Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) has called on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to be mindful of the decisions he takes on the Niger Delta in order not to encourage another militarization era in the region. MOSOP also called on the government to urgently consider its proposals for the implementation of an Ogoni Development Authority as an acceptable pathway to resolve the protracted Ogoni problem.
President of MOSOP, Fegalo Nsuke who made the call today in Bori, headquarters of Khana local government area of Rivers State said previous governments in Nigeria have seriously erred in the handling of the Niger Delta issue. He accused previous administrations of encouraging rebellion in the Niger Delta through security contracts for oil pipeline protection thereby encouraging the militarization of the civil population.
“We will strongly caution the president against empowering civilians to take over the responsibility of the security forces under the guise of protecting oil pipelines because it ends up increasing the amount of arms within the reach of the civil population. We will rather advise Mr President to equip the armed forces to effectively secure the oil assets in the delta in the most professional ways” he said.
The MOSOP leader also urged President Tinubu to seriously look into the issue of job creation, infrastructural development and security noting that these are critical for the stability of the oil rich region and Nigeria as a whole. He cautioned the president against militarizing the civil population under the pretext of securing the oil and gas pipelines and urged him to equip and motivate the armed forces to secure national assets in the region.
On the military’s links to oil pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta, Nsuke said:
“While there are issues with the conduct of some military personnel in the Niger Delta region, they are still a better and more professional force to secure the country and arming civilians to do their job should not be an option”.
The MOSOP leader blamed the decay in the system on state corruption and urged the government to lead by example.
“As a matter of fact, it is not strange that state corruption has aided oil thieves to operate in the delta and pollute the region in connivance with some military personnel. This should not be strange in a corrupt system like ours where we get reports of billions of Naira being stolen daily by those in government”
“When the leaders steal and we get the reports daily and there are no consequences, it becomes really difficult to expect the citizens including military officers to be exceptionally patriotic. So, the corruption is pervasive because it trickles down from the leadership”.
Nsuke advised President Tinubu to address Nigeria’s systemic corruption to engender national patriotism.
The MOSOP leader further called on President Tinubu to strongly consider the proposals of the Ogoni people for the implementation of an Ogoni Development Authority. He said the Ogoni people were a distinct ethnic nationality in Nigeria and their protection is guaranteed as of right under the Nigerian constitution and other international instruments.