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Thursday, 24 March 2016

OPINION & SOCIETY

Niger Delta: Ogoniland cleanup & setting agenda for peace & development
By Fegalo Nsuke

Image result for OGONI LAND PICSThe Nigerian government has not hidden its penchant for the Ogoni oil. In alliance with The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited, an affiliate of Shell International, the government has in the past deployed very brutish and repressive techniques to force the Ogoni people to submission and gain access to the oilfields it abandoned some 20 years ago.


The Ogoni struggle is without doubt, one of the biggest challenges the Nigerian government has faced outside the civil war which broke out between 1967 and 1970. More than twenty years later, the government is still grappling with an approach to resolve the problem.

In 1994, in an effort to break the Ogoni resistance, the government laid false accusations against some Ogoni leaders. Ordered their hanging on November 10, 1995 and began a series of manoeuvre to resume oil production in the area. Both Shell and the government had disagreed with every claim of environmental pollution of Ogoniland until the damning report by the United Nations in 2011. some 21 years after the issue was raised by The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP).

Having failed to return to Ogoniland, Shell's experiences that followed were not so palatable and i am persuaded to think that Shell, in their most difficult moments against ruthless Niger Delta militants would wish there was someone like Saro-Wiwa who commanded so much respect in the region and who could call the agitators to order. But injustice and repression had long sent Saro-Wiwa to the grave. Saro-Wiwa represented the leadership that the young people still had confidence in and would have willingly listened to and obeyed. I am certain that Saro-Wiwa had the capacity to call our young people out of the creeks. But  a Nigerian government had seen him as the threat to free flow of hydrocarbon and ordered his hanging in 1995. Today, billions had been lost to oil theft, pipeline vandalism and illegal bunkering. None had been able to fill the gap and to provide a leadership that can restore order like Saro-Wiwa, a man whose peaceful approach to the fight for freedom gave hope not just to the Ogoni people but the entire Niger Delta.

Ogoni appear, in every way to be a special gift to the Niger Delta. It has been instrumental to the establishment of the special agencies for the Niger Delta - both the Oil Mineral Producing Areas Development Commission and later the Niger Delta Development Commission and now, the establishment of HYPREP following the release of the environmental audit report by UNEP will see to the eventual cleanup of the Niger Delta region.
 Ogoniland Cleanup: Setting the Agenda for Peace and Development in the Niger Delta
The Ogoni cleanup will indeed represent a right start to addressing this lingering problem. It presents itself as another opportunity for the government to move away from the repressive posture of trying to force the people to submission. Implementing the UNEP report on Ogoniland is a right step to peace building which will open the doors for further engagement on development.

Saro-Wiwa's hanging in 1995 was not just a judicial error and state murder, it was an opportunity missed to resolve the Niger Delta problem. Implementing the Ogoni UNEP report and the eventual cleanup of the Niger Delta will offer itself as another opportunity to mend fences and open doors for further peaceful engagement to address this problem. This is an opportunity the government must be fully committed to. For it it fails, it will not only destroy the people's confidence in the Nigerian system, it will also create room for renewed agitation.

The people on their part must avoid the mistakes of the past and give their total support to this process. I believe that had the Niger Delta risen and saved Sao-Wiwa, Odi and Kaima wouldn't have been decimated by the Obasanjo's regime. The killing of Saro-Wiwa without acrimony misinformed the government to reason that the Niger Delta is not just weak, but are a people who are too afraid to stand in the face of terror and speak against injustice. A notion the government could by this time have clearly judged to have been misinformed. This is the time to be united for justice. It is another opportunity for a peaceful match towards development. Let us be united to make it work.


The writer, Fegalo Nsuke is Publicity Secretary of The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP). He wrote from Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

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Editor's Mail

Love the article on Gaddafi
We must rise above tribalism & divide & rule of the colonialist who stole & looted our treasure & planted their puppets to lord it over us..they alone can decide on whosoever is performing & the one that is corrupt..but the most corrupt nations are the western countries that plunder the resources of other nations & make them poorer & aid the rulers to steal & keep such ill gotten wealth in their country..yemen,syria etc have killed more than gadhafi but its not A̷̷̴ good investment for the west(this is laughable)because oil is not in these countries..when obasanjo annihilated the odi people in rivers state, they looked away because its in their favour & interest..one day! Samosa Iyoha

Hello from
Johannesburg
I was amazed to find a website for Africans in Hungary.
Looks like you have quite a community there. Here in SA we have some three million Zimbabweans living in exile and not much sign of going home ... but in Hungary??? Hope to meet you on one of my trips to Europe; was in Steirmark Austria near the Hungarian border earlier this month. Every good wish for 2011. Geoff in Jo'burg

I'm impressed by
ANH work but...
Interesting interview...
I think from what have been said, the Nigerian embassy here seem to be more concern about its nationals than we are for ourselves. Our complete disregard for the laws of Hungary isn't going to help Nigeria's image or going to promote what the Embassy is trying to showcase. So if the journalists could zoom-in more focus on Nigerians living, working and studying here in Hungary than scrutinizing the embassy and its every move, i think it would be of tremendous help to the embassy serving its nationals better and create more awareness about where we live . Taking the issues of illicit drugs and forged documents as typical examples.. there are so many cases of Nigerians been involved. But i am yet to read of it in e.news. So i think if only you and your journalists could write more about it and follow up on the stories i think it will make our nationals more aware of what to expect. I wouldn't say i am not impressed with your work but you need to be more of a two way street rather than a one way street . Keep up the good work... Sylvia

My comment to the interview with his excellency Mr. Adedotun Adenrele Adepoju CDA a.i--

He is an intelligent man. He spoke well on the issues! Thanks to Mr Hakeem Babalola for the interview it contains some expedient information.. B.Ayo Adams click to read editor's mail
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