OGONI CHILDREN'S CULTURAL AND FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS COUNCIL OPPOSE MILITARY BASE

Source: Ben Wuloo Ikari, (Founder and Executive Director of OCAFAC-USA).
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The Ogoni Children's Cultural and Fundamental Rights Council (OCAFAC USA) joins other meaningful Ogonis, non Ogoni groups home and abroad to oppose the Rivers State Government's proposed imposition of a deadly military base in Ogoni. We have reasoned that investing in a trained police force (already stationed in the area) with the respect and protection for human rights is the feasible and acceptable option to a military base. Military bases are not instruments for job creation and other quality life providers Ogonis need to support their children at the moment and in the long-term.

The state government should therefore and as a matter of urgency invest in job creation, electricity, simple pipe borne water supply which have been a mirage for more than 50 years of false promises. The state and Federal Government should invest in hospitals, children emergency rooms or clinics, recreational parks and other sustainable infrastructures and not a deadly military camp. OCAFAC views the planned relocation of said military base or cantonment otherwise known as Bori Camp, which was originally located in Ogoni after the Nigeria/Biafra civil war as an affront, insult and threat to the existence of the Ogoni children.

Ogoni children had suffered and still suffering untold hardship, trauma and post traumatic injuries and stress from the havoc unleashed on them and their parents by the $hell Oil paid military of Nigeria. They have not forgotten the intimidation, rape, burning of their homes, extortion and killing of their parents, sibling and friends. The $hell, Abacha, Dauda Musa Komo, Paul Okuntimo's, etc. led military activities, crimes against humanity and genocide of 1993 through 1996 are not lost on these children. They are appalled by the insensitivity of the present Nigerian Government, which allows "Governor" Chibuike Amaechi to further the aforementioned repressive and deadly agenda against the Ogoni children. Children are meant to be the most valued and protected group in any society. The battered Ogoni children who need treatments, counseling and rehabilitation for defects resulting from the inhuman military actions are denied their rights to treatment and a new life. A military base will worsen their situations and force them to endure dangerous psychological, psychiatric and other health conditions inimical to their development and growth.

No one can become an adult without passing through the developmental experiences of children. That is, no children no adult! Children are our pride; the pride of the world, hence the leaders of tomorrow and should be accorded adequate services and protection in all ramifications. Ogoni children deserve proper upbringing through government support to parents. They deserve equal opportunity and qualitative education; they deserve to be properly invested in, cared for, inspired and motivated instead of being threatened by the ubiquitous presence of soldiers who have proven to be enemies. Ogoni children like any children of the world must not be forced to suffer physically, psychologically or otherwise.

No child on earth deserves any form of ill treatment. Children do not deserve the treatment forced down their throats by government when their nationality is constantly boxed, disrespected, exploited, raped and polluted. They do not merit the challenges resulting from the government or military brutalization of their parents, sibling, loved ones and friends. In short, no child should be made to become hungry, uneducated, nor should they have a sense of bleak future. Children's rights are clearly written out and protected by international covenants or treaties and must be respected by the Nigerian Government. They merit adequate and qualitative health care services. Ogoni children, like all children on earth deserves the best from their family, neighbors or neighborhoods, friends, institutions and especially government which has the constitutional duty to create an environment conducive for their growth, health and protection.

Ogoni children deserves to be treated with respect, dignity, consideration, love and understanding. They do not deserve to be occupied by the Nigerian Armed Forces, which has demonstrated that neither they nor their parents, etc. matters. They have been repeatedly shown an unwillingness or inability to be protected. OCAFAC USA therefore call on the Federal, State and Local Governments, and relevant national, international governmental and nongovernmental bodies (such as Amnesty Nigeria, Civil Liberties Organization, Human Rights Africa, Amnesty International, United Nations, African Union among others) to ensure the protection and adequate investment in, and development of the Ogoni and all other children around the globe.

Relocating a military base which will further devastate them is not one of the measures needed for their development at the moment considering their ugly and unfortunate experiences with the military institution in Nigeria. Nigeria is not at war with Ogoni therefore relocating a military base from the state capital (Port Harcourt) to Ogoni, which government may have defined as a dumping ground is crass and preposterous. Ogoni children and people's fears are real and must not be undermined but respected. Positive developments and relationships must be planned or ensured to allay these fears that are well founded and not inflate them with another military threat. Ogoni deserves development like Port Harcourt as of right, not to mention the fact that it sustained the nation with its oil resources for more than 35 years. How long shall it continue to be getting nothing back, but death and a degraded environment?

Finally, we call on all Ogonis at home and well meaning people of Rivers State and the nation at large to protest this planned relocation aimed at exposing the children and their parents to dangers such as molestation, rape, extortion, harassment and death. They have witnessed this before and do not want to revisit such despicable scenes. Ogonis are especially asked to vote against Amaechi in the forthcoming elections, if at all Nigeria will have the grace to exist, vote fairly and freely against the usual imposition of public officers and rulers. There is no reason the Ogoni electorates should support the election of someone of Amaechi's caliber for a continuous stay in office. His administration is obviously illegal as he did not contest any election but use the backdoor to impose himself on the state.

A vote against Amaechi's bid to continue in office is a vote for democracy, good governance, accountability, respect for the state and its people contrary to what obtains today. Meanwhile, the people of Ogoni have unanimously stopped $hell and other oil companies from stealing their oil/gas resources and ruining the environment in collaboration with the federal and state governments. A plan to relocate this diabolical military base to Ogoni might not be unconnected with the people's refusal to allow oil extraction without the implementation of the nationality's demands as prescribed in the Ogoni Bill of Rights (OBR), and against government's gimmick. Consequently, a vote against Amaechi will stop the imposition of the military base which motive could be to prepare grounds for the forceful resumption of oil exploitation in Ogoni.

Military institution is a federal government business, but Amaechi is the person (according to the Rivers State Secretary to government) who accepted to bear the relocation and development of the new site's cost. He is therefore the one forcing the project on the already battered Ogonis, but also reported to have completed plans to relocate the University of Science and Technology from Port Harcourt to the Obima environs-where he come from. In his thinking only his people deserve education, but Ogonis deserve death by the brutality and guns of the unprofessional military. OCAFAC oppose his mischievous moves and demands educational and other positive and growth-based project instead. This is proper for the Ogoni children, parents and nationality.