15 August, Sweetcrude, Bori, Rivers – The Ogoni ethnic nationality in Rivers State has announced they would commence a non-violent mass action if, after 30 days, the Federal Government fails to take action on the implementation of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) key recommendations.
This is part of the resolutions of a special Ogoni congress, which took place on Saturday at the Peace and Freedom Centre, Bori, the seat of Khana Local Government Area and traditional headquarters of Ogoniland. It was attended by over 5,000 Ogoni.
An eight-point communiqué issued by the President of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) and Chairman of the Niger Delta Technical Committee (NDTC), Ledum Mitee, after the congress, urged the Federal Government to implement the key recommendations of the report to show that it is not only the violent option that can spur the government to positive action.
Describing as callous and inhuman the response of the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) to the UNEP report, the Ogoni called for an immediate apology from the Anglo/Dutch oil giant for the deaths and health hazards its activities had caused in its four local government areas of Khana, Gokana, Tai and Eleme.
The communiqué reads: “Considering the highlighted emergency of the situation of environmental devastation in Ogoni and the health hazards to which Ogonis are exposed on a daily basis, congress expresses disappointment at the responses so far from the government.
“Congress mandates MOSOP to immediately embark on mass mobilisation of Ogoni people towards an eventual non-violent mass action, if after 30 days no action is taken towards the implementation of the recommendations.
“Congress, similarly, mandates MOSOP to report the dire situation to all our national and international partners and friends and to seek their continued support.
“Congress further decides to set up a Technical Committee, to do a detailed analysis and review of the UNEP report, with a view to highlighting obvious gaps, especially the public health implications and making recommendations of possible steps to be taken by the Ogoni people, including but not limited to legal action in appropriate jurisdictions.
“The Committee has 30 days to submit its report and all Ogonis of relevant competences are enjoined to make inputs into the work of the committee.
“Noting that the recent spill in the Gulf of Mexico was cleaned within a record time and not within 20 to 30 years, congress insists that a similar initiative, expertise and commitment have to be put into the Ogoni clean up to save future generations of Ogoni people from another 30 years of exposure to the stated health hazards of oil pollution.”