Nov 12, 2013

Ogoni: MOSOP To Denounce Government Inaction Through Nonviolent Actions

The Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) is starting a nonviolence movement to protest against the federal government regarding the application of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

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The Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) has said it will start a series of non-violent protests to demonstrate its disapproval of the federal government’s handling of the implementation of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Report on the degradation of the environment of the area.

The movement announced its decision yesterday in Bori, Rivers State, at the celebration of Ogoni Heroes' Day to mark the execution of human rights activist and poet, Ken Saro-Wiwa and other Ogoni martyrs 18 years ago by the General Sani Abacha regime.

President of MOSOP, Legborsi Pyagbara, said in his speech at the ceremony, that the ultimatum the movement issued the federal government over the implementation of the UNEP report expired last Saturday and that the people would also invoke the provisions of the United Nations Genocide Convention against the federal government.

He said: “The Dr. Goodluck Jonathan administration is presiding over the final liquidation of the Ogoni nationality and we would not accept it. As the ultimatum we issued to the Nigeria government expired yesterday (Saturday), in the coming days ahead, we invite you to join us as we embark on a series of non-violent actions to demonstrate our total disapproval of the government’s handling of the implementation of the report of the environmental study of Ogoniland.

“In a related development, we wish to also inform you that we would be invoking the provisions of the genocide convention against the Nigeria government. We must all be ready to challenge those who are daily erecting barriers to our sense of common humanity and equality and this is the time.”

According to him, the death of the martyrs changed the history of the Ogoni people and the Niger Delta and urged the people to raise up against the federal government and multinational oil companies which he described as the enemies of the people.

He added: “On this day, 18 years ago, the despotic government of the late General Sani Abacha snuffed out the lives of our fellow compatriots who had committed their lives to a cause which they so dearly believed in for the liberation of our people. It is also a day that has come to demonstrate the strength of the Ogoni people to withstand oppression and military repression.
“It is  now celebrated to demonstrate the ability of  our  people to move beyond our immediate divisive past, a division created and orchestrated by a common enemy, the federal government and Shell, so that we can move forward in unity of purpose.

“My dear brothers and sisters, we here today to honour the memory of the heroes of our struggle. Ken Saro-Wiwa, John Kpuinen, Chief Edward Kobani, Chief Albert Badey, Chief S.N. Orage, Dr. Barinem Kiobel, Chief T.B.Orage, Nordu Eawo, Paul Levura, Saturday Dobee, Felix Nuate, Baribor Bera, Daniel Gbokoo, Dr. Garrick B. Leton .

"This day also belonged to those ordinary people whose names never appeared in the history books, never got on news media, may not be well known but they all fell during the period of repression in order that we and the Niger delta people may be free.

“The coalition of conscience that found expression in the march of our people on January 4, 1993 culminating in the death of our heroes on November 10, 1995 is still on.

“And because they marched and died, Ogoni has changed, the Niger Delta has changed. Because they died, the Ogoni oil is still under the soil; because they died, “Ogoni pio pio” had given way to “Ogoni pure pure’’; because they died, our lost sense of dignity, our lost language, and our lost identity  had been restored; because they died, doors open so that our brothers and sisters could at least  imagine a life for themselves beyond the shores of Ogoniland; because they died, our understanding of our environment had changed and laws have changed; because they marched and died, the Ogoni people had won a psychological and moral victory over the Nigeria government and Shell. 

"We had become an inspiration to thousands of people and communities all over the world. These are some of the victories that had been won because of their sacrifice .These are some of the changes that they made with each step that they took in our behalf.”

While noting that much had changed since the execution of the Ogoni heroes, Pyagbara said: “We would  be dishonouring our heroes  if we at the same time fail to admit that the Nigeria state had continued to fail the Ogoni people in some other ways.”

On the political developments in Rivers State, the MOSOP president urged politicians from the area to work towards the emergence of a governor from the Ogoni area in 2015.

Also speaking at the occasion, Senator Magnus Abe, described the non-implementation of the UNEP report as an act of wickedness against the people of Ogoni by the Jonathan administration.
He explained that all efforts made by elected representatives of the people of Ogoni to get the federal government to implement the UNEP report had not been successful.

He said: “I have said it before and I want to repeat it here that the non-implementation of UNEP report is nothing other than wickedness on the part of the federal government. Today, I want to acknowledge the contributions of all our heroes, those that marched, those that were killed those that shouted, those that wept, and those that carried placards.

“You know before now, when I talked, I was saying it was the Rivers State Government that made the UNEP report possible, but I have come to realise that that is not entirely correct. Yes, we worked the physical work as at the time when the UNEP report was being put together, but without the struggle of all our heroes past, the federal government would not have even called UNEP to come and do anything in Ogoniland. So, every Ogoni person has contributed to the realisation of the UNEP report.

“What has happened to the report? Before UNEP began its assignment, the late President Yar'Adua called us to a meeting in the Government House, Port Harcourt and we agreed and gave a condition that we will not allow the federal government to come and do a study for the sake of a study, that we all write an undertaking that once the report is out, it will be implemented.

“Yar'Adua directed the then Secretary to the Government of the Federation to write that letter. One week after the meeting, the federal (SGF) government wrote to promise Ogoni people that the report would be implemented once it is ready. Now, when the report was brought, Yar'Adua was dead and our own son, President Jonathan, was now the president, to whom the UNEP report was now submitted. After the report was submitted, we waited and nothing happened.”