TITLE: MOSOP URGES OGONIS, GENERAL PUBLIC TO DISREGARD ATTEMPT TO DEMONISE IT
The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) has said that it would lose no sleep over mischievous attempts by her detractors to demonise the organisation but would not take lightly threats to the lives of its leadership and members by envious and desperate local adversaries especially the so-called peter medee. MOSOP has thus called on the Ogoni people and the general public to discountenance his baseless and unfortunate allegations made on radio last Saturday (16/7/2016).
Peter medee had on Silverbird’sRhythm 93.7fmprogramme, viewpoint,on July 16, 2016 maliciously and deliberately distorted facts in his inept and failed efforts to rope MOSOP in frivolous accusations. He also credited efforts of MOSOP culminating into the UNEP environmental assessment report on Ogoniland to his controversial mentor and financier, who, like their traditional king, have had their social stocks collapsed not only on Ogoni but also Rivers socio-political market. These were all in an attempt to paint the leadership of the Ogoni umbrella body in bad light and incite the Ogoni community and the general public against them.
This infantile approach coming now is not surprising to us. The attack, we are aware, is one of the plans lined up by medee’s gang to oust the present leadership of the Movementin line with the dictates of their master who wants to be the sole owner and leader of Ogoni, and sees the MOSOP leadership as stubborn and independently minded. However, this tendency no doubt betrayed frustration and desperation. Having secretly entered a stomach infrastructure deal to the tune of 1% of profit after tax with NPDC with respect to immediate resumption of oil production in Ogoni, they have been mad that the resistance of the Ogoni people led by MOSOP would destroy the deal and resorted to blackmail and falsehood against MOSOP as damage control. However, whilst we do not consider important joining issues with these characters, we would not fail to put the records aright.
The Ogoni environmental study occasioning the popular UNEP report on Ogonilanddid not happen by chance neither was it an initiative of kagote nor their sponsor.The assessment exercise as a matter of fact arose from acknowledged struggles of our people that medee and his gang denounced. The outcries of the people attracted the intervention of the United Nations, which in 1996 and 1998 or thereabout sent two teams to Ogoni– the Fact-Finding Mission to Ogoni and the Rapporteur on Nigeria respectively. They made far reaching recommendations including specifically advising the Nigerian government to conduct an audit of the Ogoni environment in consultation with Shell and MOSOP and not kagote or any other person or group. In 2006 and 2007, MOSOP held meetings with UNEP at Nairobi and Port Harcourt with valuable outcomes. It also made useful recommendations to the federal government that informed a tour of impacted sites in Ogoni by a federal government team led by the then Minister of Environment,Mrs. Esuene amongst others. Therefore, without the MOSOP led Ogoni struggle, there would not have been any such scientific document on Ogoniland.
With MOSOP’s campaign intensity coupled with pressure from the international community, the Obasanjo administration contracted UNEP to assess the Ogoni environment and make recommendations to it. However the dubious approach of some Ogoni in government and Kukaleaving no doubt about their acting the script of Shellforced MOSOP to raise alarm. As the process was obviously politicised and the prominent Ogoni official of the then Rivers State government compromised coupled with the shabby handling of Kukah MOSOP kept raising fears. This fear was not only confirmed but also appreciated when UNEP reported in its preliminary report that Ogoni was responsible for over 95% of the pollution in the region hinging its conclusion on so-called oil theft including bunkering and artisanal refining.
MOSOP in conjunction with other civil society organisations protested against the biased introductory report. It also used herinternational campaigners and connections within the UN system to cause investigation into the controversial account. The combination local and international condemnation and pressure mounted on UNEP reversed its stance against Ogoni and today, even if imperfect, we have a better UNEP report on Ogoniland. Expectedly, neither peter medee nor kagote nor their controversial political fatherand sponsor nor their traditional king uttered a word against the questionable UNEP action that unjustifiably criminalised Ogoni. Instead, they showed arrogance and maintained their denunciation of the Ogoni cause.
Nonetheless, we wish to make it loud and clear that it was the activities of these questionable local politician and his collaborators that would have frustrated the assessment project. It is a shame that these elements are now tagging these internal enemies as messiahs. How could those that have openly denounced the cause of their people and overtly worked against it; celebrated the murder of Ken SaroWiwa and organised solidarity marches and visits in support of Abacha when the blood of Ogoni sons and daughters flowed on the streets of Ogoni and beyond have supported the same cause they hated? If the idea of ascribing acknowledged contributions of others to them was aimed at endearingthemto our people then they have miscalculated.
It is common knowledge that MOSOP has over the years been surviving on members’ subscriptions, donations from well-meaning individuals and grants from international donors for special projects. However since the present president came on board, MOSOP has only gotten one grant administered in phases by another organisation and has had no relationship with NPDC. If some people have used the name of MOSOP to dupe NPDC, we are not liable. We are aware that some erstwhile officers of the organisation have in the past used the MOSOP letter headed paper fraudulently. Now, assuming the company had supported MOSOP, was it in exchange for resumption of oil production in Ogoni? Why are other donors not angling for Ogoni oil? Why is it only supporters of a controversial Ogoni politician that are pushing NPDC and oil mining in Ogoni now?We have it on good authority that the underlining interest of NPDC in Ogoni is resumption of oil extraction and the whole question of “investment in sustainable development in the area is only a smokescreen”.
It is saddening that someone as peter medee is fighting to lead Ogoni. At the peak of Ogoni repression, he was a Shell spy police officer and used the guise of his Ogoni citizenship to do dirty, covert jobs against Ogoni for his employers. Reports available to MOSOP showed that his filed spy intelligence and surveillance reports informed Shell’s sponsorship of the invasion of Ogoni by combined forces of Nigerian soldiers and Andoniattackers in which scores of children, women and elderly natives of Ogoni coastal communities including Kaa, Eeken, Yaghaba and Kpean were slaughtered innocently and in cold blood.And the Ogoni people cannot forget this bestial incident in a hurry.
It is unfortunate that because it is harvest time those that openly denounced our recognised legitimate, just and credible cause are shamelessly battling to seize power in their desperation to capture benefits from the same struggle they hated and worked against. But it must be recognised that Ogoni leadership cannot be won by blackmail, falsehood or seizure. That MOSOP is endeared and retains the mandate of the people to act or speak on their behalf is a function of an indisputable hard work in advancing and defending the rights and privileges of our people. We thus advise the gang to learn from MOSOP rather than attempt to inflict it on the people as that will never work.
We therefore call on the Ogoni people to be calm as we assure that no oil production will take place in Ogoni now. We would reiterate for the umpteenth time that what is on the Ogoni card now is remediation and restoration of the devastated Ogoni environment as the pollution in the area is not abating but spreading and deepening.
This statement was first published in an official statement by Bari-ara Kpalap on July 20, 2016