In a statement signed by its chairman and secretary, Nnah Barikor and Kenneth Kpurugbara respectively, COP described the calls as selfish and irresponsible.
The group advised Shell Petroleum to disregard the calls as they do not represent the popular view of the Ogoni people.
COP noted that the resumption of oil production in Ogoni will lead to the death of more people and that must be avoided at this time. The group further condemned Shell Petroleum for acting irresponsibly and not minding the dangers posed to the Ogoni community in contemplating a return to Ogoniland.
Citing a release by Shell Petroleum released in 1996, captioned, Review of 1995, Community And The Environment, dated 12 July, 1996 Shell said such unpatriotic calls were not new to Shell who have earlier pledged not to return to Ogoni with the people''s consent:
As an example, S.D.P.C recently received a letter from Tai Chiefs, indicating a desire for shell to attend a meeting to discuss issue of a return to Ogoni and S.D.P.C of course agreed. A delegation of around 33 people from across the whole of Tai attended, headed by one first class chief and three (3) second class chiefs.
Responding to this request, Shell (S.D.P.C) said:
S.D.P.C will only return to Ogoni with full and free agreement of all parties in the area. Any attempt to force a party to agree cannot, but work against S.D.P.C.
SPDC further said:
following a return to Ogoniland, the first priority would be a cleanup of all spill, whatever the case and only when this has been satisfactory completed would further oil production be considered. This in line with previous announcement by S.D.P.C.
COP further said, today, these same selfish, unpatriotic minded people are again calling on you to resume petroleum production against the interest of Ogonis and all good minded people across the world, and also against your (S.D.P.C) earlier position.
COP stated that Oil in Ogoni is expected to be of benefit to the present and the future generation of the Ogoni people. They called on SPDC to:
- Support the creation of a state for Ogoni zone.
- Satisfactorily complete the Ogoni cleanup project as recommended by U.N.E.P.
- Get into negotiation and agreement with the Ogoni People on compensation for land and crops.
4. Provide a community developmental plan for Ogoni towns and villages.