April 13, 2017
Photo Courtesy of CIF Action @Flickr
The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni people (MOSOP) has condemned the attack by over 80 militants from Ogu, invading farmlands in Norkpo-Ogoni in Tai Local Government Area of Rivers State. MOSOP has declared this invasion an act of aggression, seriously damaging the dynamic between the two communities. On 7 April 2017, Ogu militants seized vast farmlands owned by the people of Norkpo and violently chased away the owners. MOSOP underlines that this is not an isolated incident, with various other Ogoni communities suffering from similar violent attacks by Ogu militants seizing their ancestral lands. Complaints to the authorities from other affected communities such as the Kporgho-Ogoni have brought no results, shedding a light on the authorities’ worrying inaction towards the plight of the Ogoni people.
Below is an article published by The Nation:
The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) has condemned the invasion of farmlands in Norkpo-Ogoni in Tai Local Government Area of Rivers State by over eighty militants from Ogu, the headquarters of Ogu/Bolo LGA of the state.
It noted that the invading militants were armed with sophisticated arms and ammunition, while being supported by natives of Ogu.
MOSOP, Monday [10 April 2017] in Port Harcourt, through its Media/Public Affairs Advisor, Bari-ara Kpalap, described the invasion by militants as a callous act of aggression, which would further threaten peace and security in the area, as well as inflict major injury on the relationship between both communities.
The umbrella organisation of Ogoni people called on Rivers government and security agencies to intervene, with a view to halting the expansionist land grab campaign of the people of Ogu against their Ogoni neighbours, especially Norkpo.
MOSOP said: “The raid, which was carried out on April 7, 2017, led to the seizure of vast farmlands owned by the people of Norkpo. Upon violently chasing away innocent and harmless Ogoni farmers from their farmlands, the militants instantly apportioned the annexed lands to their people, who also commenced fencing of the allocated plots.
“The invaders denied the Norkpo farmers the right to access and work on or harvest crops on their cultivated farms.
“In mid-March 2017, MOSOP raised concerns regarding intensification of violent capture of ancestral lands of the people of Ogoni communities by the people of the neighbouring Ogu. We are also aware of petitions by the affected Ogoni communities, especially Norkpo, to the authorities, protesting the provocative land seizure actions of the Ogu people. Regrettably, nothing has been done by the authorities to address the issues.
“Coming at a time when the tempest of insecurity in Ogoni has not abated, government and Ogoni people are working concertedly to return sustainable peace to the area, we are compelled to believe that the actions of our Ogu neighbours amount to sinister and unfriendly intent, influenced by expansionist interests. If not, how would one explain the reported involvement of the Ogu Divisional Council of Chiefs and the Ogu/Bolo Local Government Council in the sharing of the annexed Norkpo lands to citizens (individuals and families) of Ogu community?
“Facts abound that heavily-armed Ogu attackers earlier invaded and ransacked Ekporo-Ogoni community in Eleme LGA. The people of Kporgho-Ogoni in Tai LGA of Rivers State also suffered similar fate, as they are presently refugees in various Tai communities. Alesa and Nonwa in Tai and Eleme LGAs respectively are no exception. Unfortunately, complaints by these communities to the authorities have yielded no result.
“We are deeply concerned at the attitude and inaction of the authorities to the plight of the people of the Ogoni communities. From the reported utterances of the people of Ogu, especially claiming that the present state administration of Governor Nyesom Wike is their baby, hence they can do anything and nothing will happen, there is need for the Rivers State government to take urgent steps to deal with the matter to convince Ogoni people that Ogu people’s claim is incorrect.”
The umbrella organisation of Ogoni people also called on all men of goodwill to prevail on the people of Ogu to vacate the grabbed lands and allow peace to reign, stressing that natural boundary between Ogoni and Okrika communities exist conspicuously.