Buhari accused of “public deception” by demonstrators, as his handling of the Ogoniland UNEP Report, sparked tension at Nigeria’s economic nerve center in southern
A protest today, under the Ogoni Springtime, was part of an unlimited season of resentment – a series of civil disobedience mass protests, to end injustice against the Ogoni people in southern Nigeria.
At the heart of the mass protests, is the self-declared self-government of the Ogoni people, which had abolished the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni people, MOSOP, founded by the executed famous writer and activist, Ken Saro-Wiwa.
The president of the Ogoni Central Indigenous Authority, heading the self-government, Dr. Goodluck Diigbo, a journalist, who was the closest associate of Saro-Wiwa, said MOSOP demanded for self-government, and its lifespan ended with the actualization.
Diigbo has been urging the Nigerian government to facilitate a genuine joint stakeholders’ review of the environmental assessment study on Ogoniland, a mission undertaken by the United Nations Environmental Programme, UNEP.
When the report was released on August 4, 2012, he disputed, and called for urgent independent:
1. Due process test;
2. Neutrality and impartiality test;
3. Integrity test, and
4. Reconciliation with World Bank EIA policy, UNEP procedures and Nigerian Government regulations. http://royaldutchshellplc.com/2011/08/05/mosop-challenges-intergrity-of-unep-report/
When President Muhammadu Buhari, Wednesday, August 5, 2015 approved several actions to fast-track the long delayed implementation of the report, he declared the Ogoni Springtime.
Buhari had said the actions approved were based on recommendations to him by the Executive Director of UNEP, the UNEP Special Representative for Ogoniland, permanent secretaries of the Federal Ministries of Environment and Petroleum Resources, and others, include the amendment of the official gazette establishing the Hydrocarbon.
But, Diigbo said the recommendations were secret, received from non-experts and lied about the identity of those involved. He urged the Buhari administration to show proof by publishing the recommendations and names of the signatories, which never happened, thus, causing a lot of considerable confusion and resentment.
The Ogoni protesters said President Buhari deceived the entire world, not just the Ogoni people.
Amnesty International said President Buhari’s initiative would fail and the Ogoni people would continue to suffer, as long as Shell fails to change its method of oil spill clean-up.
The stand-off with authorities began with protests on August 9, 2015 at the Nigeria Police Area command in Ogoniland, and other locations.
During today’s protest, a major political party opposed to the Rivers State government led-PDP ruling party there, sponsored a group of youth to confront the peaceful protesters.
A splinter Eleme youth group, led by a known cult leader, said “nobody want to tell us what the UNEP Report is about, and we are not Ogonis.”
When the cult members started to disrupt the protest, the police began shooting into the air.
Hundreds of protesters had blocked the East-West Road, a busy expressway, leading to two refineries, petrol chemical plant, ocean terminal and fertilizer plants among other key economic installations in the area.
Then, Diigbo ordered the protesters to end it, and promised to encourage proper understanding among the ill-informed and ill-advised youth elements.
He said the people would hold out the Ogoni Springtime to the end of injustice against them.
He warned politicians, including elected representatives, who are fueling violence that they can’t have it both ways.
“If Eleme is not Ogoni, then the UNEP report on Ogoniland, is irrelevant to Eleme, irrespective of reference made to Eleme in the report. Ogonis paid the ultimate price for the report,” he said.
Leaders of the Council of Ogoni Churches, met recently and appealed to President Buhari to pull back his Orders, to douse tension in Ogoniland. The Church council President, Reverend, Sir Mike Ibirah said he should act for the sake of peace, because damage to peace, would far exceed the cost of damage to a wrong policy.
Hon. Beabubari Ndorbu
Media Coordinator for the Ogoni Springtime
Contact: Tambari Deekor, email@example.com