Editor's Note: Ogoni, a tribe in Rivers state, Southern Nigeria, has been in the news for years. Rather than the life of the people changing, especially with the change campaign of the present government, it has not been good news. In this article by Fegalo Nsuke, the publicity secretary of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), he delved into what Shell is doing in the area which is not too palatable to the people.
The expected cleanup of Ogoniland may save the land but many may never recover from the terminal diseases pervading the area and increasingly killing our people. Shell's lies and irresponsibility have left an irreparable damage on the health of thousands in Ogoniland. This should necessitate an urgent need for a health audit in Ogoni, Rivers state.
We are getting more revelation about Shell's activities in Ogoniland. German Geologist hired by Shell, Kay Holtzmann, has recently revealed that Shell concealed data on the level of environmental contamination of Ogoniland. Shell's immediate response suggest that Holtzmann's revelations did not require emergency measures. The company is largely irresponsible and will rather wish all Ogonis die.
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I call this an Armageddon. It is a shame that Shell tried to conceal atrocities against the Ogoni people for over 50 years and will not get any punishment from the Nigerian state outside a meager $1billion clean up funding, recommended by UNEP. Livelihoods have been destroyed and none will be compensated, while Shell and the Nigerian government continue to launder their image with a lazy-loaded clean-up programme after many have died from heavy pollution and many currently suffer from terminal illnesses. Shell should have been ashamed of her actions in Ogoni and act quickly to address this mess.
The neglect of a people who have contributed over $50 billion to the Nigerian economy, a small minority whose current input to the Nigerian economy still exceeds those of 20 Nigerian states put together. A people callously neglected because of their small size, the poorest of Nigeria's poor and yet they live on a richly endowed land whose benefit they never feel is definitely a sad tale to tell about a state in the twenty-first century.
Ogoni is faced with ultimate death. Grappling to survive in an environment that can no longer sustain families, decreasing agricultural output, increasing insecurity and recourse to stealing to survive, and even more shameful is the conscienceless attempt by Nigeria's drilling company, the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) to resume oil production in the area.
The story of the Ogoni should not be told of any civilized society. Nigeria's failure to resolve the Ogoni problem especially as related to our environment and right to self-determination signals a failure on the part of our country's leadership to build a united and progressive Nigeria.
The world must continue to be made aware of the story of the Ogoni, a small minority that had been exploited to death by Shell.
We will continue to touch the conscience of the world and highlight the injustices perpetrated against the Ogoni people until they are addressed. We will not let Shell hide her crimes against the Ogoni people nor shall we be persuaded by political maneuvers which do not address our concerns for a safe environment and our right to self-determination.
Watch this video where Nigerians are lamenting the hardship occasioned by APC government in Nigeria
Fegalo Nsuke is the Publicity secretary of Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) in Rivers state
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