The group said plotting to return to oil exploration with palliatives is a violation of the UNEP Report. The lambasting statement was delivered by the USA wing of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP-USA), who said; “Your push for the return of oil production in Ogoni through NNPC in violation of the UNEP guidelines is unacceptable.”
The movement, which commended President Buhari on appointment of Ferdinand Giadom, another Ogoni, as the Project Coordinator of Hydrogen Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP), however made it clear that occasional but cosmetic appointments to massage the ego of selfish politicians were not synonymous with implementing the UNEP Report recommendations.
They also said such appointments do not solve the problems of the Ogoni people. “Therefore, Ogoni earnestly deserves a Marshall Plan that encapsulates the complete and uncompromising implementation of the UNEP Report, the Ogoni Bill of Rights, and the exoneration and immortalization of the Ogoni Nine.
MOSOP-USA warned that anything short of their 14-point demands would amount to a time bomb that they said would devastate the Niger Delta area and beyond if not preemptively detonated.
In the statement signed by Elder DineBari Augustine Kpuinen, president, MOSOP-USA said; “So far, and on your watch, an estimated $360 million has been spent on the so-called cleanup in Ogoni with nothing to show for it. While on the other hand, BP has spent an estimated $71 billion on cleanup and compensation for the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico over 10 years ago.
“Beneficiaries include 400 local governments, shrimp fishers, schools, hotels/motels, and tens of thousands of claimants along the coast. Mr. President, why can’t this happen in Ogoni? Why can’t you compel or sponsor laws that would hold oil companies accountable for oil spillage and pollution in the Niger Delta after decades of total environmental destruction?”
MOSOP-USA regretted that the clean up exercise had dragged since 11 years without result, adding, :If Nigeria is genuinely ready to clean the Ogoni environment, she must go by the UNEP Report”.
Top on the list of the 14 demands is that HYPREP be scrapped and replaced with what called Ogoniland Environmental Restoration Authority (OERA), as the group said HYPREP was not what the UNEP Report recommended. They said what was recommended was clean-up, not cover-up.
Calling on what they called total revalidation of the UNEP Report, MOSOP-USA said black soot rain that causes internal bleeding has emerged which was not envisaged in the original study and report by the UN.
They also called for total discontinuation of gas flaring, establishment of one new hospital in each of the four local council areas in Ogoni. They also renewed calls on the integrated contaminated soil management centre as well as the centre of excellence for training of Ogoni people.
The group also demanded that all jobs and contracts be awarded to Ogoni people and demanded the discontinuation of every local contractor to be replaced by foreign ones they promised to nominate.
Calling for position of Federal Minister of Environment to be ceded to the Ogoni till clean up is over, the group also demanded for an Ogoni State because they have not tasted the positions of president and governor.
They reminded the FG that provision of portable water to all Ogoni was required before clean up would begin because the UNEP Report indicated that Ogoni water contained benzene (a cancer-causing chemical), hydrocarbon, and other poisonous chemicals.
MOSOP-USA hit the bull by the horn by demanding for compensation and rehabilitation. They insisted this was provided for in the UNEP Report though many oil company leaders have argued that monetary compensation was never intended in the Report. MOSOP however listed several communities they said had been devastated and needed rehabilitation.
They also made it clear that MOSOP was the only organization mandated by the Ogoni people to speak on our behalf and that the Ogoni Bill of Rights (OBR) is the document that clearly states their demands.
“You and previous administrations are fully aware of this document; therefore, trying to recruit people who would work against our demands within and outside Ogoni will only make matters worse”, the statement said.
They reiterated with their demand that Ken Saro-Wiwa and the other executed Ogonis be exonerated and immortalized. The group said they copied their demands to all human rights groups in the world.
With this position, it may be difficult to resolve the lingering crisis in Ogoni because the demands show that efforts so far made may not have come close to the expectations of the Ogoni people. Yet, there are Ogoni citizens that think the FG has done well so far. This clash in assessment and opinions may be cause of more friction, ahead.