MOSOP OPERATIVE CALLS FOR MEDIA REFORMS IN NIGERIA
A former aide (name withheld) to former MOSOP President, Mr. Ledum Mitee, has dismissed The Guardian Newspaper report of 20th September, 2011 purporting a call for Ogoni Day of Prayer and Fasting for UNEP Ogoniland report. The former Mitee aide said The Guardian report was the brainchild of Kelvin Ebri, a reporter of The Guardian Newspaper in Port Harcourt, believed to have been on the payroll of Mitee to “make-up”, “write-up and “counter bad press.” “Look back in the last seven years or more,” he urged, “and you will find that every Guardian report by Ebri was always the first to publish Mitee's story. Ebri was always heavily compensated for every make-up, write-up, and counter-press statement, while he competed with MOSOP Information Unit and with two other newspapers (names withheld), also working for their money,” he maintained.
“Kelvin Ebri virtually hijacked the Information Division of our organization, not entirely for the cause of the Ogoni people. Even when we were served with court injunction restraining Ledum Mitee from parading and representing himself as MOSOP President, MOSOP Information unit wrote a balanced press statement, but Kelvin Ebri supported Mitee's position to simply ignore the Court Order. Ebri has been responsible for writing counter-press statements, making MOSOP a paper tiger under Mitee, without relevance to the Ogoni people or even to the trouble in Mitee's village. He noted that the Notice for Prayer and Fasting by Mitee does not say as much as Kelvin Ebri wrote in The Guardian report. The media also needs to reform to help the Ogoni people better, instead to write for prayer and fasting for UNEP Ogoniland report. News reporters should visit Ogoniland and not remain in Port Harcourt to speak to Mitee who does not know anything happening on the ground. To reform the media in Nigeria will help for objective reporting. he added.
The problem with how Mitee went about his MOSOP Media affairs was first revealed to the Daily Independent newspaper Senior Correspondent in Port Harcourt, Daniel Abia on June 20, 2011. Former MOSOP Information Officer, Bari-arap Kpalap had revealed that the press policy gives sole responsibility of sharing information and news items relating to MOSOP with media organizations to the Information Officer and accused Mitee of always issuing counter -press statements in bad fate, saying that Mitee became a cog in the wheel of change. “Flagrant disregard for our standard, the Steering Committee and official misconduct, Kpalap said, “noting that there have been several efforts at reform of attitude, approach and commitment to change, but Mitee had worked against the thinking and approach of the founding fathers of MOSOP tilted: “Towards Collectivity as against Individualism.”
Two days ago, the Council of Ogoni Churches had also dismissed the call for fasting and prayer by former MOSOP President as unilateral and not genuine. The Council noted that decisions and planning of Church activities or religious events were reserved for the Council of Ogoni Churches under MOSOP Constitution and policy on operations of affiliates. “This irresponsible behavior is a threat to public peace,” said the President of Council of Ogoni Churches, Rev. Sir Mike Ibira. Sir Ibira likened the behavior of Mitee to a clergyman jumping to organize an activity on behalf of the Nigerian Bar Association, and Medical Association events, without legitimacy, saying that the Council of Ogoni Churches has confidence in the way the current MOSOP President /Spokesman, Dr. Goodluck Diigbo is handling issues affecting the Ogoni people, particularly his transparency in dealing with the UNEP Ogoniland Assessment Report.
Ibira said that he had on Sunday, September 18, 2011 received several calls from church leaders as they complained about notice for fasting and prayers signed by Mitee: “At a time that most of Mitee's former aides have been speaking out about crimes said to have been committed by Mitee and kept secret all along.” One Mitee's former aide, Sunday Badon accused Mitee of ordering his amputation (see attached document contained in a Memorandum submitted to the former chairman of Gokana Local Government Area). Another report said Mitee founded a notorious cult group known as Deegbam whose members raped, destroyed villages, murdered innocent citizens, engaged in kidnapping, and were responsible for the total destruction of K-Dere (Mitee's hometown, which remains destroyed till date).
The COC President further said that the call for fasting and prayers by Mitee was hypocritical, because, he said Mitee had in 2008 sent thugs to disrupt similar event at Methodist Church Bori, where Rev. Father Matthew Hassan Kukah, now Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, had also called for prayers for the Ogoni people; using his position as the Chairman of Ogoni Shell conflict and reconciliation Presidential Committee.
Associate Editor, MOSOP Media