NOVEMBER 10 ::RETRIBUTIVE JUSTICE AFOOT BY LEBURA GANAGO

It has been twenty-four years since the Nigerian state, at the behest of Shell oil, in a most barbaric manner murdered Environmental and Minority Rights activist, Ken Saro Wiwa, and eight of his fellow Ogoni campaigners-John Kpuinen, Dr. Barinem Kiobel, Baribor Bera, Daniel Gbokoo, Saturday Dorbee, Paul Levura, Felix Nuate, Nordu Eawo. The Ogoni activists fondly referred to as the Ogoni Nine, were hanged at the Port Harcourt prisons in South eastern Nigeria on November 10, 1995, after a trumped-up murder charge and a show trial in a kangaroo court called a military tribunal.

Incontrovertible evidence abound which proves that Ken Saro Wiwa and fellow Ogoni activists were murdered as a result of their opposition to the transnational oil corporations’ reckless and racist operations which has turned the entire Ogoni territory into a graveyard of environmental devastation. It is actually an environmental nightmare in Ogoni today. At the center of this game of death is Shell oil. Shell oil has always been an agent provocateur in every round of the bloodbath in Ogoni. On January 4, 1993, under the aegis of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People, MOSOP, the Ogoni people declared Shell persona non-grata in Ogoni. As the then Spokesman of MOSOP, and of the Ogoni people, the onus fell on Ken Saro Wiwa to make this declaration. Needless to say that Shell did not find this funny. 

In February 1993, Shell met in London, and resolved to monitor the movement of key players (reads Ken Saro Wiwa) “to avoid unpleasant surprises”.  And Ken Saro Wiwa recounted his experience in the hands of Shell and its agent, the Nigeria government, this way: “On January 4, 1993, the alarm bells rang in the ears of Shell. I was to know no peace from then on. I became a regular guest of the security agencies. I was stopped and arrested at airports, seized from my office and questioned repeatedly.”

In this captivating caption, Shelling Nigeria, (The Punch December27,1996),Femi Oyafemi poignantly exposed Shell’s    involvement in the Ogoni tragedy. In response to then Managing Director of Shell Nigeria, Mr. Brain Anderson’s CNN interview on November 11, 1996, Femi Oyafemi noted:“ Much as Mr. Anderson of Shell tried to give very short answers  and his well-rehearsed refrain ‘we try to do what we know how to do best’, more light was thrown on the volatile issue of the Ogoni genocide, the importation of arms and the romance with government”. Mr. Oyafemi further remarked, in reference to Mr. Brain Anderson’s interview, “We note your tacit approval of the genocide and the clever washing of hands off the matter. We thank you for the open declaration that the Ogoni want you back. If they do desire, hurry and go back”.

 

Now Shell oil and/or its surrogates goaded on by the Nigerian government, are desperately pushing to force their way back into Ogoni territory , to drill Ogoni oil and blood again!. It does not matter to them that the mess that was created for all of 35 years has not been cleaned up. The body set up by the Nigeria government,( in contravention of the UNEP recommendation) to undertake the clean-up exercise, Hydrocarbon Pollution Restoration Project (HYPREP), actually a misnomer, is in traditional Nigerian fashion, mired in corruption and outright fraud.  As with such structures of government establishment in Nigeria, the idiotic concoction called HYPREP, is fast becoming a conduit pipe used by corrupt officials to siphon public funds. In a perfect storm of classical fraud, yam sellers were shortlisted by the HYPREP guys as   oil spill clean-up contractors, to remedy such a monumentally impacted Ogoni environment which the UNEP report indicates “severe and wide spread contamination of soil and groundwater”.  The report published by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) in 2011, estimates that it would take thirty (30) years to clean up the environmental mess that has been created in Ogoni.

It is evident that the HYPREP guys are in a conspiratorial alliance with the Nigeria government to defraud the Ogoni people. They are turning the UNEP recommendation on its head. They have already sidestepped vital preliminary steps to the clean-up process, such as the establishment of Integrated Contaminated Soil Management Center and Center of Excellence, to train Ogonis to acquire the necessary manpower for the clean-up. I guess they are bent on continuing the fraudulent  age long  Shell’s method of digging up pits and burying  crude oil , (cover up) which further pollutes our underground environment. So they feel they do not need technical expertise required for a decent clean-up exercise.       

 Since the UNEP, a reputable world body  has estimated  that it would take not less than 30 years (which is eternity) to clean up the heavily  polluted Ogoni environment it follows that there is no reasonable expectation that oil extractive activities will ever take place in Ogoni in this generation. In fact, 30 years from today, fossil (dirty) source of energy will have become useless to anyone on planet earth; as clean renewable energy sources become cheaper and more attractive.

Meantime, those who are clamoring for resumption of oil production in Ogoni need to  listen to  Femi Oyafemi again : “ We whose rivers are no longer safe, whose wells are not producing drinking water and who have to live with pollution, know what each barrel of oil means. It is a pound of flesh forcibly torn off our frames”. By the way, it goes against the grain of commonsense that the Ogoni people having taken all of 35 years and tons of precious blood to dislodge the polluters would allow them to come back and further compound an already genocidal environmental situation.

Now, having waited for twenty-four long years to no avail, for justice to be done to the memory of the Ogoni Nine, the Ogoni Four and all other victims of the pacification campaign by the Nigeria government and Shell, the Ogoni people worldwide has decided to take matters into our own hands. We are not going to demand justice from anyone, anymore. We are going to exert RETRIBUTIVE JUSTICE for every Ogoni blood that has been spilled and our destroyed environment and heritage.  And no perpetrators of those crimes would be spared. Not even their enablers. Watch out! We promise.

 

Leburah Ganago

Atlanta, GA

United States.