The Niger Delta region of Nigeria has witnessed more than a fair share of conflict in Nigeria. This occurrence has been the root cause of insecurity and violence within local communities of the oil-producing states in the south-south zone of the country. History reminds us of the fatal Ogoni land crises and its aftermath. The ill-fated attack on the local communities in the Niger Delta region by security agents and the infamous Shell’s involvement in series of human rights abuses have been engraved in the fabric of the nation.
The memory doesn’t fade neither does the stench go away for us to ignore years after. It is this memory, perhaps stirred again towards proffering solutions, that will bring to an end to the crisis in Ogoni land in Reverend Fabeke Douglas, President of Ogoni Liberation Initiative (OLI), who has written a book, The Issues of Ogoni People: Crisis and the Solutions, which will be launched sometime this year.
This cleric’s research and interactions with sources and reports suggest that there are still well meaning Patriots whose fealty are unwavering to concern for human lives and rights. This concern from Douglas translates to empathy with the level of destruction on the land .His compassion and feelings prompted writing this book. He was born in Ogoni land, grew up there and he knows what the people are going through. He has taken it on himself to proffer solution that will bring to an end the sufferings of the Ogoni people.
Speaking with the cleric reveals interesting facts discovered from his research and more profound are the solutions he has proffered towards resolving the Ogoniland crisis.
Douglas says the book is a result of an extensive research. He is convinced that if the government is sincere and applies the recommendations, the Ogoni crisis will be resolved in no distant time.
“The research consists of different approaches that different governments in the past had tried to use to resolve the crisis. He brought all the approaches together and examined the ones that will yield positive results and discovered that the group has to get involved in the solution process.
“We have to contribute our own solutions and efforts and not leaving it to the government alone to find a lasting solution to the crisis. As a people, we need to work together to find our own solution to the crisis on the land,” he says.
He discovered that the people have 70% role to play for peace to be restored on the environment. Before now, one of the major oil companies operating in that land created some of the problems by giving money to the people which made them keep quiet even when they were dying liking the situation to the case of who pays the Piper ,dictates the tune.
This NGO has managed to stand on its own to see that these issues are resolved. Right now, the stakeholders have seen the mistake of the past and have come to the conclusion that this is the only way out.
He believes the group intends to attract investors not only in oil (because oil cannot be there forever) it is a question of other sectors of the economy: agriculture and education to get involved. He has made a proposal that some of the solutions is to establish a high-tech polytechnic of university on entrepreneurship and product designs.
“If these solutions are taken, it will create and make more jobs available thereby making the people not to be too dependent on oil. These are some of the ways that the Ogoni people can provide solutions to their own problems,” says the author.
Talking about the challenges he faced when writing the book, he says he spent sleepless nights to make sure that he gets the right information. Also, in a space of four months, he had to reach out to a lot of people like the prominent rulers in Ogoni land to get information from therm. It also cost him a lot of money, but he is happy that all these people are in full support of the initiative.
It took him over a year to write the book, because people initially didn’t know that he was writing the book until it was completed. From his research, the most effective approach to end the crisis was what the late president, Yar’Adua, did in offering national pardon in exchange for a ceasefire from militants.