BY EGUFE YAFUGBORHI
PORT HARCOURT—Goi, one of the Ogoni communities devastated by Shell Petroleum Development Company’s operations in Rivers State, has called on the Federal Government to prevail on oil giant, Shell, to return to clean up impacted environment.
Inaugurating a new leadership for Goi, Mr. Stephen Kobani, a community leader, said years after fire from Shell’s operations forced the community dwellers into exile, neither the oil company nor government had deemed it necessary to clean up the environment, let alone pay compensation to the people for the damages caused.
He said: “As far as Shell is concerned, we do not exist; that is why since we have been crying out over the sacking of our community by the company’s operations, they have continued to ignore and neglect us.”
Mrs. Veronica Kobani, Goi Women Leader, said the incident which “destroyed our farmlands, rivers and fish ponds, among other sources of livelihood, pushed us into severe poverty and suffering. Shell and government should clean up the environment to enable us come back to our ancestral homes.”
Over the plight of the community, rights group, the Social Action and Ogoni Solidarity Forum, led by Celestine Akpobari, lamented that rather than setting up Ogoni Environment Restoration Agency as prescribed by United Nations Environmental Programme, UNEP, the government set up Hydro-carbon Pollution Restoration Programme, HYPREP, which has “only been wasting money in setting up bill boards focusing on oil theft.”
The Goi leadership inauguration led by the paramount ruler, HRH Livinus Kobani, saw Mene Tommi sworn in as Chairman, Council of Chiefs and Elders and Mrs Kobani as Women Leader. Also sworn in were the Youth Executives and the Community Development Committee.
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