UNEP Report: Ogoni poised for ‘road demonstrations’

Mkpoikana Udoma 14 January 2016, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt  – The people of Ogoni would be trooping out for road demonstrations across the country early February if the Federal Government failed to commence the implementation of the environmental impact assessment report of the United Nations Environment Programme, UNEP, on Ogoniland.

Legborsi Pyagbara, MOSOP president

Mr Legborsi Pyagbara, MOSOP president

The Ogoni recently, during the 23rd Ogoni Day Anniversary held at Bori, Rivers State, issued a 30-day ultimatum to the government to commence the implementation of the report, failing which the people would resort to demonstrations.

In an address read by the President of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People, MOSOP, Mr. Legborsi Pyagbara decried the continuous ecological degradation, economic and political marginalisation of the Ogonis 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 urged the the 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 also vowed to resist any attempt to truncate the true essence of the UNEP report on Ogoniland by some unscrupulous Ogoni politicians.
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”.
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