Tony John, Port Harcourt
The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) has accused the Nigerian government of deliberately creating the insecurity situation in Ogoni, to justify its intention to militarise the region in preparation for planned oil resumption in the area without the people’s consent.
Factional President of MOSOP, Fegalo Nsuke, stated this at the weekend, in Ebubu, Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State.
Nsuke said, contrary to media reports, the situation in Ogoni is not out of control, noting that it was the failure of government to provide the needed logistics for the Police in the area, that has created the current security problem, which those, to whom it offers potential benefits, are taking advantage of.
“We blame the Federal government for the current embarrassing security situation in Ogoniland because they knew that by neglecting the police in Ogoni, they were creating a security problem and I will also want to state that the situation in Ogoni is not out of hand,” Nsuke said.
“At some point, the Divisional Police Station in Bori, headquarters of Khana Local Government Area, did not have a patrol van. What did government expect; will they claim ignorance of the implications of such deliberate actions?
“Government cannot convince us that they can run a police force without equipment and expect not to face security challenges,” he said.
Nsuke maintained that the actions of government in neglecting the police in Ogoni over a long period, was well calculated to create the present situation where their agents would call for military intervention to repress civil protests against injustice.
The factional MOSOP president said: “I think they deliberately allowed things to deteriorate, so as to justify the militarisation of Ogoniland, which has always and clearly been their intention.
“Their hope is that militarisation will pave way for repression of civil activists calling for justice in Ogoni and consequently enhancing oil resumption in Ogoni.
“It is sad and shameful that Ogoni faces this kind of situation due to the failures of our own government. It is disheartening that our justifiable demand for equity is being repressed by the Nigerian state,” Nsuke expressed.
He said what the Ogoni people are asking for is fairness. “You cannot take away everything, take the land and resources and leave nothing for the Ogoni and when we question the unjust treatment you do all to repress with your security forces.
“The Ogoni people want a fair share of the wealth coming from their land and this demands that Nigeria will respect our demands for political rights to self-determination. That is not too much for a region that generates more revenue than 20 percent of the revenue of Nigerian states whose survival only depends on subventions from the federation account,” Nsuke said.
Speaking on the attack on the home of Solomon Ndigbara, a former militant leader, Nsuke said the conduct of the Nigerian military in Ogoni was violating citizens’ rights, noting that it was provocative and threatening the peace of local dwellers.
He demanded an explanation from the military for the magnitude of destruction visible in the home of Ndigbara.
He said the Ogoni people would want an explanation for every action taken by the army or any other security agency against any Ogoni citizen.
“The army should protect citizens and not be a threat to us. It is unfortunate that in Ogoni, we have only known the army as people who kill us and we will want the army to work to change this orientation.
“The destruction in Ndigbara’s home demands a public explanation, especially as such conduct jeopardises the safety of civilians within the neighborhood and could spark off civil protests,” Nsuke cautioned.
Nsuke suggested the establishment of more police stations in Ogoni and the proper equipment of existing police divisions to be able to secure the area.
He also called on the government to take advantage of the large number of amnesty beneficiaries whom it pays monthly to help the police with intelligence and community policing.
Nsuke said Ndigbara would be very useful to the police in providing intelligence to deal with the security challenges and in collaboration with the other Federal government amnesty beneficiaries.
“We can have a network that helps the security agencies with intelligence and speedily addresses the security issues currently experienced.”