Tony John, Port Harcourt
President of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), Legborsi Pyagbara, has stated that the resurgence of cult violence and destruction of lives and property in most Ogoni communities, is a deliberate and direct attack on the peace initiative and process by well- meaning groups and leaders of Ogoni.
The MOSOP president made this remark while responding to the latest report of deadly attacks on Opouko and Luumene communities in Nyokhana district of Khana Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The two communities came under cult groups’ attack on Sunday, August 18, during which at least eight persons were reportedly killed.
Six persons were allegedly killed in Opouko and two in Luumene, while the residence of the Khana council chairman, Lateh Loolooh, and palace of the Gbenemene Banghan, Chief Suanu Baridam, were burnt down.
Pyagbara strongly bemoaned the killings and destruction of property by those he said, did not want peace in Ogoni, and were making efforts to put the area under siege.
“It seems to me that there is an internal factor and interest in trying to put Ogoni in perpetual fear and siege. Don’t forget, people that want to destroy you will always use someone in your house. There is a possibility of some interest that we have not been able to uncover in this whole matter,” Pyagbara said.
The MOSOP president, who had earlier visited Nyokuru, Taabaa and Okwale communities to ascertain the level of destruction and sympathise with victims’ families and people of the area, again, lamented the razing of houses in his compound in Nyokuru community and those of Chief Nule of Taabaa and others in Okwale communities.
Pyagbara noted that time had come for Ogoni to look inward and say ‘enough is enough,’ stressing that “every right-thinking Ogoni man and woman must rise up against this madness” and tell those involved that they could not put Ogoni under siege.
He explained that the peace initiative that MOSOP and other groups had started, which youths groups, as well as key stakeholders, were part of during the previous meetings was still on course.
He expressed disappointment why some persons were not committed to the peace agreement at the Saakpenwa meeting.
“That people have turned around to do what they are doing is a big surprise and a shame. I thought that we had a moratorium, and that our brothers and fathers promised they were going into deepening the peace process that we kicked started at Saakpenwa. Ogoni doesn’t need this carnage, after all we have laboured for,” he said.
On the Bomu-Lewe renewed clash, the MOSOP president said he was surprised over the resurgence of conflict between the two communities in Gokana Local Government Area.
He recalled that at some time, the matter was resolved, as different groups and some elders went to the two communities for peace.
Pyagbara stressed the need for government at all levels to redouble efforts and take the insecurity situation in Ogoni with much concern, adding that MOSOP, in collaboration with other groups, would ensure no lapses in the drive for the return of peace, to pave way for development in the area.
He also appealed to those involved in the carnage to stop further action and embrace peace.