Jan 14, 2010

Ogoni: Join Agitation for State Creation

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The Ogoni people have joined the agitation for the creation of more states in Nigeria.



Below is an article published by Next:


The people of Ogoni, in Rivers State have joined the agitation for the creation of more states in Nigeria with a demand for the creation of Bori state from the present Rivers State.

The Ogoni, who have been locked in a struggle against the federal government on the one hand and oil multinational, Shell, on the other, on the issue of environmental degradation arising from years of oil exploitation in their land, are demanding "political autonomy to participate in the affairs of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as a distinct unit".

Announcing the position of the people during the 2010 Ogoni Day celebration in Bori at the weekend, President of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP), Ledum Mitee, said the demand for the creation of Bori state was based on the Ogoni Bill of Rights, for which Ken Saro Wiwa and other Ogoni leaders paid the supreme price in 1993.

Mr. Mitee, who said the chances of the people getting their demand is "significantly bright", told the mammoth crowd at the event that "our demands for our state has crossed the initial constitutional huddles. We have entered into alliances with others for the next critical stages which would begin before the end of the month.

"We shall, in the days ahead, be calling on all our people in government and our friends, especially those in the National Assembly, to further demonstrate their commitment to the cause by leading and supporting the next stages of this battle. I believe that with our collective efforts we shall overcome."

Democratic leadership

He pointed to the need for MOSOP to start leading the struggle of democratically determining who leads, governs and represents the people as the core of the next stage of its struggle. He said the organisation has recorded some success in the items listed on the bill of rights.

"Whilst we may not have achieved all the demands in that Bill of Rights, looking back, I think we have every reason to congratulate ourselves that many years after we blazed the trail in setting out the demands in the Bill of Rights as the minimum condition for resolution of the Ogoni and by extension the Niger Delta problems, there is now a grudging, even if half-hearted acceptance of them," he said.