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10 November 2011

Ogoni Central Indigenous Authority Announced

MOSOP President /Spokesman, Dr. Goodluck Diigbo said the recent announcement by Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan prioritizing the setting up of local authorities is a good concept; within the Ogoni demand for political autonomy by whatever name called, as contained in the Ogoni Bill of Rights (OBR, 1990/91).

In this connection, MOSOP has responded by setting up of an Ogoni Central Indigenous Authority (OCIA). The primary functions include: To promote peace, security, planning and development partnership, as well as the effective management of the Ogoni environment throughout Ogoniland.

Under the authority, the Ogoni people will determine the structures and to select the membership of their institutions in accordance with their own democratic procedures in line with article 33 (2) of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Six Ogoni kingdoms and two administrative units form the second tier of the authority, while each village becomes a Community Council in like manner of City Hall in most of Europe, with responsibility to speed up socio-economic development. The identified sources of funding, include application of revenue from Ogoni wealth and natural resources, dividends on investments, domestic and foreign support as recognized in article 39 of UNDRIP.

Diigbo, who was speaking today at the Ken Saro-Wiwa Peace and Freedom Center, to mark 16th Remembrance of the hanging of the Ogoni leader, late Ken Saro-Wiwa said the setting up of the Ogoni Central Indigenous Authority is a significant step towards actualizing the UN Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Ogoni Bill of Rights, and all the dreams for which late Saro-Wiwa and other Ogonis gave their lives.

MOSOP set up the council following a broadbased consultation and with overwhelming support by village chiefs and traditional rulers, as well as other existing traditional institutions. Diigbo said the leaders of existing local governments were contacted as individuals, but not officially because the councils have become channels for wasteful spending and corruption, and would be replaced by OCIA.

Until OCIA comes into operation, MOSOP will continue to play the role of the political and cultural apex organization of the Ogoni people, especially in matters relating to the United Nations Ogoniland Environmental Assessment and to hold the government, Royal Dutch/Shell, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC and Chevron accountable for environmental tragedy of Ogoniland.

On bloody killings in other parts of Nigeria, Diigbo said it would be more productive for President Goodluck Jonathan to initiate dialogue as a priority in his leadership conflict resolution strategy with disaffected groups in Nigeria, instead to place confidence in the use of force of arms or military tactics.

Dr. Diigbo said: “It is not only risky for members of the State security forces, but that no country can make progress, if it is engaged in an-all-year-round of undeclared civil war, with its citizens shooting at each other; no matter the differences in their belief.”

Diigbo said the Ogoni people reject the labeling of Onne, in Eleme Kingdom of Ogoni as Federal Territory without corresponding authority and budget provisions applicable to the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, describing the policy as unacceptable. This is clearly a rogue policy, Diigbo pointed out.

The Ogoni Nine Memorial, which was preceded with a candlelight vigil on November 9, 2011 night, began with an interdenominational Church service with over 30 Ogoni churches participating and sermon by the President of Ogoni Council of Churches, Rev. Sir Mike Ibirah.

Hon. Dum Ade John Budam
Secretary General
Movement for Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP)
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