Jan 10, 2008

Ogoni: Reiterate Adherence to Non-Violence

The Ogoni have won praise for their continued commitment to non-violence after almost two decades of intractability from the Nigerian government.

Speaking at an event marking Ogoni Day 2008, the Ogoni won praise for their continued commitment to non-violence.  This has been in the face of almost two decades of intractability on the part of the Nigerian government.

Below is an article published by Bolaji Ogundele in the Sunday Tribune:

The President of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP), Mr. Ledum Mitee, has said the Ogonis would continue to adopt the non-violence option in its struggle for better deal for the people of the area.

Mitee, who disclosed this in a heart-touching speech to mark the 2008 Ogoni day at the weekend in Bori, Khana Local Government Area of Rivers State, praised the courage, steadfastness and continuous adherence to the non-violent option even in the face of extreme provocation.

He stated that for 18 years, the Ogoni people had pursued their campaign for justice without throwing stones at anybody, adding that Ogoni remains the most peaceful nation in the Niger Delta.

The human rights activist said, “gone are the days when people thought power resides in the exhibition of violence, but that real power and courage is a function of appropriate reasoning, articulately implemented, stressing that the successes recorded by Ghandi and Martin Luther King in their approach to seeking justice is a model which must be emulated.”

Mitee, however, condemned those who unleash violence and do other condemnable acts, indicating that the way forward for government to demonstrably show that it abhors the violent approach is by rewarding the non-violent option by the Ogoni people and others.

In his speech, Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, represented his deputy, Engr. Tele Ikuru, commended the people for their courage and deep adherence to non-violence in prosecuting the Ogoni struggle, which has made the Ogoni community the most peaceful place in the delta region.

He said, “for 18 years, Ogoni have and are asking for justice, which has not received any tangible response yet, they kept faith with the original method and refused to act illegally to achieve a legal end.”

Amaechi said for many years, Ogoni had cried to the UN, the Federal Government and the Rivers State Government and that the time to respond is now, and called on the Federal Government to listen to the voice of the Ogoni people as that would ensure peace and appropriate resolution of the Ogoni crisis.

The governor, however, assured the Ogoni people of the support of the Rivers State government and advised that they remain within the limits of the law, adding, that the state administration will not hesitate within the limits of the state budget to cite projects that would impact meaningfully on the lives of the people in Ogoni.

In his solidarity speech, elderstatesman, Chief Edwin K. Clark, praised Ogoni for its outstanding role in the campaign for resource control and self determination, stressing that the people must remain courageous and focused on the cause for restitution and restoration of their environment.

Highlights of the occasion were colourful cultural displays and soul touching renditions by Ogoni artists and pupils of nursery and primary schools in the area.

[Note: Mr Ledum Mitee is currently President of the UNPO General Assembly]