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Ogoni author, Ben Wuloo Ikari, registers objection to any U.S. or UK military role in Niger Delta

OPEN LETTER FROM OGONI AUTHOR BEN WULOO IKARI, TO UK PRIME MINISTER GORDON BROWN

Ben Wuloo Ikari
6211 Loran Avenue
Saint Louis, MO 63109
E-mail:[email protected]

Ph:314-304-8704

The British Prime Minister
Mr. Gordon Brown,
10 Downing Street, London
SW1A 2AA

July 23, 2008

Sir:

OPEN LETTER

Warmest greetings to you, family and the British Cabinet. With the most humility, I ask that you please, excuse me if I seem emotional in this situation. To borrow Ken Saro-Wiwa’s words, “I’m Ogoni,” also Niger Deltan; a Human and Environmental Rights Crusader, based in the United States of America.

There are over two thousand others, who were forced alongside from Nigeria at the peak of Saro-Wiwa and 8 other’s State, Corporate, and unjust execution by hanging. We were forced out by Nigeria for protesting injustice orchestrated by its government and Shell. These injustices have not been corrected or redressed to date. There are as well scores of Niger Deltans, and other Nigerians in the West looking for a brighter future, whereas we are rich in oil and gas back at home.

We are no doubt contributing to the economic growth of America, Britain and other nations of Western extraction. As though this is not enough, you are planning to join forces with America to train the Nigeria Armed Forces to join the British and American soldiers, invade and kill our poor and suffering mothers, fathers, children, friends, sibling and loved ones at home. I hope you are not too excited that we are chased away from our wealth, while British (European) and American companies invade and siphon our resources to our detriment. I do hope you are not too happy with this new method of slavery of the 21st Century; a method that makes Africa inhabitable for us and we migrate to the West, while Westerners overtake our wealth, courtesy irresponsible governments at home, and we continue to suffer in their land.

Our just struggle for equity, environmental justice, self determination, which guarantees resource and environmental control has been subjected to a mere feasting ground for British and America combat maneuvers. Notwithstanding, your tanks, or warplanes would not weaken our spirits as our struggle is just, and pose no threats to the West, especially Britain and America. We have been seriously, and systematically following developments in Nigeria and had noticed that the Federal Government has exhibited total inability or disability to honestly and satisfactorily resolve the Ogoni conflict that actually started in 1993, in observance, or celebration of the United Nations International Year of Indigenous Peoples. It hopes to get the types of destructive supports that you are offering, therefore the overt insensitivity.

The United Nations Day (having recognized that world’s problems were caused by minority repression), that Ogoni Day merged into was aimed at liberating indigenous peoples around the world as they have the right to survive alongside others in their nations. Therefore, Ogonis, under the leadership of Saro-Wiwa took their destiny into their hands and showed their disenchantment with the government, oil companies, especially Shell Oil, that is British/Dutch. Shell had embarked on the extraction of crude oil in Ogoni since 1958 without an environmental assessment, health, and social impact studies to determine the impacts of its operations on the people and their environment. Would Shell do this in Britain and get away with it? The answer is No!

The oil monster in collaboration with successive Nigerian governments, mined over 1 billion barrels of oil in Ogoni without putting anything back but left Ogoni with its inhabitants an environment charged with hydrocarbons, and massive degradation beyond word. To this day, these assessments have not been conducted to determine how much damage has been done to the environment and the impacts of these damages on the people.

It is well known that Ken, 8 others and over 4, 000 others were murdered for mobilizing Ogoni to demand environmental conservation, preservation, and protection from Shell and the Nigeria government, and monetary compensation for damaged biosphere, and ecosystems. Ogoni has also demanded and still demanding royalties and rents from Shell and the federal government as the traditional “landlord” who deserves the benefits of proceeds from its land.

The Ogoni peaceful movement and nonviolent struggle was jettisoned and still overlooked by government, Shell and other oil companies to this moment. No remedy, or restitution has been made to placate the suffering masses despite these sacrifices. It is a just struggle that served as a model for the suffering and dying people of Niger Delta, hence the agitation in the Delta region that has culminated into armed struggle that has adversely affected the flow of oil into Britain, America especially, other Western countries, and the world in general.

It is on this premise that latest news reports have it that you have pledged to give Nigeria military support or training and help crush the freedom fighters, otherwise known as the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND).

Let me draw your attention to some known facts: The Shetlanders, in Britain, are oil bearing people. They control their land and resources, with hundreds of million pounds paid into an account or “trust fund” for their good. Provisions are also made in monetary terms and other compensatory measures, in respect of their sources of livelihood-in case oil runs out tomorrow. British Government or the oil companies did not invade them, kill and force their wealth without due process and adequate compensation as of right. Why Ogoni and Niger Delta?

It is also factual that the British Government and people had problems with Northern Island’s right to self determination. This conflict was amicably and peacefully resolved. No military training or crushing applied. America, while a British colony took up arms against Britain, fought oppression and the latter was defeated, therefore the celebrated “freedom” America has today. That arms struggle was justified; those who planned and fought that war were not called “terrorists” but freedom fighters. Although armed struggle is not the best means of conflict resolution, I see no reason the Nigerian Niger Delta struggle for RESOURCE AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONTROL AND PROTECTION SHOULD NOT BE JUSTIFIED, AS IT IS A FIGHT AGAINST INJUSTICE AND OPPRESSION OF THE HIGHEST MAGNITUDE. OR IS IT BECAUSE WE ARE SO-CALLED “BLACK” AFRICANS, AND YOU ARE “WHITES,” SO-CALLED?

ARE YOU PULLING OR EXTENDING OPEN DISCRIMINATION OR RACISM INTO OUR EYES?

The British Government, in consonance with America and few others are unjustly in Iraq exhibiting power, hence violence. An unjust war is always a war that cannot be won. Are you planning the same fate for Niger Delta because of oil?

Your declaration to support Nigeria militarily instead of pressuring it to do right by Ogoni and Niger Delta, which holds the Livewire of the nation, is inconsistent, unfair and unjust. It would not stop the legitimate struggle for change, nor would it stop the violence in the already volatile region. Your action, inaction, and those of the other Western nations who feel embarrassed by the hindrance of the flow of common crude oil, against the cry, pains and death of the Niger Delta Children will only exacerbate the situation. Why seek good for your people only and plan evil against those who do not look like you, yet you, like America, call yourself “liberator” with democratic mind; what is democracy? And why must it be “democracy” for you and Democrazy for others, if you can’t influence them to be stooges?

You may wipe our people out today (if possible), but the remnants anywhere around the world will not be happy with you, Britons, and other governments that helped to make our people perpetual slaves in the mist of plenty, and chasing us away from a home gushing in milk and honey. Remember how Britain, America, France, Italy and few others terrorized the world and today you are struggling to fight imaginary “terrorists,” instead of chasing yourselves, the real terrorists. The evil that men do live with, and before them. Britain cannot colonize us anymore. Not at this time, because the gods are wiser.

I am therefore joining others who have already written and physically protested your inconsistent, hegemonic and deadly offer to Nigeria, demanding that you relinquish that promise, as violence do not solve violence. The only lasting solution to Niger Delta problem is justice. Please reconsider your options and seek other measures that are peaceful, pragmatic, and soluble in handling this conflict. This would help the avoidance of a deeper conflict (that could be pending, yet disastrous) in the people’s interest. It will also allow for unhindered flow of crude oil and even gas when the real owners (Ogoni and Niger Delta) control their resources, to the larger world. Regional, National, International/Intercontinental Relations, and peace will be strengthened against repression, polarization, rumors of war and physical war. Join the suffering, poor masses of Niger Delta to fight for resource and environmental justice or control, instead of military option.

I look forward to see you redirect your steps, and to hear from you. God bless.

Thank you.

Yours truly,

Ben Wool Ikari.

NB: ALL ERRORS, OMISSION ARE STRICTLY MINE. I THEREFORE ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEM.

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