Mkpoikana Udoma 05 January 2015, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt— The Ogoni people in Rivers State have issued the Federal Government a 30-day ultimatum to begin the implementation of the environmental impact assessment report of the United Nations Environment Programme, UNEP.
Mr. Legborsi Pyagbara, MOSOP president
They issued the ultimatum during the 23rd Ogoni Day Anniversary held in Bori, Rivers State, warning that failure by government to comply with the ultimatum would force them to embark on demonstrations across the country.
In an address read by the President of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People, MOSOP, Mr. Legborsi Pyagbara, he decried the continued ecological degradation, and economic and political marginalisation of the Ogoni despite their huge contribution to the nation’s revenue through crude oil.
Pyagbara explained that the patience of the Ogoni people was fast running out and urges the President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government to open a dialogue with the people concerning the Ogoni Bill of Rights which, according to him, has been in the National Assembly for over two decades.
He said: “As part of Ogoni Project 2015, we launched a multifaceted campaign involving protests, letter writing campaigns, media advocacy and international advocacy on the implementation of the UNEP Report.
“We commend the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government for the renewed interest in the UNEP report and his approval of the fast track actions for the implementation of the report. This announcement was indeed a welcome relief to the anxiety that Ogoni people had endured since the report was released in August 2011.
“However, we are seizing this opportunity to remind the government that the unusual delay for the take-off of the project is becoming unbearable and indeed tasking our patience. We urge the Federal Government to, without further delay, bring into being the announced structures and the roadmap for the implementation of the report that respects the sensibilities of the communities. The ongoing delay on the part of the government will continue to be seen as an act of genocide being committed against the Ogoni people.
“It is in this context that we are announcing that our series of non-violent actions will soon commence in the face of government’s continuing failure to announce the structures needed for the take-off of the implementation of the UNEP report.
“Beyond the issue of the clean-up of Ogoniland, the report also recommended the declaration of the Ogoni wetlands by the government of Nigeria as a Ramsaar Site. The government is yet to do so. The report recommended the reform of the environment regime and policies in the country and to enthrone a new environmental ethic. This is yet to be addressed.
“On our part, we assure that the Ogoni community is ready to give all the necessary support for the implementation of the report. It is on this note that I am calling on all Ogoni sons and daughters to resist every attempt by any Ogoniman or woman to turn the UNEP report implementation process into something for political platitudes whenever it begins.”