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Ogoni Cleanup: Why We Still Cannot Trust The Nigerian Soldiers

By Fegalo Nsuke
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If you have ever been conversant with the story of Nigeria's Ogoni people, then you will agree with me that when soldiers are deployed to Ogoniland, you can reasonably conclude that some innocent blood are about to be spilled. That has been the story of Ogoni people and the reason the Nigerian Army can never be trusted each time we get news of its deployment or possible deployment to Ogoniland.

On Monday June 13, 2017, the Project Coordinator for HYPREP, Marvin Dekil had told the U.S Ambassador to Nigeria of a plan to deploy soldiers to Ogoniland to stop the re-pollution of the area through illegal refining of crude oil.

But I have reasons to doubt Dekil's sincerity and strongly believe that the planned deployment of soldiers to Ogoniland should have nothing to do with environmental threats from illegal refiners.

Dekil's real motive of contemplating the invitation of soldiers into Ogoniland is suspicious given the fact that the HYPREP Coordinator knows the illegal refiners and have personally engaged them. Dr Dekil and the illegal refiners had earlier met and reached a truce on stoppage of illegal refining. why then should soldiers be invited to deal with people who are so well known to the project coordinator?

See: HYPREPcalls for stoppage of re-pollution of Ogoniland and HYPREP,Illegal Oil Refiners Reach Truce over Ogoni Clean-up

Why invite soldiers to come and terrorize Ogoniland when you know those causing the trouble and you are so close to them to the extent that you can hold meetings with them. Shouldn't the Police and our courts be able to deal with people like this who are so well known to us?

Why do we always like to engage and reward criminals in this country and get innocent people to suffer? We pay those who took up arms against the state yet we cannot provide basic drinking water and electricity for people like the Ogonis whose resources fund our national budget. We bargain with looters and set them free, hang people for questioning unfair laws and policies, we kill people who stand out demanding justice and fairness in our system while we are not courageous to institute a probe on those who have looted our public funds and denied us a good life.

In February 2016, prior to the re-run of parliamentary elections, soldiers were in Ogoniland and left over 30 persons dead including a pregnant mother, Mrs Ledee, children and traders. Now, as politicians step up preparations for the 2019 general elections, Dr Dekil plans to invite soldiers to Ogoniland again.

Could Dekil's real motive not be to aid some persons and party crush the stronghold of political opposition? Could Dekil really be looking for illegal refiners he already knows?

The author. Fegalo Nsuke is Publicity Secretary of The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People(MOSOP). He wrote from Port Harcourt, Nigeria.