Abiodun OBA

 

The Ogoni campaigns for basic rights have cost the loss of an estimated 4,000 lives, any further loss must be avoided.

The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), made the plea in a statement.

In the statement issued on Thursday and signed by its Secretary-General, Alex Akori, the group expressed deep concern that the Nigerian Government through its agency, the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), was sponsoring crises and encouraging conflicts to justify another military crackdown, kill and maim the Ogoni people in desperation to force the resumption of oil production in Ogoni while the state was building prisons and cemeteries in the area.

Recall that about 26 years ago, nine Ogoni civil rights activists including celebrated rights campaigner, Ken Saro-Wiwa, were brutally executed on November 10, 1995.

MOSOP added that the recent assault by the NPDC has made the intentions of the Nigerian government to build prisons and cemeteries in Ogoni become clearer. It is now obvious that the government is aware of the plan to kill and imprison us for asking for basic rights.

MOSOP condemns the sneaky moves of the NPDC and its allies to violate the rights of the Ogoni people. We note that such backdoor moves will not and have never helped the situation.

MOSOP notes that these actions should not be taken lightly and the world needs to come together to stop this genocide. This is genocide and we should not all fold our arms and watch this happen in the 21st century.

The statement reads: “We want to make unequivocally clear that the Ogoni people have never been completely against the resumption of drilling activities in Ogoni.

“We have however insisted on dialogue as a peaceful means to avert the conflicts and loss of Ogoni lives which has been associated with attempts to force oil production in Ogoni.

“MOSOP urges the Nigerian Government to act and treat citizens with some respect noting that the Ogoni campaigns for justice and fundamental human rights are justifiable. 

“We emphasize that whereas the Ogoni campaigns for basic rights have cost the loss of an estimated 4,000 lives, we do not want any Ogoni lives to be lost anymore.

“We, therefore, call on all parties including Shell, the NPDC and its allies to desist from causing any crises in Ogoni.

“MOSOP notes that it is the right of the Ogoni people to be treated fairly in Nigeria and strongly condemn the government’s use of divisive tactics to push forward its desperation for oil in Ogoni as it portends danger to the lives and peace of local community dwellers who will certainly resist the move.

“MOSOP, therefore, calls for proper and genuine dialogue with all critical stakeholders to address the disputes between Ogoni, Shell and the Nigerian Government.

“We note that the Ogoni people have suffered tremendously in Nigeria and need not be stretched further. We strongly consider the NPDC’s attempt to force oil resumption in Ogoni an assault on the rights of the Ogoni people as an indigenous community in Nigeria.

“While we stress that the Ogoni people were not completely against the resumption of oil mining activities, MOSOP insists on the free, prior and informed consent of the Ogoni people rather than the present use of state-sponsored, crude methods through the NPDC.

“We consider Nigeria’s attempt to forcefully resume oil production in Ogoni against the wishes of the people as coercive, a violation of the rights of the Ogoni people as an indigenous community and in contravention of International Conventions on the Rights of Indigenous peoples.

“Nigeria’s conduct in Ogoni was unacceptable especially at a time when the oil spills from it’s operations in over 60 years were yet to be cleaned.

“It is on record that Shell and the Nigerian Government have messed up the Ogoni environment and the consequences of the pollution have led to strange illnesses associated with the death of over 300,000 Ogonis in the past 60 years. MOSOP condemns every action of the government designed to cause fresh oil spills while they were yet to clean the previous pollution.

“We advise the Nigerian Government to do the right thing to enjoy the support of citizens and not demonstrate the strength of the state to its own citizens.

“MOSOP urges the Ogoni people to remain nonviolent and peaceful as leaders of the organisation work to address these issues in the best way possible.”

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