Open Letter to Gov. Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State Nigeria

By Ben Wuloo Ikari, Founder and Director, OCAFAC USA
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Sir, I write on behalf of the Ogoni Children's Cultural and Fundamental Rights Council (OCAFAC USA) to bring to your attention the killing of Elder Ndike Neemor. He was from Nonwa, in Tai Local Government Area of Ogoni, River State of Nigeria. Neemor was a school teacher, and left behind a wife and 8 children and grandchildren. He died on Sat., Jan. 9, from the severe injuries inflicted on him by thugs allegedly loyal to your friend, staff and party member Ledum Mitee, on 'Ogoni Day' Jan. 4. It is reported that the brutality meted on innocent Ogonis, injuring many victims and eventually took the live of the decease was sanctioned by you.

It happened in the presence of the police and army before your arrival at the occasion, the sources says. This, it is revealed was a way of intimidating the masses, Mr. Goodluck Diigbo, the newly elected MOSOP president you were also reported in the media to have threatened to arrest should he not give way to Mitee who has for 14 years compromised the Ogoni struggle for social justice.

This letter becomes pertinent therefore, because OCAFAC raised a published alarm on Sahara Reporters in the early hours of Jan. 4, preceding the mayhem. That, should any criminal activities take place against Ogonis peacefully and nonviolently celebrating their liberation all those involved or connected one way or another shall be held accountable and prosecuted according to the criminal codes of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The Nigerian Military or Armed Forces unit known as the Joint Task Force (JTF) responsible for the killing of innocent and defenseless children, women, and men of Niger Delta, especially in Gbaramutu, watched the beating and did nothing.

Why? Because you have penultimate the celebration ordered them (as the Chief Security Officer of the State) to disrupt the setting up of equipment prepared for the event by Diigbo's loyalists. And was also reported to have placed a "red alert" on the arrest of the new president should he step out on the date of the incident. A threat that kept him at home though was able to address his supporters who were redirected to Teyork, his village in Kaani. Your plan, it was gathered was to dare him to come out and if he had come out he will be arrested in anticipation of peace disturbance from his supporters which should have warranted a military occupation of Ogoni.

This would have prepared grounds for the forceful/unlawful extraction of Ogoni oil without meeting the ethnic group's demands as enshrined in the Ogoni Bill of Rights (OBR). Due to the smartness of Diigbo, however, that plan failed. The next was to empower thugs to assault, intimidate and seriously injure innocent celebrants whose only crime was that they came out to identify with a just struggle that is so attached to their survival. It is a struggle that has been discredited by Mitee, who is alleged to have betrayed Ken Saro-Wiwa, the founder of the movement and 8 others to the gallows in 1995.

As it stands, two other persons who were severely beaten are in critical conditions. OCAFAC frowns at the unjust, unlawful killing of Neemor, and injuries sustained by others because it believes Ogoni children like others of the world have the right to peace, justice, security and the loving presence and protection of their parents and loved ones. We believe adults including the late Neemor have these rights too and it is your duty as the Chief Security Officer of the state to guarantee these rights in conjunction with the Federal Government and protect the masses. Your actions is indeed to the contrary-exposing the governed to danger and death for selfish and political reasons.

We believe this death and pains should have been avoided if you did not take side, but handle the leadership crisis responsibly; with integrity aimed at achieving justice for the peace that has been Ogoni in recent years to continue. We believe if the state would be involved, it would have been only when the organization (MOSOP); the community leaders/stakeholders or the court have tried and could not resolve the matter amicably based on evidence and you are invited to fairly and disinterestingly look into and resolve the matter.

As the governor, internal organizational crisis is not one of your responsibilities. The state can only come into such matters when there is public disturbance or the breakdown of law and order capable of threatening relative peace and public safety. If I may ask, how many internal organizational disagreements such as MOSOPs' have you unlawfully waded into? Meanwhile, your bid to impose a leader who has wronged the movement's constitution by overstaying in officer for 14 years instead of a-two-year, two-term tenure has cause the death and pains, misery of the people.

How comfortable are you supporting someone who preaches democracy and good governance, equity, freedom and justice on the surface (a lawyer too who should respect organizational constitution), but is a dictator in practice trying to cover his mess? Or is it because you became governor by undemocratic and crooked means (not contesting any election) that you support such monster who is not better than Sani Abacha?

OCAFAC USA, is no doubt holding you and Mitee, etc. accountable for this death, those in critical conditions and any subsequent death arising from your irresponsible and poor, thug-like judgment. We are calling on you to take immediate responsibility and apologize to Ogoni people and the bereaved family especially; take urgent steps to redress the wrongs so committed. We also call on all people of conscience and goodwill, particularly civil societies to join us in holding Gov. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi and his cohorts accountable.

The time has come to pressure the Rivers State Commissioner of Police who said he is investigating the crime (and told me late last night when I called him that his name is A. Suleman) to be serious with this matter and prosecute its sponsors and executors for justice to be served. This will help bring about closure and put the sponsors and their thugs in jail once found guilty. They will have to pay compensation to the family of Neemor and steer clear of Ogoni business. The bereaved family is in shock and great pains right now and even in years to come, that nothing can replace their husband, father, son and loved one for this inglorious decision.