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NUOS International, USA: MESSAGE ON THE UNITED NATION’S DAY FOR INDIGENEOUS PEOPLES

January 04, 2007 

On this January 04, 2007 NUOS International, USA (NATIONAL UNION OF OGONI STUDENTS) is delighted to celebrate a special day set aside by the UN in recognition of the rights of all indigenous peoples around the world. 

We send our greetings and solidarity to all those struggling for their rights and freedom, and especially to the Ogoni people and other exploited tribes of the Niger Delta region of Nigeria in their quest for justice from the oppressive powers of Nigeria’s rulers and the trans-national oil companies operating in Nigeria’s Delta who fund them. 

For over forty years of oil exploration, human manipulation, oppression, and genocide designed to extinct Ogoni by successive Nigerian dictators in collaboration with corporate multinationals, like Shell Oil; we have NOTHING to show for what have been taken from us.  On this 2007 “Ogoni Day” continue to say NO TO SHELL OIL and their allies in government.

Ogoni students send our condolences to the thousands of families affected by various oil and gas pipeline eruptions and explosions in Nigeria in the past year. 

The voices of the indigenous peoples around the world went unnoticed for decades until 1993 when the United Nations declared that year an “International year of the world’s indigenous people.” The declaration was made through the General Assembly resolution 45/168 of 1990. Ever since the declaration,  indigenous peoples including  Ogonis of Nigeria, Zapatistas of Mexico, Maassai of Kenya, Inuit of Canada, the Aborigines of Australia, the Manoki Indians of Amazon forest in Brazil and million others the world over has used the day to tell a “silenced” world their long and turbulent tales, journeys and struggle against land decrees and laws that has seized their cherished lands, grazing fields, rain forests etc. converting them to oilfields such as in Ogoni; game reserves such as in Kenya; industrial soybean fields such as in Brazil. In all these cases, the indigenous folk cultures, ethnic religion and languages which are termed “unintelligent” are either destroyed, buried or subjugated. We reject this. 

NUOS Intl also use this occasion to encourage all Ogonis not to mortgage the struggle for the selfish interest politicians who systematically rape Ogoni and its resources. It is not sufficient to say that we are ashamed at the level of deceit of Ogoni by the political class including President Olusegun Obasanjo and Governor Peter Odili. Instead of providing needed schools, water and electricity, jobs and road network to the people, embezzle billions of dollars and fraudulently manipulate the Ogoni people to promote Shell’s re-entry into Ogoni. At this time, it is our plea to any Ogoni son or daughter that has improper dealings with Dr. Odili and accepted monies for the Peace and Freedom Center project in Ogoni to return same to the Rivers State coffers because Ogoni struggle was not designed to benefit from stolen wealth. We also add that Dr. Odili’s Ogoni Youth Council (OYC) is a dubious enterprise designed for intimidating and terrorising our people and should be disbanded immediately.

Ogoni people must begin to ask questions…

We ask of the results of the Rev. Matthew Kukah announced United Nations clean-up exercise in Ogoni. Ogonis are not opposed to genuine reconciliation or clean –up of their polluted ancestral lands; internationally acceptable procedures and protocols must be employed.  The question we are asking the United Nation’s team led by David Smith is: what type of clean-up of the Ogoni environment are they proposing when health and environmental impact assessment studies has not been carried out on land, vegetation, air and man by government, Shell Oil or the United Nations? 

Are they ready to tell the world the phase of the clean-up – whether land, air or underground water pollution?  If one of the above, what happens to the remaining area of the lives of an Ogoni affected by pollution, spillage etc. 

And how long would it take for such a clean –up exercise knowing that it is very costly to reverse contamination? Saro-Wiwa forewarned that “the environment is humanity’s first right and it must be protected”. 

We submit the following demands to the Nigerian government: 

– The land use decree of 1978 should be abrogated to enable Ogoni people protect their resources, fight for a proper environmental clean-up devoid of politics and the introduction of clean water and land Act. 

-Create an Ogoni state that would grant some form of autonomy to the Ogoni people. This is further necessitated by the recent party primaries where an only Ogoni candidate was disqualified from the PDP gubernatorial primaries without cause and without the delegates voting. 

-Review the Ogoni Bill of Rights and address the Niger Delta issues. 

-Immediately constitute a constituent assembly to draw up a new direction for all tribes and race in Nigeria. All tribes and race must have equal representation to justify its purpose and sincerity. 

-Release all political prisoners in Nigeria. 

NUOS Intl wish all indigenous peoples around the world a wonderful celebration and a hopeful and victorious 2007. 

(c) Being text of message sent by KorneBari Nwike, President, NUOS Intl.  to the Ogoni people and other indigenous groups around the world on Jan. 4, 2007. 

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“We are going to demand our RIGHTS – Peacefully, Non-Violently, and we shall WIN” – Ken Saro-Wiwa  (1941-1995)
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NUOS Intl – Seeking solutions to the plight of indigenous students around the world.
(www.nuos-ogoni.org [email protected] ~ [email protected] ~ phone/msg – 773.250.7004) 

(NUOS INTL.), USA
2517 W. DEVON AVE. SUITE #5, CHIGAGO ILLINIOS 

 

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