…Seeks proper burial of murdered Ogoni leaders

From TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt


People of Ogoni ethnic nationality in Rivers State have reinstated their demand for an end to all forms of environmental, social and political injustice against them, regretting that the cloud of injustice still hangs over Ogoniland.

The people of the area, who came together on the platform of Ogoni Beyond Oil and Politics (BOP), also urged the federal government to set up a committee to carry out proper burial rite for all the Ogoni leaders who were killed in course of their quest for justice for Ogoni people.

Convener of BOP, His Royal Highness, Mene Kadilo Kabari, in Port Harcourt, during an event to mark the 30 years of murder of the four Ogoni Chiefs: Albert Badey, Edward Kobani, Theophilus Orage and Samuel Orage, said BOP is a project aimed at uniting the leaders of Ogoni in the interest of the development of the oil rich area.

Kabari in an address titled, ‘Three Decades after Toeing the Path of Self-Destruction, Ogonis must Think Beyond Oil and Politics to Reunite and Rebuild Ogoniland,’ regretted the disunity among the ruling class in the area.

He urged the people of Ogoni to de-emphasise politics and oil and give attention to other sources of livelihood, adding that too much dependence on oil and politics has only hampered development in Ogoni and caused more disunity among the people.

The Mene stated that the killing of the four prominent Ogoni leaders that led to other killings worsened the socio-economic and politically marginalisation of the Ogoni people, adding that till date, the cloud of injustice still hangs over Ogoni.

He said: “While joining all Ogonis and indeed the global human and environmental rights community to mark the-30th anniversary of gruesome killing of the Late Chiefs Albert Badey, Edward Kobani, Theophilus Orage and Samuel Orage, the B.O.P Ogoni project, an organization of new breed Ogonis, who are committed to bridging the future today, declares it as most unfortunate that the ominous clouds of environmental, social and political injustice still hang over Ogoniland.

“This anniversary once again calls for sober reflection on where we were, where we are and where we ought to be in the actualisation of the hopes and aspirations of our forebears that culminated in a struggle for which they lived and died. It is saddening however to note in all honesty that we are a far cry from the lofty dreams of our great leaders who lost their lives in the Ogoni struggle.”

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Kabari urged the people of Ogoni to think beyond oil and politics and push towards other areas of endeavours, adding that the struggles around politics and oil have caused more divisions in Ogoni.

He said: “It is therefore the position of members of the B.O.P Ogoni project, that Ogonis far and near must go back to the drawing board, reflect on the struggle that was developed around the tripod of environmental, social and political injustices, which still stares us all in our faces.

“The social stigma of a disunited people, whose leaders were gruesomely murdered first by themselves and, then, by the state leaving behind a nightmare of failure from the Ogoni bill of rights to even producing a Governor, Deputy Governor, Speaker or Chief Judge of Ogoni extraction since the creation of Rivers State is indeed a darkling plain which requires concerted efforts of all and sundry to change the narrative in every front.”

Kabari urged the federal government to set up a committee that would organize a proper burial for the Ogoni leaders who were murdered in their quest for justice for their people and grant pardon to late Ken Saro-Wiwa and the eight others.

He also urged politicians of Ogoni extraction to work together to end the age-long political marginalisation, adding that without unity, the nation would remains stagnated.

“The project, therefore, calls on the federal government to as a matter of urgency and in the spirit of genuine healing and reconciliation, set up a joint committee that will see to proper funeral rites of all Ogoni leaders lost in the unfortunate killings that started on this day 30 years ago; subsequently a post-humus pardon on Ken Saro Wiwa and other martyrs of the Ogoni struggle, whose agitation has been vindicated by the UNEP report and who later findings reveal, where victims of manipulation of a people against themselves.

“The project calls on the Ogoni political class to close ranks, rise up from its current state of mediocrity and servitude both at state and federal levels and explore ways of addressing the age-long political marginalisation of our people heightened during their time.

“As new breeds, we resolve to think Ogoni beyond oil and politics, to explore and exploit the enormous and abundant human and natural resources God has blessed Ogoniland with.

“We also call for a holistic project review and impact assessment (thus far) of the ongoing implementation of the UNEP report on Ogoniland being handled by HYPREP with funds from the Ogoni Trust.

“Consequently, we demand expedited completion of the centre for excellence and its conversion to a University for Environment. This with the hospital, power, water and livelihood projects ought to serve as some form of compensation, if executed thoroughly.”


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