November 23, 2018

Elders protest planned militarization of Ogoniland before Cleanup

File image of Ogoni land, polluted by oil spills.

By Egufe Yafugborhi
PORT HARCOURT – OGONI people have urged Federal Government, FG, to shelve perceived plan to militarise Ogoniland, Rivers state, by the Ministry of Environment over expected clean-up and remediation of oil polluted sites.

Ogoni land, polluted with oil spills

The people under Gbo Kabaari Ogoni (Ogoni Elders’ Forum) in a petition signed by Sen. Bennett Birabi, Chairman, to Vice President Yemi Osibanjo, considered it “absurd that the Cleanup so enthusiastically received by our long-suffering people should now require deployment of troops for its implementation.

They further acknowledged that, “In recent weeks youths have peacefully protested against perceived exclusion of Ogoni, Niger Delta people and their companies from the remediation processes. The planned militarization seems the Minister’s response to such protests.

“If the troops deployment is not a ploy to spark violent crisis in the area as excuse for abandonment of the project, we pray Your Excellency’s intervention to call off the troops deployment. Whatever concerns of exclusion being expressed should be best resolved through dialogue and not by force of arms”

They appealed that militarisation of Ogoniland over the long period the Cleanup would take could spell distrust and breakdown of law Nd order in the area, adding that any concern of security in the re could be resolved by engagement of private security outfits.