President of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), Fegalo Nsuke, says reconciliation is made impossible when there is sustained on-going harm. In a comment on Twitter this morning, Nsuke noted that preaching reconciliation when there is sustained on-going harm is hypocritical and unjust.
Nsuke made the comment barely two days after a book launch in Port Harcourt by the Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Most Rev. Matthew Hassan Kukah who served on a reconciliation team set up by the Obasanjo regime to address the issue of oil production in Ogoni. Former president, Olusegun Obasanjo and current Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike had used the occasion to talk about reconciliation in Ogoni lands.
Without a direct reference to Bishop Kukah’s book launch, Nsuke’s tweest this morning read:
“Reconciliation is impossible with sustained and on-going harm. For there to be true reconciliation, the process must be fair and just which demands that those who suffer losses must be compensated in some way to remedy their sufferings”.
“It is also important for those whose actions have destroyed society to be brought to account. We have not seen a commitment on the part of Shell and the Nigerian government towards true reconciliation in Ogoni” Nsuke said..
He called on the government of Nigeria and key Nigerian oil industry players especially the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC or Shell) to put an end to the use of state military forces against civil agitations for fundamental rights and the use of divide and conquer methods to sustain conflicts between and within communities.
Nsuke further called for a transparent and practical commitment to a just and fair system which protects the future of the Ogoni and the Niger Delta people in decision making and resource allocation.
He strongly criticised Nigeria’s attutude towards the Ogoni people describing their tolerance of Shell’s crimes in Ogoni lands as genocidal and noted that the Nigerian authorities needed to show her commitment to reconciliation by accepting MOSOP’s offer for the operation of an Ogoni Development Authority which according to him, is a people-based initiative to foster reconciliation.
“Reconciliation should not only mean oil resumption in Ogoni. It should also consider the needs of the Ogoni people and we expect the Nigerian government to embrace the people-based initiative for the operation of an Ogoni Development Authority” he said.
Nsuke noted that the damage the Nigerian military era in alliance with Shell has done to the Ogoni people may be irreparable in a generation.
“In Ogoni, the pain and damage Shell and the Nigerian authorities did to the people are extreme and a recovery is not likely in a generation. There had been rapes, detention, torture, killings and the mental impact are not easy to deal with when the harm is on-going” Nsuke said
In further remarks, the MOSOP leader criticised the government for turning a blind eye on the Nigeria Exploration and Production Limited (NEPL) which has signalled another possibility of military raids on Ogoni just to force oil production. He called on the government to embrace MOSOP’s proposals for discussions on the implementation of an Ogoni Development Authority which he says has the consent of the Central Committee of MOSOP as the pathway to resolve all issues and usher in an era of reconciliation and development.
“For the Ogoni people, reconciliation means that Nigeria and Shell should accept their wrongs and implement remedies especially with the opportunity of a people-based proposal for the operation of an Ogoni Development Authority” Nsuke said.