Tinubu First Anniversary: NUOS, Others Call For Better Treatment For Ogoni

United States-based organisations, including the National Union of Ogo- ni Students International (NUOS INT’L USA), the Center for Democracy, Human Rights, and Anti-Corruption International (CDHRAC INTL USA), and the Movement for the Survival of the Ogo- ni People (MOSOP), have reiterated their call for better treatments of the people of Ogoniland in Rivers State by the Federal Government. The groups said that the people of Ogoniland have suffered years of environmental degradation over the years despite the fact that they produce oil, the wealth of the nation.

The groups, which used the opportunity to congratulate President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on his forthcoming first anniversary in office, said that it is not right to kill the chicken that lays the golden egg, adding that they could not continue to suffer in silence and amidst plenty. They emphasised that almost all the previous administrations in the country have done little or nothing to develop Ogoniland, which they said has been suffering deprivation owing to oil spillage and total neglect.

The groups maintained that the people of Ogoniland have suffered the devastation of their ecosystems and land. luding Shell Oil, set up operations in the 1950s in Ogoniland and since then, their land, water, and air have been polluted to such a great extent that the Ogoni people’s livelihood is threatened. “Between 1976 and 1991, over two million barrels of oil polluted Ogoniland in 2,976 separate oil spills. While oil production has ceased, pipelines operated by Shell Oil still traverse the land, creeks and waterways,” they said.

The group added in a statement jointly signed by the President of NOUS Int’l USA, Pius Barikpoa Nwinee, it’s Secretary General, Sampson B Npimnee, Coordinator, CDHRAC Int’l, USA, Cornelius Du- merenee, and its Secretary General, Toate Ganago and made available to journalists, that the Federal Government and the Niger Delta Development Ministry must rise to the occasion and bring the long-awaited development to Ogoniland.

“NUOS INTL, CDHRAC AND MOSOP wish to call on the Ministry of Niger Delta Development to ensure a total clean-up of Ogoniland and compensate the people of the area for the loss they have suffered over the years. “Our people have been deprived of their means of livelihood and they have been left to suffer in a nation, where they have contributed a lot to through their natural resources. They then set an agenda for President Bola Ahmed Tinubu as he marks his first anniversary in office and extend hands of fellowship to the people of Ogoniland.

The first, they said, is the need to call stakeholders meeting that will involve all the various groups, opinion leaders and elders in Ogoniland, who they said could be invited to an enlarged meeting in Abuja with all expenses paid by the Federal Government. According to them, issues affecting Ogoniland and how to resolve them would be discussed at the meeting.

They suggested that their groups and others should be informed ahead of the meeting so that they could also send representatives from the Diaspora. The second suggestion is that the Federal Government should set up a committee to look into the issues affecting the Niger Delta, especially Ogoniland. The committee, they said, should comprise elders of the land, key stakeholders, representatives of the Federal Government and the youths of Ogoniland.

The third, according to them, is for the government to fully implement the recommendations of the United Nations on how to treat the people of an oil producing area like Ogoniland. They maintained that the government should not just depend on the Ministry of the Niger Delta and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to bring development to Ogoniland, but that they should see the area as special and give it the treatment it deserves.

The groups also suggested an increase in the number of local governments in the area with a view to ensuring more development in the land. It was also suggested that more people from Ogoniland should be given federal appointments and that this should be done in consultation with the groups in the area, both home and abroad, who they said know the right people that would champion their cause and promote their interest.

They stated that Shell Oil company should be made to pay huge sums of money over the damages done to Ogoniland over the years. “Our position is that Shell Oil cannot continue to pollute our land without accepting responsibilities for what they ought to do.

“Six, we are also asking the Federal Government to discard or reject Shell’s purported onshore oil sale or transfer because it is daylight robbery. Hence Shell’s attempt and attempted purported sale in the disguise of globalisation is anti property right and anti legal fact that has no place in law,” they said.

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