPDC.

During the intensive discussion and deliberations of the aforementioned cases in issue, FNDIC took exception to some expository statements by SPDC to the following effects:

1. That SPDC disrupted oil operations according to its own operative guidelines, rules and regulations obtainable from a threshold.

2. That SPDC abandoned its oil operations, for precautionary reasons not because of activities of FNDIC.

3. That SPDC is apolitical.

4. That SPDC was not part of the bunkering activity that gave rise to the Warri Crisis 2003.

5. That militarisation was not the making of SPDC.

6. That the militarisation was due to Government Calls.

7. That the militarisation provides SPDC workers/personnel comfort and confidence.

8. That SPDC is into an integrated surveillance programme, which is based on community, "community by reason of the fact that you are in that location".

9. That SPDC fears that FNDIC’s intended Charter of Demands shall run foul of its integrated programme for impact communities


CAUTION

The veracity of these statements is further discernable from a collation of FNDIC correspondences and other related works on the renewed hostilities in Warri South-West and its environs. Henceforth, the huge colossal economic loss by the Nigerian Nation due to the SPDC self induced disruption of oil operations be blamed squarely on SPDC but never again on FNDIC and the Ijaw.

THE IJAW FEARS ARE:

EITHER, behind the terror of Soldiers, SPDC intends to resume operations without recourse to resolving the Warri Crisis, which came to be as a result of the Ijaw under FNDIC agitating:

  1. To be part of democratic governance of the federation, local, state and central controlling 60% share of the SPDC/Government Oil Joint Venture of Nigeria
  2. To be part of the government making policies on the environment in which SPDC operates devastatingly mostly in Warri South West.

OR, SPDC would want to resume operations by implementing an integrated surveillance programme based on communities such that under Divide and Rule the favoured communities are to be isolated from and pitched against the general Ijaw struggle. Either is the devil’s option capable of undermining the Warri peace process already in place.

At this juncture, FNDIC can readily remember that one Wilson Oyibo of Okerenkoko community was murdered in an SPDC Communal Surveillance activity about 1999.

It ought to be noted that FNDIC and the Ijaw Communities hitherto complement one another in the collective Ijaw Struggle for Majority Rule and True Democracy in Warri South-West and its environs.

THE WAY FORWARD

For the way forward FNDIC expects of SPDC to consider and treat the Ijaw Charter of Demands on SPDC and all other oil companies under immediate resolutions, short term resolutions and long term resolutions. The Ijaw Charter of Demands, on all oil companies particularly SPDC includes but not restricted to the followings:

1. Publicly support the U.S./U.K. Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, bring company policy in line with the principles, and support legislation for universal and compulsory principles in this direction. What is good for the goose is also good for the gander.

2. Invest more in the local economy of the Niger Delta to improve the living conditions of the people.

3. Take all reasonable care to ensure that the environment is not damaged in the course of their operations and that oil spills are cleaned up quickly irrespective of the perceived cause of the spill.

4. Review the practice of awarding surveillance contracts and standby payments to individuals.

5. In line with the international "Publish What You Pay" campaign, publicly disclose, in a disaggregated, regular and timely manner, all net taxes, fees, royalties and other payments made to the federal government, state governments of the Niger Delta, the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and local communities.

6. Conduct a "conflict impact assessment" for each project or facility. Such assessments should investigate overlapping claims or opinions that could lead to violent conflict and develop plans to mitigate any identified risks. If such an assessment concludes that the facility or project could lead to violence then the companies should consider whether it is feasible to continue maintaining those facilities or projects under such circumstances.

7. Conduct "relations review" of all conflicted areas of operations to determine the extent to which company policy is implicated in such conflicts, and make necessary changes.

8. Replace the "host communities" approach to community development with the more inclusive and conciliatory "whole community" approach. This will mean that rather than designating one community as host community, benefits can be extended to a much wider belt of communities that may be impacted socially, environmentally and economically.

9. It is advisable all oil companies/SPDC put under control and stop extra judicial executions (killings, genocide, terror etc) on the Ijaw by Soldiers and Naval personnel who are carrying out operation Hakuri II, behind the oil operations (delimitarisation).

10. SPDC in its advocacy needs to work to ensure that the Ijaw like all other Nigerians equally participate in the governance of the federation at the local, state and central levels which are responsible for making policies to protect the environment devastated by oil and gas operations that are by proxy impacting most on the Ijaw.

11. SPDC needs to replace all her pipelines and oil installations that are outdated to avoid further explosions such as the Jones Creek explosion 26th March, 1998, spilling well over 20,000 barrels of crude oil into the environment.

12. SPDC needs to ensure the return of the passport 19 outboard speed boat offered the Gbaramatu Traditional Ruler by Chevron/Texaco Nig. Ltd. which was forcefully taken away by a combined team of Nigeria Military in the service of the oil companies on 19th March, 2003 along the Escravos River.

13. SPDC needs to provide refugees/displaced ones (both Ijaw and Itsekiri) with relief materials as was done in the case of the Lagos (Ikeja) bomb explosion. Nobody loves violence, it is circumstantial.

14. Stop the campaign of calumny against the people. Calling people whose land provides billions of dollars to you in profit "hoodlums" and "criminals" is just following a familiar script of corporate domination and control. The people of the Niger Delta are very familiar with such rhetoric’s which are known to be precursors to genocidal actions.

15. Stop favoring one ethnic group against the other or dividing communities by collaborating with few individuals to the detriment of the generality of the people.

16. Support activities aimed at rebuilding communal governance institutions destroyed by oil and gas activities and presence.

17. Stop undermining and eroding governance and survival strategies of local communities, fishing, farming and trading and local piloting.

18. Provide indigenes of the impact communities with employment, empowerment and development

19. Compensate the people for losses incurred as a result of oil and gas activities.

20. Stop the unilateral and unchallenged assessment of compensation claims. You cannot be the arbiter in a matter that you are more than a significant party.

21. The SPDC should revisit the March 1998 Jones Creek Oil Spill and consider compensating the Ijaw on their Fishing Right infringed upon.

CONCLUSION

The Operators of all seismic, explorative and exploitative activities and particularly the multinational oil corporations regardless of any, should feel obliged to comply with the call of the World Watch 1999 to the effect:

"We believe that no responsible oil company can operate behind the tenor of armed soldiers. We therefore ask the companies to cease their activities in the region until all military and paramilitary units are removed, all activists released from prison and the situation is peacefully resolved."

And until such a period the Nigerian State deems it necessary to ensure equitable participation of the Ijaw of Warri South –West in the political and economic utilisation of the oil resources and protect the oil impacted environment, the oil multinationals should, on their own, do well cease their operations in Warri South-West Local Government Council Areas.

BACKGROUND TO THE CONDITIONALITIES

The FNDIC’s conditionalities to be in rapport and working relationship with the oil companies/SPDC are informed largely by the followings.

  1. The World Watch Report 1999 on Nigeria
  2. Center for strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Washington DC, Report in the Africa Program May, 2003.
  3. A working paper titled "Community conflicts in the Niger Delta, petro-weapon or policy future?" By Dimeari Von Kemedi in the Institute of International Studies University of California, Berkeley.
  4. Ijaw Council on Human Rights (ICHR) Report – "Wars of War: Silence and Inaction" (Izon-link Newspaper Issue of May 18, 2003 page 16).
  5. Collation of FNDIC correspondences and other related write-ups on the renewed Warri Crisis 2003.

Considering how INEC had to disenfranchise the Ijaw by conducting elections behind extra-judicial killings and terror of soldiers, and considering how SPDC seeks to continue to operate behind the terror of the military in Warri South-West, FNDIC cannot but take solace in the popular suggestions available to the International Community on the Niger Delta, in particular and on Nigeria, in general as evident in 1 – 5 above.

SOME OILY FACTS TO NOTE:

Since the Ijaw youths brought pressure to bear on the Nigerian state over their yearnings for majority rule and true democracy in Warri South West, the response of the government and trans-national oil and gas companies has been the visitation of genocide on our people. Several cases abound. It is a spree of extra-judicial executions/killings (terror). WE will mention but just a few here-under:

-UNDER MILITARY RULE-

  1. As at January 2, 1999 heavily armed soldiers aided and abetted by Chevron Nigeria Limited had already raided and sacked Ikeremor Zion, Opia and Ikenya communities belonging to the Ijaw people. In most cases soldiers in Chevron Helicopters and Sea trucks carried out the invasions. The communities were burnt down leaving several persons dead and injured.
  2. January 30, 1999 at Ogulagha by SPDC Forcados Oil Terminal, peaceful youths demanding for employment in recognition of the historic kaiama Declaration were shot at and nineteen deaths were recorded and several others were injured.
  3. May 17, 1999 soldiers escorting a Shell Barge around Kokodiagbene killed another two Ijaw youths.

    -UNDER CIVILIAN ADMINISTRATION-

  4. July 27, 1999; Soldiers on patrol along the Benin River arrested ten-man Ijaw delegation, who were returning home from a meeting where SPDC Oil spill in Egbema was to be discussed.
  5. On Saturday 14th August, 1999 at Ogbe-Ijoh market waterside in Warri, Capt. Aweri Seiwei was shot dead and his money looted by soldiers under the wrongful pretext that he was identified to be among other Ijaw youths who were out to enforce the popular Kaiama Declaration relating to resource control and fiscal federalism.
  6. Mr. Wilson Oyibo an Ijaw Youth was murdered by other youths who were armed and militarised by SPDC for security/surveillance jobs as host community watch at Jones Creek Flow station around where 20,000 barrels of oil spill occurred on 26th March, 1998 which was undisputedly caused by pipeline failure and has been without compensation for fishing right infringed upon.
  7. In the spree of extra-judicial killings of Ijaw Youths, on 11th December, 2002 MR. LOFE UMAGBA was murdered in cold blood at Ukpoko/Opumami oil field area by men of the Nigerian Army.

Thank you and God bless.

 

HON. CHIEF (DR.) BELLO OBOKO
President FNDIC
HON. GEORGE TIMINIMI
Spokesman FNDIC
KINGSLEY OTUARO (Esq.)
Secretary FNDIC

DAN EKPEBIDE 
Chief Adviser FNDIC
CHIEF GOVERNMENT EKPEMUPOLO
Chief Mobilization Officer FNDIC
 


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