Jul 12 2012
By Ernest Chinwo
The threat was contained in a resolution of the Congress of Ogoni people, the highest policy organ of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP), comprising representatives of all Ogoni communities and affiliates of MOSOP, at the Ogoni Peace and Freedom Centre, Bori, last weekend.
In the six-point resolution, signed by the Chairman of MOSOP Provisional Council, Professor Ben Naanen, and six others, the group said they were deeply concerned by the failure of the government to implement the UNEP report nearly one year after its release and, therefore, called on the Federal Government to take urgent steps to commence the implementation of the Report.”
They also called on government to involve the people of the area in the implementation of the report as the primary beneficiaries of the programme.
According to the congress, “In implementing the UNEP Report, the Ogoni people, as the presumed primary beneficiaries of the proposed clean-up programme, must be consulted in accordance with the doctrine of prior, free, and informed consent, in order to address issues of corporate social responsibility and the requirements of Nigeria’s Nigerian Content Act which will enable the Ogoni people to be given first consideration in the distribution of the economic and social benefits of the clean up programme and ameliorate the dire poverty and hopelessness in Ogoniland, it is hereby emphasised that the Ogoni people will not co-operate in any clean up exercise that excludes this prior consultation.
“In consonance with MOSOP’s non-violence policy, the Ogoni people will adopt every lawful means to protect their rights, including occupying strategic economic targets in Ogoniland, should the government continue to disregard the implementation of the UNEP Report.”
It also said: “The Ogoni Congress calls upon the United Nations and the international community to prevail on the Nigerian government to protect the environmental and human rights of the Ogoni people by implementing the UNEP Report and also ensure that the people are duly consulted.
“The Ogoni people are deeply concerned about the socio-economic exclusion of Ogoni by the government, which has resulted in severe poverty and alienation in the area and calls upon the Federal Government to commence measures to integrate the Ogoni people by improving their economic and social condition, by appointing them to positions of responsibility in the Federal Government, and by creating Bori State.”
It expressed concern over the crisis in parts of Ogoniland over the acquisition of land for government projects and called for the intervention of the state and Federal Governments.
“The Ogoni Congress is worried by the current crisis in the Sogho community, which was triggered by government’s attempt to acquire land. Congress calls on the Federal and State Rivers Government to protect the economic and human rights of the people of Sogho and bring about a speedy end to the conflict in that community,” the congress said.
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