It would be recalled that key component of the UNEP report recommendations submitted to President Goodluck Jonathan-led Federal Government in August, 2011 was the scientific clean-up, remediation and restoration of hydrocarbons polluted Ogoni environment, including provision of emergency measures to restore normal livelihoods in the area.
Giving the ultimatum during an interactive session to kick-start a two-day event to mark the 22nd anniversary of the killing of the nine Ogoni heroes at the Peace and Freedom Centre, Bori, headquarters of Ogoni people, last Thursday, MOSOP’s Public Relations Officer, Fegalo Nsuke insisted that the clean-up must commence before the end of December, 2017, otherwise, MOSOP would mobilise all Ogonis to protest against the Federal Government and the polluter, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria.
Nsuke hinted that MOSOP was working out modalities to actualise its decision to protest against the international oil company offices in Port Harcourt, Lagos and Abuja, saying that MOSOP was in agreement with the two-week ultimatum given Shell by the National Youth Council of Ogoni People (NYCOP) threatening to occupy Shell offices in Nigeria to force the oil giant to vacate the area.
At a separate event to mark the 22nd anniversary of the Ogoni Martyrs’ Day in Bori, the vociferous MOSOP affiliate, NYCOP had given SPDC a 14-day ultimatum to vacate Ogoniland or face retooled persistent protests reminiscence of the non-violent resistance of MOSOP in the late 1980s and 1990s.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with The Tide on the sidelines of the Ogoni Day celebrations in Bori, Acting President of NYCOP, Comrade Norteh Morgan said that the only language the Federal Government and its ally, SPDC understand was civil disobedience, peaceful resistance and protests that threaten productive operations of the company, and expose staff and facilities to risks, and assured the readiness of Ogoni people to send the message direct to the highest leadership of Shell.
“Today, the Ogoni youth are here to review events of the past years and to ask the Federal Government, SPDC and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’s subsidiary – Nigerian Petroleum Development Company – some vital questions.
Morgan stated that the 14-day ultimatum given SPDC to vacate the area was as a result of wrong approaches used by the company in addressing issues affecting the generality of Ogoni people.
Also speaking, a guest lecturer at the Department of History and Diplomatic Studies, University of Port Harcourt, Prof Ben Naanen stated that the UNEP report was not the answer to all the problems of Ogoni people, but described it as a critical step towards addressing some critical aspects of the challenges facing Ogonis.
Naanen, who was spoke on the topic: ‘The Ogoni Struggles: Ruminations and Future Unfold,’ noted that Ogoniland was the first that oil was discovered in 1958, but regretted that the people’s voice could not be heard by the Federal Government because they were of the minority. He described the government’s treatment of Ogoni demands as ‘total injustice’ in view of the massive despoliation of Ogoniland, saying that the agitations for justice and equity initiated by Ogoni leaders as enunciated in the Ogoni Bill of Rights in the 1980s and form the fulcrum of the resistance against SPDC, have completely enveloped the entire Niger Delta, reawakening their consciousness towards resource control, fiscal federalism and self-determination.
He, therefore, urged the Federal Government to urgently restructure the country along those lines to guarantee peace, stability and unity of the Nigerian state.
In an exclusive interview with The Tide, Khana Caretaker Committee Chairman, Chief Gbene Lekue Zini stated that the significance of November 10 in the life of Ogoni people resides in the fact that it points the way inclusiveness and participation of Niger Deltans in the socio-political and economic calculations of the Nigerian state. Zini used the opportunity to intimate Ogoni youth on the need to remain united and speak with one voice to attract development and growth to the area.
“As an Ogoni person, emulate what our fathers died for and appreciate that they did not for their selfish interests but for the overall good of all Ogonis,” Zini added.
“Conflicts, crises, cultism are not what the Ogoni people are known for; we are known for straightforwardness and that is why our Ogoni nine died, because they wanted equal treatment, fairness and justice to Ogoniland,” he lamented.
He urged Federal Government, Shell, Hydrocarbons Pollution Remediation and Restoration Project (HYPREP) and all parties in the Ogoni clean-up to urgently do the needful, adding that the people were tired of failed promises.
It would be recalled that on November 10, 1995, environmental rights activist, Kenule Beeson Saro-Wiwa and other eight Ogoni leaders were executed by the Gen Sani Abacha-led military junta following their role in the Ogoni demands for equity, justice in the sharing of oil revenue and inclusion in the political space.