In some cases, as with the Ogoni, those who seek justice for their peoples face real persecution even from those who should protect them. The Ogoni case may represent the most outstanding case of state-sponsored persecution against a fight for social justice. It is however commendable that even in the face of death, the Ogoni people have resiliently stood for their demand for justice.
Sadly in over 26years, the Ogoni people are still waiting for justice. We still hope that our efforts and sacrifices will yield a better society. We believe in what we do and trust that our model will usher in peace, equality, competition and true freedom to our country Nigeria.
We are deeply saddened that despite the production of an estimated 185,000 barrels of oil daily, our huge gas reserves expected to run for over 100years, despite the painful consequences of oil exploration to which we have been confined and our willingness to engage in peaceful negotiations to win basic rights, the state's approach and response to our demands had always been to send our our military and security forces against us.
Government thinks the solution, and may be, the only solution is to kill us. Their orientation is military crackdown and not dialogue based on the merits of our case. We seek justice not because we want all the proceeds from our oil but because we have been exploited to death by our own government and a third party, Royal Dutch Shell, who have taken advantage of our unjust society to do to us what they won't dare in their home countries.
We seek justice against a system to which we have made profound contributions, a system that has taken over $50bilion away from our land leaving us with a devastated environment, enslaving us in our country and if nothing is done, we will ultimately die.
We are pained that rather than address our genuine complaints, the Nigerian government in connivance with Shell Petroleum chose to hang our leaders in 1995 and expect us to celebrate them and reward them with resumption of oil production. Immediately after the 1995 hangings, Shell launched an Ogoni re-entry program. Life means nothing to them, all that matters is oil money.
What has happened to the Ogoni people should be condemned the world over. Standing with the Ogoni in the search for justice should therefore be an obligation and rightly expected of all who seek peace and justice in our world. The Ogoni case should pitch us against those who perpetuate Injustice in different societies.
Fighting Injustice is a task to which we must all be totally committed not just to save the lives of over one million Ogoni people but to advance the cause of peace in our world. It is huge task but also a obligation especially for the west which has immensely benefited from the proceeds of Ogoni oil.
We cannot afford to fail.
The author, Fegalo Nsuke is President of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP). He wrote from Port Harcourt, Nigeria