The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) says Nigeria’s disposition towards human rights and justice is the root cause of the closure of oil exploration operations in Ogoniland.
Spokesman for the group and chairman of The MOSOP Kingdom Coordinators Forum Frank Jonah made this known yesterday in a telephone chat with Ogoninews.
Jonah said the handling of the Ogoni issue shows that Nigeria is not committed to human rights. He said the simplest way to address the Ogoni problem would be to create a state for the Ogoni as its has been done for the other parts of the country. Frank maintained that the Ogoni people wouln’t accept a situation where the Ogoni oil will be used to service unproductive states in the country while the Ogoni people continue to die from pollution and deprivation.
“A situation where you take away all of a people’s resources and put nothing back, you deny them their basic rights to exist withing the Nigerian state, you kill their leaders for ever speaking against the injustice you have meted on them, you discriminate against them in distributing national wealth and you encourage violence by rewarding those who take up arms against the state is to show the extent to which Nigeria has deteriorated in her commitment to human rights” Frank said yesterday.
Frank maintained that the Nigerian government should treat the Ogoni issue as a matter of national emergency and usher in an era of economic prosperity noting that the government must build the confidence of the people by addressing their basic demands including the creation of a state for the Ogoni.
On Belema oil, Frank said “The Ogoni people have already taken a stand at a meeting of all MOSOP chapter leaders in Bori on Saturday and the position is that we reject Belema Oil Producing Nigeria Limited and every attempt by the government or Shell to resume exploration activities in Ogoniland. We view the moves by Belema oil as a desperate attempt to throw Ogoni into crises and weaken the their resolve against oil exploration because the people will definitely resist the oil company’s intrusion into the area”.
The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited in 1993 pulled out of Ogoniland following massive protests against the company’s irresponsible practices in the area. The company has since then made several attempts to return to the oil production sites but the people have resisted every move. In 1995, nine prominent Ogoni leaders were killed by the Nigerian government, a move which was seen to be directed at weakening their stand against Shell.
The Nigerian government is yet to adresss any of the major demands of the Ogoni people including state creation and equitable resource allocation.