Dec 10, 2013

Ogoni: Protesting Environmental Wasteland

The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People calls for the implementation of the UNEP report in Ogoniland. 

Below is an article published by the World Stage Group: 

The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) has announced plans to commence peaceful and non-violent direct mass actions to protest the refusal of the Federal Government to implement the recommendations contained in the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report on Ogoniland.

The MOSOP President, Legborsi Saro Pyagbara, told journalists in Port Harcourt that, “The non-implementation of the recommendations contained in the UNEP report has made Ogoni an environmental wasteland and a dead zone.”

The UNEP’s environmental assessment in Ogoniland was initiated by the ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2006 and supported by the late President Umaru Yar’Adua, with the report submitted to President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja in August 2011 while the recommendations are awaiting implementation.

According to Pyagbara, “We will like to reaffirm our position that the implementation of the UNEP report, in strict conformity to its recommendations, is non-negotiable.

 “Tying restoration of our environment to commencement of oil production in Ogoni, as being touted, is not only infantile, but also insensitive, most unfortunate and will be greatly resisted.”

He said MOSOP was committed to resisting all attempts to start oil and gas extraction in Ogoni’s four Local Government Areas of Khana, Gokana, Tai and Eleme, without first clearing the environmental mess inflicted on their communities and negotiating terms of a new relationship with the accredited representatives of the people.

 “We consider the inaction of the Federal Government of Nigeria as genocidal impunity that demonstrates domestic terrorism. Every day, local Ogoni communities record rising death rates in circumstances linked to environmental pollution,” he said.

 “We are experiencing severe decline in agricultural production, thus heightening food insecurity and compromising our survival. Any government that does to the weak and voiceless, as Abuja is doing to the indigenous Ogoni people, has no place for higher values, but driven by malice and inhuman motives.

 “Since genocide is a crime against humanity and an assault on global peace, the world must come together as one, against the genocidal approach of the Nigerian government against the Ogoni people, because it may extend to other Nigerian nationalities.

 “We will like to state that implementation of the recommendations contained in the UNEP report will define Ogoni people’s response to the upcoming federal elections.”

The umbrella organisation of Ogoni people also reiterated that on December 10, the world would be marking the International Human Rights Day, while the traumatised people, led by MOSOP, would use the opportunity to march on Port Harcourt and its environs, in protest against the “criminal” failure of the Federal Government to implement the UNEP report.

MOSOP added that the protest by the Ogoni people and their friends would also happen simultaneously all over the world, especially in Lagos, Abuja, Yenagoa, United Kingdom, United States of America, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands and France.