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LETTTER FROM NATIONAL UNION OF OGONI STUDENTS TO President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria

EXTRACT: “…the worlds’ most impoverished people inhabiting one of the world’s wealthiest span of land. This irony ridiculously fed by succeeding governments of Nigeria and Shell Oil Company is unacceptable.”

THE LETTER

(NUOS INTL.)USA
2517 W.DEVON AVE.SUITE #5, CHICAGO ILLINIOS 60659
www.nuos-ogoni.org ~ [email protected] ~ 773.250.7004

His Excellency, President Olusegun Obasanjo
President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
The Presidency
Aso Rock
Abuja
Nigeria.

Your Excellency President Olusegun Obasanjo:

OGONI DEMAND FOR AUTONOMY

As the Ogoni people commemorate the murder of thousands of kinsmen and women by the Nigerian military forces, and the gruesome judicial murder of Kenule Beeson Saro Wiwa and eight others, the people are resolute in the demand for economic and socio-political autonomy for the people. The National Union of Ogoni Students (NUOS INTL), USA, on behalf of the people, hereby demand of your government to grant autonomy to the people of Ogoni within the nation state of Nigeria.

In 1990, the Ogoni people, through MOSOP, confronted the Nigerian state with three topical issues that continues to decimate and drive the Ogoni nation to annihilation, namely, POLITICAL MARGINALIZATION, ECONOMIC STRANGULATION and ECOLOGICAL DEVASTATION. The people’s concerns, demands and expectations articulated in the Ogoni Bill of Rights (O.B.R.) and presented to government, and Shell oil (who is implicated in the ecological war on the Ogoni people) was met with unprovoked mass murder.

Rather than call for dialogue on the issues which were presented non-violently, the oppressors visited a violent war on the people with the intent to silence dissent and insure Shell’s unhindered drilling of crude oil in the region. The military campaign that followed resulted in the killing of more than 4,000 people and leveled at least 27 towns and villages and left Ogoni with over 30,000 internal refugees. The grand finale was the execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogoni sons following the pre-determined verdict of a military tribunal teleguided to deliberate on trumped-up charges… To date, neither these matters nor our demands in the O.B.R. have been discussed.

You will recall that the Ogoni people had charged before the United Nations that the Nigerian nation have maintained laws and policies that confine indigenous peoples within it’s national boarders, such as Ogoni to extinction. The journey of the Ogoni people from the Willinks Commission (1958), to the Ogoni Bill of Rights (1990), and to date have been tortuous and bloody. The nation’s continued policies of repression and deprivation have continues to cast a cloud of hopelessness on the Ogoni people who are by standard the worlds’ most impoverished people inhabiting one of the world’s wealthiest span of land. This irony ridiculously fed by succeeding governments of Nigeria and Shell Oil Company is unacceptable.

It is and has always been the desire of the Ogoni people to remain part of a Nigeria that guarantees rights to lands and resources; that which abhors the irony existent today. It is on this note that we, the National Union of Ogoni Students (NUOS INTL), USA, in line with our people’s strong desire, hereby, demand of your government the following:

1. That an autonomous territory to be called a state be created for the Ogoni people within the national boarders of Nigeria. The creation of such an entity would be an important milestone for your administration in ensuring peace and harmony; an atmosphere that would ensure social-political participation of the Ogoni people and capable of ushering in a new era of economic progress for the nation. This demand is important to the Ogoni people and the Nigerian nation because it would solve the problem of marginalization in employment, university admissions, placement in state and federal appointments, and revenue disbursements. Since the creation of Rivers State in 1967, no Ogoni person has been given the opportunity to serve the State as a Governor, Deputy Governor or Speaker of House of Assembly, yet Ogoni is a majority in Rivers State. The fact the Federal government of Nigeria earned $3.9 billon dollars in January; $3.2 billion in February, 2006 from crude oil, and $3.7m of royalties within this quarter from oil operators, yet no single infrastructure in Ogoniland is appalling. What is left are the already dilapidated colonial infrastructures established before British exit from Nigeria. A document from the office of the Accountant General of the Federation, “Distribution of Statutory Allocation, July 06” stated that Rivers State government was granted a total allocation of N25, 883 billion. As Senator Nunieh once said, “if Nigeria were operated as a legitimate Limited Liability company, Ogoni would be a major shareholder”.

2. That Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogoni activists hanged with him in 1995 be exonerated from the verdict of the General Abacha-contrived Military Tribunal. Neither the illegitimacy of that tribunal, the miscarriage of justice of it’s verdict, nor the cruelty and inhumane nature of it’s punishment is in doubt, yet, the cloud of it all continues to hang over Ken Saro-Wiwa and the Ogonis, eleven years after.

3. That the license granted Shell oil to operate in Ogoni be revoked. In this regard, we pray your government to institute a legislative committee to address the demands of the Ogoni people in respect of land and resource rights as they pertain to oil exploration, environment, and revenue. We believe that the resolution of these problems, rather than a policy of intimidation and armed oil operations will set the pace for lasting peace in the rest of the Niger Delta.

Mr. President, the Ogoni people have made their case time and time again against the violation of their indigenous, civil and political rights, rights to adequate housing, freedom from servitude, freedom against forced evictions from their land and freedom to govern themselves but it has continually fallen on deaf ears. Government, however, continually invests in highly lethal weaponry to cow agitations and Ogoni remain militarized to date.

As the heroes murdered eleven years ago this November 10, 1995, are being remembered, we the people, on behalf of the Ogoni people and land reaffirm the Ogoni demands. It is the hope of the Ogoni people that you will use your good offices to consider these demands.

Thank you for your attention.

Yours truly,

NUOS INTL, USA
For and on behalf of the Ogoni people and land.

KORNEBARI NWIKE
(President)

AUSTIN LEMEA
(Secretary)

Cc:  
The Secretary General, United Nations
The President of the United States
The Secretary General, African Union
The British Parliament
The Prime Minister of Britain
The President Nigerian National Assembly
The President of the US Senate, Speaker of the US House of Representative
The US House Committee on Foreign Affairs
Human Rights Watch
Oil change Intl. USA, Amnesty Intl.
International Center for Transitional Justice
The Vatican
The Secretary European Union
The Congressional Black Caucus

November 10, 2006.

For more information about the Ogoni people go to:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ogoni

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