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NIGERIA REWARDS WORLD-ACCLAIMED CRIMINALS

By Dumbari Tsaro Deezua and Sampson Npimnee
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Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP,) pioneers nonviolent demands for minority rights in the Nigerian polity. But unfolding events in recent weeks is currently evoking some restive concerns of an eminent abandonment of that passive resistance—for some undesirable and possibly ominous approach to the struggle for justice in the area. This looming consideration of other methods is, unfortunately, necessitated by Nigeria's encouragement of violence and criminal behaviors while perpetually deriding the nonviolent approach of the Ogoni people.

Following the peaceful demand for a fair share of the proceeds of oil resources from Ogoni soil, the Ogoni people were massacred on a horrific scale. The brutal repression of the Ogoni people was capped with the “judicial murders” of the Ogoni Nine, including Ken-saro Wiwa, on trumped-up murder charges in a Kangaroo court that was universally condemned as a caricature of justice, in 1995.

In the year 2011, all the conditions that necessitated the Ogoni struggle remain unaddressed. The area remains one of the poorest places on the planet, despite its huge natural endowments. The resources from the region continue to develop cities for the majority ethnic units in Nigeria. The government still refuses to review the sham trial in which Ken-Saro Wiwa and his other comrades were sentenced to death.

Rather, one of the chief prosecution lawyers during that fraudulent trial is now the President of the Nigerian Bar Association. Justice Ibrahim Auta, the chairman of the tribunal himself—the man who was prejudicially bribed and entrusted with the sole task of sentencing Ken-Saro Wiwa to death is now awaiting congressional confirmation as Acting Chief Judge of the Federal High Courts of Lagos.

The obvious and ardent display of a foregone conclusion to execute Ken-Saro Wiwa before trial proceedings even began was decried by international observers and foreign leaders who witnessed the Ibrahim Auta's extrajudicial conviction and sentencing of innocent defendants to death. Ibrahim Auta is a world-acclaimed criminal who should rather be behind bars than sit on the bench, at any level.

The Ogoni Diasporas, particularly MOSOP-USA and NUOS INT'L demand that President Goodluck Jonathan and the Judicial Council immediately withdraw the nomination of Ibrahim Auta, because the man is a stench on the Nigerian judiciary. Ibrahim Auta does not make rulings on the bench by law, but by the contrivances of other men. He holds no regard to human rights or the letters of the Nigerian law. Ibrahim Auta made the Nigerian court system a place of buying and selling rulings. His judicial practice deserves congressional investigations; and the National Assembly needs a congressional panel to investigate Ibrahim Auta, not elevating him to higher positions of authority.

In another indigestible development, media reports seem to suggest that the government of Goodluck Jonathan wants the NNPC to take over the Ogoni oil wells. We simply want the government to know that that will not happen. The NNPC does not have an independent capacity to mine oil in Nigeria. Shell will not come to Ogoni under any guise. Reports have it that Shell is claiming that it has some sort of assets left behind in Ogoni-land. The only 'assets' left behind by Shell in Ogoni-land are criminal liabilities ranging from sponsoring the massacre of Ogoni people, to environmental ruins, to unpaid royalties and compensations for over 40years of oil exploitation and, halting the Ogoni people's means of livelihood—destroying the socioeconomic lives of the people.

More importantly, the demands of the Ogoni people are spelt clearly in black and white, in the Ogoni Bill of Rights. The Ogoni demands must be addressed satisfactorily before any conversation on resumption of oil operations in Ogoni-land. And any such negotiation must be a tripartite one, involving MOSOP and other segments of the Ogoni nation, the government of Nigeria, and the prospecting oil company. Any self-interested Ogoni persons or groups that tell the government otherwise, possibly nipping in the bud for project contracts, are only projecting their ill-conceived interest and not representing the popular voices of the Ogoni people. Any such groups or persons will lead the government astray. The true pacifiers of the Ogoni people must be ventures for the common good of the people. The creation of Bori State is a promising beginner!

The nonviolent nature of the Ogoni struggle is unfortunately repaid with violence and ignominy by the State of Nigeria. Violence is now rewarded with amnesty while the Ogoni are now shoved to the side in recent developments in the region.

The message is clear and well taken; violence is the way to go in the struggle for dignity, justice, political and economic rights for minorities in Nigeria.

By-and-large, the government of Nigeria is provoking a dangerous prospect in the Ogoni region of Nigeria. Oil operations will not happen in Ogoni-land until a conclusive negotiation with the Ogoni people is contracted in black and white. Ibrahim Auta is a symbol of injustice and judicial murders in Nigeria. He will not be in charge of justice of any kind in a Nigeria where the Ogoni people belong. He has to decline that nomination. The President and the Judicial Council need to withdraw that nomination with immediate alacrity.

Signed:
DumBari Tsaro Deezua, Secretary MOSOP-USA
Mr. Sampson Npimnee, Secretary NOUS Int'l
03/30/2011.