Feb 07, 2006

Ogoni: MOSOP Wants Ogoni Literature Restored in Schools

Part of the Ogoni-Shell reconciliation process has been slow, partially because of the demands of the Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State which wants the Ogoni languages incorporated in school curriculum at appropriate levels in their schools
Movement for Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) has re-opened the battle to save its language from extinction and has called on the Rivers State Government to restore Ogoni literature in their schools.

According to the umbrella socio-cultural organisation, the Nigerian state does not make any provision for the development of the Ogoni languages of Khana, Eleme, Gokana and Tai. Stressing the place of language in the sustenance of culture and in the survival of peoples, the group therefore wants the Ogoni languages incorporated in school curriculum at appropriate levels in the school system in Ogoniland.

Daily Independent gathered at Nchia-Eleme in Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State that these demands are part of the reasons the Ogoni-Shell reconciliation process was slow.

MOSOP’s Information Officer, Bari-ara Kpalap, also informed that the Ogoni people are not happy with the oil company and their collaborators in government for allegedly accrediting certain oil wells in their territory to local governments in some neighbouring states.

The Ogoni are also angry with Shell for the alleged adoption of nascent lateral oil drilling techniques to drill oil from their from remote locations. While the Anglo-Dutch oil major appears to be impatiently expecting reconciliation and cooperation, MOSOP activists say Shell-Nigeria appears to lack corporate memory.

A leading environmental rights Ogoni activist, Patrick Naagbanton, said, “what this means is that Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) lacks awareness of the scale of traumatic impact its past behaviour has had on Ogoni communities.”

MOSOP however maintained that Shell had failed to collect even rudimentary information on the trustworthiness of the governmental fund management. The group also alleged that the oil company has chosen to neglect the possibility of any direct agreements on compensation and development, which would enable them monitor vital procedures.

But, the possibility of substantial assistance in development does not appear to be quite certain. It is difficult to assess whether Shell and MOSOP see their respective conditions for negotiations at present as given or not, whether they are co-operating or not, as their respective statements are often contradictory.

Similar ambiguity can be noticed with MOSOP and the government positions with regards to each other. For the Ogoni group, there are neither any real indications of democratic practice nor benefits in any tangible way from universally accepted dividends of democracy.

It however insists that incorporating Ogoni languages in school curriculum as well as restoring Ogoni literature in their schools are legitimate rights of the Ogoni people just as it maintained its denunciation of the 1999 Constitution concerning the matter of resource ownership and control, and resource allocation.

MOSOP therefore wants all laws pertaining thereto abrogated.

Source: The Daily Independent