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MOSOP Takes Ogonis To The Streets …Threatens Action Against Delay of UNEP Report

The streets of Port Harcourt, Rivers state, particularly from GRA junction of Aba Road to the Brick House at Azikiwe Road, were blocked on Monday, November 7, 2011, as thousands of Ogonis trooped out en-mass, in protest against the delay in the implementation of the United Nation’s Environmental Project, UNEP, report.
The protest was organized by the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People, (MOSOP), with Barr. Ledum Mittee, leading the group.
Carrying different placards, some reading, “Our non-violence is not weakness,” Atmospheric air in Ogoni is contaminated,” “Clean up the Niger Delta,” Why Ignore Ogoni, People,” “Reward non-violence,” “It is Ogoni today, it can be yours tomorrow, join,” and several others, the people of Ogoni marched to the Government House, Port Harcourt, armed with a letter addressed to President Ebele Jonathan, captioned “Request for Urgent Action on UNEP Report on Ogoni.”
The leader of the group, Barr. Mitee, told Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi that everyone directly or indirectly liable for the delay in the implementation of the report, would be sued to court.
He said almost every month someone dies in Ogoni from contaminated water, yet several months after the Senate and House of Representatives resolutions on the issue, no action has been taken on the report.
“Since then, we have heard nothing from the Federal Government and our people are dying. Today is the 7th of November. Three days from now, is the day in November when Ken Saro Wiwa and so many others were murdered in the struggle for justice and emancipation of the Niger Delta,” Mitee stated.
“We are tired. How long do we continue to drink this contaminated water? We will take action against those sitting on the matter and making our people to suffer in any jurisdiction we find convenient,” he continued.
They were joined in solidarity by the Rebisi Youths.
Receiving the letter to the president on behalf of the governor, the deputy governor, Engr. Tele Ikuru, accompanied by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. George Feyii, lauded the peaceful conduct of the Ogonis throughout their struggles, noting that elsewhere “it could cause a war.”
“It is true that the UNEP made recommendations on things to be done with immediate effect, concerning the Ogoniland, concerning the clean-up,” the governor owned up, adding, “indeed the situation in which the Ogoni man lives is such that several people will continue to lose their lives and have illnesses some of which we cannot fathom”.
He decried the delay in the implementation of the report by the federal government and its agencies and assured that the governor would forward the letter to the president.
Part of the letter addressed to the President through the governor of Rivers state, reads, “When nothing was heard further on the issue from the Federal Government months after the setting up of the said Committee, both Houses of the National Assembly, in a rare and commendable show of national unity, unanimously passed Resolutions calling on the Government to urgently take steps to implement the recommendations of the UNEP Report.
“The complete lack of any action in the regard in spite of these, have not just caused serious concerns about the gap between actions and intentions of the Federal Government regarding Ogoni and by extension the Niger Delta but made our people to particularly ask-how long will communities that have been found to be drinking poisoned water and living on poisoned land wait for a response from government?
“Your Excellency, as our obligation on behalf of the Ogoni People-especially those whose lives have been shortened and those who are at risk-is to take action against those who have shirked their responsibilities and any who delay in their response, We are also obliged to asking which part of the Federal Government will be assuming responsibility and liability for the consequences of delays in responding to this urgent health and environmental crisis?
“We have carried our protests over Shell to many lands over many years. By its inaction the Federal Government risks associating itself with the actions of Shell and NNPC both of whom should have ended their abuse of Ogoniland and the Niger delta many years ago”.
The letter was copied the Senate President, the Speaker of the House of Representative, The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment, The Chairman of House Committee on Environment, Senator Magnus Abe and the Secretary General of the United Nations. ####

Kenneth Amabipi

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