Ogoni Open Letter on the proposed environmental cleaning of OgoniLand based on the UNEP report/recomendations
December 5, 2011
Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GCFR)
President and Commander-In-Chief, Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Aso Rock, Abuja.
We the Ogoni students in diaspora, whose parents, siblings, friends and homeland are seriously threatened from human and cooperate environmental policies to extinction by Shell for over five decades in Ogoniland, are greatly honored to write you and the people of Nigeria on the need to urgently address the environmental pollution and concerns of the Ogoni people. We still repose our confidence in you, especially in solving the monumental environmental tragedy that the people of Ogoni, Niger Delta and this great nation are faced with. We urge you therefore to use your leadership in providing credible plan that will ultimately address the environmental cleaning, along with adequate compensation to the Ogoni people for social, health and economic damages.
Few months ago, the people of Ogoni, the people of Nigeria, and the world had a preview of Ogoni environmental nightmare as the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) presented its fourteen months impact assessment study on Oil and gas pollution in Ogoniland. The gravity of the report remains that oil pollution has permeated the length and breadth of Ogoniland beyond human imagination. It is a fate uncalled for and it has exacerbated further the environmental traumatization of the Ogoni people. Therefore, the report has made it clear that there is no cultural, social, economic, moral and legal justification to delay the implementation of the recommendations.
While the UNEP report has validated the Ogoni environmental degradation as a serious ecological war Shell perpetrates daily in Ogoniland, our fears for delaying implementation of the professional-brilliant job of the UNEP is profound and heightened by your duplicated committees and non actions on the report. As a people whose livelihood, history, wealth, and environment have been tied to long chain of discrimination and persecution demonstrated in endless imbalance of socio- political and economic policies towards Ogoni people, we still have hope in you and cannot believe that your caliber of person is employing delay, or other subtle means to deny our people justice even with this credible UNEP report as it has been the manner of most of your predecessors.
We believe your plans in addressing the Ogoni environmental problems should include the use of the UNEP as the On-Scene Remediation Authority in the remediation phase of Ogoniland, and a provision of Comprehensive Environmental Corrective Action Plans that will pre-inform the Ogonis, Nigerians and the world responsible parties, and actions to be taken. We consider that the integration of these two plans, among others, will inject confidence into the entire process, and detect immediately any act of sabotage during the Ogoniland Remediation Project. Our suggestion is based on the fact that the Ogoni pollution has attracted international attention; particularly with the newly validated report by the UNEP, and any approach or plan that is not transparent enough will call to question the intention of the Federal Government of Nigeria under your leadership.
Sir, as a fellow Niger Deltan, we would like to avoid delay in the implementation or any future insinuation that point to failure of the UNEP report/recommendations. Our prayer is that God forbid any Ogonland remediation/bioremediation failure.
We also want to add that in one of your recent trips abroad the issue of state creation gave you a tremendous challenge as your remark was mostly driven by great sense of indifference and politic rather than the honest way to address the growing frustration of unequal equation of social justice in our great nation. We implore you to reconsider your decision and limit your cultural distance on issues of common interest by submitting a bill to the National Assembly for state creation, particularly Bori State. State creation is a common and possible way of solving our political and economic problems of perpetual political marginalization by the government while improving quality of life for its inhabitants.
Mr. President, as you read this letter, we hope that it will touch and remind you of the sacrifice Ogoni people have invested in the campaign for restoring their environment to pristine or near pristine condition. Our efforts have equally sensitized the entire Niger Delta of the danger of oil and gas pollution, yet Ogoni has nothing to show for it while other parts are benefiting. The abandonment of Ogoni and the non-integration of Ogoni in any government meaningful development has made us to hold tenaciously unto the fundamental fact that our wealth are stolen, and we as Ogoni people are made to struggle with poverty, misery, death and pollution. How can something that is so wrong and an injustice to humanity be right because it affects Ogoniland? It is our fervent hope that as you read this letter, it will prompt initiation of action oriented policies towards properly addressing Ogoni cause.
On behalf of the National Union of Ogoni students (NUOS INTL) USA, we are:
Pius Barikpoa Nwinee
Public Relations Officer.
“We are going to demand our RIGHTS – Peacefully, Non-Violently, and we shall WIN” – Ken Saro-Wiwa (1941-1995)
NUOS Intl – Seeking solutions to the plight of indigenous students around the world.
(www.nuos-ogoni.org ~firstname.lastname@example.org ~ email@example.com ~ phone/msg – 773.250.7004)
THIS ARTICLE WAS PUBLISHED HERE AS WELL.
Graphic from the Guardian article Unloveable Shell, the Goddess of Oil
Read our previous related articles: Ken Saro-Wiwa