Nigerian President Petitioned Through the Nigerian Embassy in USAto Clean Ogoni land
African Cultural and Fundamental Rights Council
(AFCRC) USA, Lorton Valley Road Lorton, VA 22079; Email: [email protected], Phone: 314-827-2874
Dr. Goodluck Jonathan President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Aso-Rock Villa, Abuja (F.C.T)
June 13, 2012
Dear Mr. President:
African Cultural and Fundamental Rights Council (AFCRC) USA petitions the Nigerian Government on behalf of the oppressed Ogoni people of Nigeria
The African Cultural and Fundamental Rights Council (AFCRC) USA, petitions you, the Federal Government of Nigeria, and the Nigeria's National Assembly to immediately collaborate with Royal Dutch Shell, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) Nigeria to implement the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) report on Ogoni.
It is factual that the Nigerian government and Shell without due consultation started oil exploitation in Ogoni in 1958. Under the infamous Land Used Decree and other obnoxious or draconian Nigerian laws, both entities have unlawfully usurped Ogoni land, and carted away billions of petrodollars from Ogoni oil. Sadly, what Ogonis get from their oil is environmental degradation and death, which the UNEP report confirms.
The government and Shell righteously sponsored the environmental assessment of Ogoni they both degraded for over 50 years. This came with pressures after Ken Saro-Wiwa (eight others; and about 4 thousand more murdered in cold blood) was murdered by hanging for raising the awareness about the ecological warfare consciously wage by successive Nigerian government and Shell, against Ogoni people.
Meanwhile, the UNEP report was released on August 4, 2011. Unfortunately, more than eight months later, you or the Nigerian government and Shell have not deemed it fit or necessary to immediately intervene to save Ogoni from extinction. Ogonis are dying faster but silently from this pollution/degradation. Life expectancy in Nigeria is less than 50 years according to UNEP report.
The people's primary sources of livelihood that is fishing and farming have been destroyed, leaving them to count their last days before burial, when food scarcity and health, other needs or wants and environmental degradation are considered.
What has happened to Ogoni and still happening is unthinkable; it is despicable, thus unacceptable! As a result your government and Shell should immediately clean and restore Ogoni land. You should first work out modalities to relocate Ogonis from or near contaminated sites. Adequate compensation as of right should be discussed or negotiated and paid to Ogonis for their lost livelihood, hydrocarbons-associated health conditions such as cancer and deaths. Please, see BP-U.S. Gulf of Mexico intervention model as guide.
Ogonis have repeatedly faced serious and avoidable threats from the Nigerian government, which is reserved the right and duty to protect them. They therefore deserve remedies.
Despite the bad business so displayed by the government, more lands are being encroached upon by the Rivers State government of Mr. Chibuike Amaechi. This situation has also caused the death of some Ogoni people.
Ironically, while the government is encroaching on more land, according to the UNEP report, Ogonis are drinking water that has benzene product 900 times higher than the World Health Organization and even Nigeria's standards. Hydrocarbons have penetrated deep, six feet beneath the earth, the report says. This means underground water has been contaminated, thus exposes Ogonis to hazards, including death. Mr. President, you should be concerned, if for nothing, at least our common humanity.
Now, to further demonstrate the severity and evidence of the threats Ogoni faces, as illustrated in the UNEP report. Please, refer to UNEP report and see excerpts below. Page 25 (or 1.3), under the heading “The Ogoni struggle and the cessation of oil exploration and production, especially paragraph 1 that says: "While oil exploration and associated social and environmental consequences in Ogoniland began prior to Nigeria's independence, the situation did not improve when the country gained independence in 1960. Environmental incidents, such as spills and uncontrolled flares, continued to occur in the area and responses were slow and inadequate." See also page 9, paragraph 1 (under Executive Summary): “UNEP's field observations and scientific investigations found that oil contamination in Ogoniland is widespread and severely impacting many components of the environment. Even though the oil industry is no longer active in Ogoniland, oil spills continue to occur with alarming regularity-the Ogoni people live with this pollution everyday,” the report says. Under Public Health on page 10, paragraph 1 of the UNEP report, “The Ogoni community is exposed to petroleum hydrocarbons in outdoor air and drinking water, sometimes at elevated concentrations.” And that Ogonis, “are also exposed to dermal contacts from contaminated soil, sediments and surface water.” See paragraph 2 of page 10 of the UNEP report that says, “Since the average life expectancy in Nigeria is less than 50 years, it is a fair assumption that most members of the current Ogoniland community have lived with chronic oil pollution throughout their lives.” The UNEP report as shown on page 10, paragraphs 1, 2, 3 and 4. Starting with Paragraph 1: “Oil
pollution in many intertidal creeks has left mangroves denuded of leaves and stems, leaving roots coated in a bitumen-like substance sometimes 1 cm or more thick. Mangroves are spawning areas for fish and nurseries for juvenile fish and the extensive pollution of these areas is impacting the fish life-circle.” Paragraph 2: “Any crops in areas directly impacted by oil spills will be damaged, and root crops, such as cassava, will be unstable. When farming commences, plants generally show signs of stress and yields are reportedly low than in non-impacted areas.” Paragraph 3: “When an oil spill occurs on land, fires often break out, killing vegetation and creating a crust over the land, making remediation or revegetation difficult.” Paragraph 4: “Channels that have been widened and the resulting dredged material are clearly evident in satellite images, decades after the dredging operation. Without proper rehabilitation, former mangrove areas which have been converted to bare ground are being colonized by invasive species such as nipa palm (which appears to be more resistant to heavy hydrocarbon pollution than native vegetation.” “The report concludes that pollution of soil by petroleum hydrocarbons in Ogoniland is extensive in land, sediments and swampland,” as reported on page 9, in paragraph 1 bullet under “Contaminated soil and groundwater.”
In conclusion, what Ogonis, Niger deltans and other oppressed of Nigeria are facing is something that should not be wished any other group in the world-not even an enemy, if any exists.
Therefore, AFCRC request humbly and respectfully that you use your good offices to immediately rally national and international support and implement the UNEP report that will save Ogonis from extinction. This way, your name shall be written in the world's golden book of books. Ogonis will forever remember you for saving them and their land.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Thank you very much.
Ben Ikari, for and on behalf of AFCRC-USA