INDIGENOUS DAY MESSAGE PRESENTED BY THE PRESIDENT OF NATIONAL UNION OF OGONI STUDENTS’ (NUOS INTERNATIONAL)
INDIGENOUS DAY MESSAGE PRESENTED BY THE PRESIDENT OF NATIONAL UNION OF OGONI STUDENTS' (NUOS INTERNATIONAL), USA, MR. PIUS BARIKPOA NWINEE, ON JANUARY 4, 2013
Fellow Activists & People of Ogoni,
We join Indigenous and Unrepresented Nations and Peoples' around the world today January 4 th 2013 in celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the declaration of indigenous peoples' rights in1993 by the United Nations. We are sober today but thrilled at the recognition of the vulnerability and sufferings that indigenous populations from Ogoni, Nigeria, Sikkim, India, Kurdistan, Iraq, Nubian and Dinka, South Sudan, Bushmen, Botswana, Baka, Cameroon, Achi Maya of Guatemala, Serer of Senegal, Lucaya people of Cuba and Bahamas, Alaskan Natives and the Inuit people, Mayo of Mexico, Tukano people of Columbia, Mapuche of Chile and Argentina, to Bororo and Amazon people of Brazil, etc endures.
As we commemorate “OGONI DAY” today, let us strengthen the sense of duty a common ligament at the core of existence by indigenous people. Indigenous people are duty bound to protect their environment, resources, and ecosystem against egregious invaders - be it Shell Oil Company, Talisman Energy, or Lumber giants in the Amazon rain forest. Although some of our struggles has been wounded, slaughtered, strangled and divided, no amount of infiltration or sinuous efforts by government forces, corruption, or efforts designed to exterminate our tribal heritage and struggles should deterred us from preserving our heritage and resources for unborn generations. We have to use this occasion to reaffirm and resolve to commit, support, energize, and uphold our freedoms as guaranteed by the United Nations. We have to be courageous and renew our strategies because our courses are just and within reach.
On that note, the Ogoni students in Diaspora are renewing their call (on behalf of the people of Ogoni) to the Nigerian government and President Goodluck Jonathan to:
1. Create Bori State: The Ogoni people started the current wave of demand for Bori state in 2006. Joined by the people of, Andoni, Opobo, Nkoro, Eleme, and Oyibgo their demand has remained unwavering. These tribes deserve a fair share of Nigeria's national cake. The proposed Bori State is resourceful and could sustain itself through mineral and Oil deposits, industrialized agricultural projects, backed by enormous manpower resources. Dr. Jonathan should act swiftly because there is no need for foot dragging because their demand is just.
2. Autonomy: The Ogoni people demand (as an alternative) an autonomous state. Autonomy is a right and is not a “dirty word” as some will insinuate in Nigeria. There is no reason why Ogoni leaders and people will be exiled because of autonomy. We have autonomous states in Spain, autonomous region in Bolivia, and Kurdistan, Iraq among others. These autonomous cities, states, regions still exist within the borders of democratic nations and co-exist in peace and unity. Why is autonomy a dirty word in Nigeria? Autonomous state helps strengthen democracy and importantly aid in the creation of employment (which at present is lacking in Nigeria.) Through autonomy, the Ogoni people could develop their language, culture, and heritage which are on the verge of extinction.
3. Exonerate Ken Saro Wiwa: Over seventeen years now we have been calling on the government of Nigeria to exonerate Ken Saro Wiwa and eight of his kinsmen hanged by the military government of Gen. Sani Abacha in 1995. Fresh evidence published by Premium Times Nigeria, appearing on Sahara Reporters on December 30, 2012 has proven that the Abacha military junta conspired to silence Ken Saro Wiwa, foremost African environmental giant “so as not to appear weak.” We take this very seriously and demand that Dr. Goodluck Jonathan should immediately expunge the names of Ken Saro Wiwa and his kinsmen from Nigeria's criminal status and exonerate them. We stand by our stance that in the wake of the MOSOP struggle in the 1990's the Nigerian government implanted seeds of discord that led to the death of our prominent elders and chiefs on which the military junta framed-up and eliminated Ken Saro Wiwa.
4. UNEP Report: We are appalled that two years after the United Nations Environmental Program submitted a jittery report on the deplorable state of Ogoni environment, Dr. Jonathan remains adamant to the sufferings and death in Ogoniland. How long shall Ogoni people endure and drink benzene contaminated water? If this humble appeal continues to fall on deaf ears, Ogoni people will be forced to seek a case of premeditated murder against, President Jonathan, and Shell Oil Company in international court of competent jurisdiction. Ogoni people will soon run out of patience thus the federal government of Nigeria should disband HYPREP, call on the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) to immediately organize a consortium of international companies knowledgeable in Oil spill, contamination, and remediation to immediately commence clean-up in Ogoni. The Ogoni people shall and will not admit the Hydrocarbon and Restoration Pollution Agency (HYPREP) into Ogoniland because it lacks technical capabilities of restoring Ogoni environment.
5. Sogho crisis: On this occasion, we want to put forward to Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State, that in live or death, he owes every suffering child in Sogho community a due. He owes a due to every child who could not obtain an education because his family land was forcibly conscripted and converted into personal use by Rotimi Amaechi without compensation. He owes a due to a widow whose husband was butchered because he stood up to Rotimi Amaechi's autocracy. If not today, History shall demand of him atonement or from his descendants for the children, widows, and suffering people of Sogho whom he displaced callously from their land.
6. MOSOP Leadership: In all that we do as Ogoni people, we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that Nigerian government had designed a template to eliminate MOSOP. We must be cautious not to execute government's agenda. MOSOP is not a political party and MOSOP candidates must never/ever be sponsored by politicians who will make such candidates stooges and throw MOSOP to the wind or under-the-bus. We are watching and we shall act appropriately as time and situations unfold.
In summary, we use this OGONI DAY celebration to send messages of goodwill to indigenous peoples around the world, urge Ogoni people to tread cautiously not to implement government templates designed to extincquish MOSOP and Ogoni, as well as demand of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan to expedite actions on the creation of Bori State and clean-up Ogoniland or face charges of premeditated murder in international court of competent jurisdiction.
Long Live MOSOP!
Mr. Pius Barikpoa Nwinee
For: NUOS International USA