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Was The Ogoni Trust Fund A Fraud?

By Ben Ikari
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Dear Ken Saro-Wiwa, Jr., Owens Wiwa and Other Members of the Wiwa v $hell Case:

On behalf of the Ogoni Children Cultural and Fundamental Rights Council (OCAFAC-USA), I bring you greetings in the name of Ogoni and our departed heroes. I am also wishing you happy holiday and a wonderful New Year experience!

Meanwhile, may I humbly and respectfully ask Saro-Wiwa, Jr. and Owens who are the custodians of the globally announced Ogoni Trust Fund, if the announcement was a fraud? For almost two years since the Trust was reportedly established, nothing seem to be in place. The public is not informed of active developments, but rumors caused by lack of effective leadership, hence zero communication with the Ogoni people especially.

When I read about the Ogoni Trust Fund in 2009, after $hell Oil shamelessly rushed to settle the above case out of court (for $15.5m), I was elated. Ogonis, though not too pleased with the fact that $hell evaded justice in court, were happy for the educational benefits and other developments the fund would make possible.

When I also noticed a year later that nothing seem to have been put in place to actualize this beautiful plan, I did not hesitate to speak up. To be specific, I wrote and addressed Saro-Wiwa, Jr. Unfortunately, no reply has reached me to date. The year 2010 is few weeks away to be out. The Trust Fund is yet to function and impact Ogonis it was reportedly designed to assist.

Therefore, may I again know what the real problems are that in about two year the Trust Fund was established, nothing seem to have happened. Successful businesses, organizations or nations do not just plan and replan without actualization. They drive beyond planning and strategizing, shooting for purpose, therefore the implementation of their strategic and contingency plans.

When plans are made and the leadership to strategically implement such aims and objectives to meet laid out vision is lacked, or due to selfishness or motives that seems to be silent sometimes. There surely is something wrong, and such leadership is seen as incompetent in most cases, and must be fired for such organization to move forward and meet its aims and objectives or purpose.

Ordinarily, I will not bother. Of course, I am not expecting to benefit anything from the $5m Trust Fund. My interest is that it has become a public issue since it was announced (on behalf of the ten families which instituted the legal action) to benefit Ogonis, in education and other developments. OCAFAC therefore comes in here since Ogoni children/youths, men and women are involved.

More importantly, knowing that, as with a giver's right, you can withdraw the name of the original recipient proposed especially if the gift is not in such person's possession and keep for your use. You could also reassign the gift to someone else or a different group.

OCAFAC believes you have the right or prerogative to do so. After all it was a willful act of giving. The only questionable or unethical thing would be that you have already announced a recipient to the world. You could deal with the backlash as there may be no legal action are not legally bonded to give if wish not to.

If in about two years a project that does not lack fund is still a living dead, at this juncture, OCAFAC is compelled to request that you use similar methods applied when the Trust Fund was announce to inform Ogonis and the world that you are no longer interested in creating such investment measure for Ogoni children and people.

If the TRUST FUND is or announcement was a fraud, feel free to say so. This will be the righteous thing to do than keep the people waiting with no sign of success stories. Keeping people in the dark after both of you have lived in the west for years, and also claiming sometimes to be rights activists is irresponsible!

Conclusively, impeccable revelation reaching OCAFAC has it that the only Ogoni man (a professional, highly reputable and respected lawyer of international standing) in the person of Dr. Dum Sean LeBari, is facing serious pressure or threats to resign from the committee or as a board member of the Trust Fund. We are compelled to ask you, Saro-Wiwa, Jr. and Owens if you are aware of these pressures/threats.

If yes, why? when other members (such as Ms. Amma Pepple allegedly on the board on $hell's behave) and Uche Onyeaguchu) allegedly involved with these pressures/threats are non-Ogonis who may have contributed nothing to our cause.

Again, should Ogonis and the public see the announcement of the Trust Fund as a fraud? Is $hell Oil and the corrupt Nigerian government (Ogoni enemies) also influencing a fund you established (and announced to the world) in what could have been seen as good faith?

Well, while OCAFAC, other Ogonis and the world wait for answers, we are advising and encouraging Lebari to stay on the board to the end and see what would obstruct a machete in a standing plantain tree. OCAFAC believes he is a great eye for our people and will not compromise evil against Ogoni.

Thank you very much.
Ben Ikari,(for OCAFAC).

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Ben Ikari and do not necessarily reflect those of The Nigerian Voice. The Nigerian Voice will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."