Feb 15, 2012

Ogoni: Community Protests Against Land Expropriation

During the weekend, numerous MOSOP members protested against the government’s plan of establishing plantations on Ogoni farmlands.

Below is an article published by All Africa:

The people of Luebe, Khana local government area of Rivers State, have said that no amount of intimidation would make them succumb to alleged plans by the state government to forcefully use their farmland for a banana plantation.

They took to the major streets of their community, last weekend, to protest what they term the provocative and illegal acquisition of their land by the Governor Chibuike Amaechi administration.

The over 300 protesters, comprising youths, men and women, were mainly members of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), even as they displayed placards, before converging at the market square where they were addressed by their leaders.

Some of the writings on the placards reads, 'No democracy in Rivers State', 'Carry oil-palm to Ubima', 'Rivers State government; kill us and take the land', 'Rivers State operates military administration', University for Ubima and oil palm for Ogoni land' among others.

Coordinator of the protest and the leader of MOSOP in Nyo-khana Kingdom, Mr. Jonah Frank lamented that the people of the community who are predominantly farmers, were being chased out of their farmlands by soldiers who were guiding those surveying the land.

Frank said that neither the people of the community, nor their leaders were consulted before the state government moved in to survey the land, which sprang across more than seven communities in the Nyo-khana Kingdom, describing it as provocative.

He said, "The situation on ground is very provocative and aggressive. It is creating chaos and anarchy in the all the communities that cover the areas that the state government forceful acquired, without consulting with the chiefs and elders of the communities."

Frank pointed out the people were ready to defend their rights and called on the state government to drop the idea of forcefully acquiring their land.

Similarly, spokesperson for the Luebe community women, Mrs. Waamana Nwile disclosed that the farmland, which the state government wanted to grab, was the only source of livelihood for the people of the community.

Nwile, further said that 99 percent of the people of the community were peasant farmers, adding that they rely on their farm produce to train their children in school, while urging the Chibuike Amaechi-led administration to go site the protect elsewhere.