Thursday, 15 December 2011
OGONI BILL OF RIGHTS
TO THE GOVERNMENT AND PEOPLE OF NIGERIA
We, the people of Ogoni (Babbe, Gokana, Ken Khana, Nyo Khan and Tai) numbering about 500,000, being a separate and distinct ethnic nationality within the Federal Republic of Nigeria, wish to draw the attention of the Government and people of Nigeria to the undermentioned facts:
1. That the Ogoni people, before the advent of British colonialism, were not conquered or colonised by any other ethnic group in present day Nigeria.
2. That British colonisation forced us into the administrative division of Opobo from 1908 to 1947.
3. That we protested against this forced union until the Ogoni Native Authority was created in 1947 and placed under the then Rivers Province.
4. That in 1951 we were forcibly included in the Eastern Region of of Nigeria where we suffered utter neglect.5. That we protested against this neglect by voting against the party in power in the Region in 1957, and against the forced union by testimony before the Willink Commision of Inquiry into Minority Fears in 1958.
6. That this protest led to the inclusion of our nationality in Rivers State in 1967, which State consists of several ethnic nationalities with differing cultures, languages and aspirations.
7. That oil was struck and produced in commercial quantities on our land in 1958 at K. Dere (Bomu oilfield).
8. That oil has been mined on our land since 1958 to this day from the following oilfields: (i) Bomu (ii) Bodo West (iii) Tai (iv) Korokoro (v) Yorla (vi) Lubara Creek and (vii) Afam by Shell Petroleum Development Company (Nigeria) Limited.9. That in over 30 years of oil mining, the Ogoni nationality have provided the Nigerian nation with a total revenue estimated at over 40 billion Naira (N40 billion) or 30 billion dollars.
10. That in return for the above contribution, the Ogoni people have received NOTHING.
11. That today, the Ogoni people have:
(i) No representation whatsoever in ALL institutions of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
(ii) No pipe-borne water.
(iii) No electricity.
(iv) No job opportunities for the citizens in Federal, State, public sector or private sector companies.
(v) No social or economic project of the Federal Government.12. That the Ogoni languages of Gokana and Khana are undeveloped and are about to disappear, whereas other Nigerian languages are being forced on us.
13. That the ethnic policies of successive Federal and State Governments are greadually pushing the Ogoni people to slavery and possible extinction.14. That the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited does not employ Ogoni people at a meaningful or any level at all, in defiance of the Federal government's regulations.
15. That the search for oil has caused severe land and food shortages in Ogoni - one of the most densely populated areas of Africa (average: 1,500 per square mile; national average: 300 per square mile.)
16. That neglectful environmental pollution laws and sub-standard nspection techniques of the Federal authorities have led to the complete degradation of the Ogoni environment, turning our homeland into an ecological disaster.
17. That the Ogoni people lack education, health and other social facilities.
18. That it is intolerable that one of the richest areas of Nigeria should wallow in abject poverty and destitution.19. That successive Federal administrators have trampled on every minority right enshrined in the Nigerian constitution to the detriment of the Ogoni and have by administrative structuring and other noxious acts transferred Ogoni wealth exclusively to other parts of the Republic.
20. That the Ogoni people wish to manage their own affairs.Now therefore, while reaffirming our wish to remain a part of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, we make demand upon the Republic as follows:
That the Ogoni people be granted POLITICAL AUTONOMY to participate in the affairs of the Republic as a distinct and separate unit by whatever name called, provided that this Autonomy guarantees the following:
(a) Political control of Ogoni affairs by Ogoni people.
(b) The right to the control and use of a fair proportion of OGONI economic resources for Ogoni development.
(c) Adequate and direct representation as of right in all Nigerian national institutions.
(d) The use and development of Ogoni Languages in Ogoni territory.
(e) The full development of Ogoni Culture.
(f) The right to religious freedom.
(g) The right to protect the OGONI environment and ecology from further degradation.
We make the above demand in the knowledge that it does not deny any other ethnic group in the Nigerian Federation of their rights and that it can only conduce to peace, justice and fairplay and hence stability and progress in the Nigerian nation.
We make the above demand in the belief that, as Obafemi Awolowo has written:
"In a true Federation, each ethnic group no matter how small, is entitled to the same treatment as any other ethnic group, no matter how large."
We demand these rights as equal members of the Nigerian Federation who contribute and have contributed to the growth of the Federation and have a right to expect full returns from that Federation.
Adopted by general acclaim of the Ogoni people on the 26th day of August, 1990, at Bori, Rivers State.
Signed on behalf of the Ogoni people by:
1. HRH Mark Tsaro-Igbara, Gbenemene Babbe
2. HRH F.M.K. Noryaa, Menebua Ka-Babbe
3. Chief M.A.N. Tornwe III, JP
4. Prince J.S. Sangha
5. Dr. Israel K. Kue
6. Chief A.M.N. Gua
1. HRH James P. Bagia, Gberesako XI, Gbenemene Gokana
2. HRH C. A. Mitee, JP, Menebua Numuu
3. Chief E.N. Kobani, JP, Tonsimene Gokana
4. Dr. B.N. Birabi
5. Chief Kemte Gidaom, JP
6. Chief S.N. Orage
1. HRH M.H.S. Eguro, Gbenemene Ken Khana
2. HRH C.B.S. Nwikina, Emah III, Menebua Bom
3. Mr. M.C. Daanwii
4. Chief T.N. Nwieke
5. Mr. Ken Saro-Wiwa
6. Mr. Simeon Idemyor
1. HRH W.Z.P. Nzidee, Gbenemen Baa 1 of Nyo-Khana
2. Dr. G.B. Leton, JP
3. Mr. Lekue Lah-Laolo
4. Mr. L. E. Mwara
5. Chief E. A. Apenu
6. Pastor M.P. Maeba
1. HRH B.A. Mballey, Gbenemene Tai
2. HRH G.N.K. Gininwa, Menebua Tua Tua
3. Chief J.S. Agbara
4. Chief D.J.K. Kumbe
5. Chief Fred Gwezia
6. HRH A. Demor-Kaani, Menebua Nonwa Tai
EDITED BY: EKO-JOE MARVELOUS BARILEDUM
Posted by Marvelous Eko-Joe Bariledum at 07:29
The Curse of Oil in Ogoniland
"Oil is a curse which means only poverty, hunger, disease and exploitation"
- Emanuel Nnadozie in Oil and Socioeconomic Crisis in Nigeria
����������� The Nigerian delta has some of the best agricultural land in Africa, as well as vast oil resources.� The area is densely populated by many different tribal groups, including the Ogoni people who have lived there for over 500 years.� Several oil companies, including Shell, set up operations in the 1950s and since then, the land, water, and air have been polluted to such a great extent that the Ogoni people�s livelihood is threatened.
The effect of pollution on the Nigerian delta has been great.� As a result of oil spills and industrial waste dumped into the Niger River Delta, fishing as a means of supplying food for the tribe is no longer an option because very few fish remain in the river.� The groundwater is contaminated and is not safe for drinking, and the rainwater cannot be collected for drinking because it falls as acid rain. Dr. Owens Wiwa, a medical doctor and human rights activist from the area says, �We cannot drink the water from the streams, you can't drink rainwater and there is no piped water. Our right to drinking water has been taken away by the company, our right to farming has been taken away by the company, and our right to clean air has also been taken away by the company� (1). Developed countries such as the United Stated require mud from drilling to be enclosed in a containment well or land fill to prevent seepage. However, the Nigerian government permits oil operations to dispose of the drilling waste directly into the river (2).
The air has also been severely polluted. The natural gas that is a byproduct of drilling is flared off horizontally from five flaring stations, some of which are near homes and villages. Flaring is a process in which the gas is collected in batches and then combusted, creating a loud explosion. More dangerous in the long run is the massive amounts of carbon dioxide created by flaring off gas that could be sold or even donated to the local people for a cooking fuel.� Flaring, combined with the methane and soot produced by the two refineries, petrochemical complex, and fertilizer complex that are in Ogoniland produce low air quality linked to cancer, asthma, and other lung diseases.� The flaring has also been associated with reduced crop yield and plant growth on nearby farms (2).
The most immediate threat to Ogoni people is oils spills, which have damaged their land dramatically.� At least one hundred pumping stations and pipelines crisscross Ogoniland (1).� The pipelines run over farm land and through villages; leaks and spills are a common occurrence. From 1970 to 1982, 1,581 oil spill incidences were recorded in the Niger Delta, over 1.5 million gallons of which were a result of Shell�s 27 incidents.� While Shell runs oil operations in over one hundred different countries, 40% of the company�s spills were in Nigeria (3).� What little Shell has done to clean up these spills has been delayed and inadequate.� Blowouts (leaks resulting from cracks in the pipeline have gone for days without attention.�Background
Shell began drilling for oil in 1958. Ogoniland was not the only area affected by the Nigerian oil rush. The entire coastal region f Nigeria has been drilled for oil. As a result, 90% of Nigerian exports and 80% of government revenue comes from oil (3). In the proceeding thirty years, $30 billion in oil was drawn from Ogoniland. The central government received a portion of the profits, however none of the money ever reached the people of Ogoni. While Ogoniland was rich in fertile soil at the mouth of the Niger River and rested on one of the largest oil reserves in the world, the Ogoni people lived in abject poverty for the 30 years of Shell�s drilling. They had no electricity, no sewer system, and no water filtration. Schools and hospitals were non-existent. Without notice, a construction crew would arrive in the morning and tear up a planted field to run pipe across to continually develop infrastructure to support the drilling. �Flaring stations shot soot into the air from exploding natural gas next to villages that desperately needed energy for electricity and cooking. Oil spills caused massive fish kills, ruined the only potable water supply, and seeped into the fields, shriveling cassava and yams. The socio-economy of the Ogoni was destroyed while the wealth of their land was shipped away.
After more than thirty years of Shell Oil threatening their way of life, the Ogoni people finally organized and began to protest. In 1990 the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) was formed with poet Ken Saro-Wiwa as president. MOSOP developed an Ogoni Bill of Rights, demanding environmental justice and opposing the method of allocation of oil funds. They also organized a number of peaceful protests.
Due to Saro-Wiwa�s fame, these protests received international media attention. MOSOP claims that, in response, Shell used the Nigerian army to silence the Ogoni people. Shell repeatedly denied contributing financially to any armed forces, but eventually consented that in specific cases they had paid for daily rations of patrolling troops. Whether Shell made a direct contribution to the troops is a trivial point considering the massive amount of money that the oil company was providing the Nigerian government who controlled the soldiers. Both Shell and the Nigerian government had much at stake in keeping the protesters quiet. However, the frustration of the Ogoni people had brought them to a point of no return.
Despite repression and attacks on villages, MOSOP managed to rally over 300,000 Ogoni people to a peaceful protest in January of 1993 (3). Saro-Wiwa was arrested and held without charges. In April, another protest 10,000 people strong came as a response to a new pipeline run through a freshly planted field. By the beginning of May, Shell had decided that the political unrest and bad press was not worth the effort and pulled out of Ogoniland.
Sadly, the story does not end there. The withdrawal of Shell may at first appear to be a victory for the Ogoni. However, all of the pipelines and oil pumps remained and continued to leak and �blow out�. Shell was called in a number of times to make repairs to the pipes, but the company did nothing. The movement was successful in driving out Shell, but it still had not attained any of the goals of the Bill of Rights written by MOSOP. Protests against the government continued and violence erupted between tribes and against the government. Four government officials were killed one night. Though he most likely had nothing to do with the killings, Saro-Wiwa was arrested for the murders and executed along with eight other MOSOP officials in 1995.
Political boundary of Nigeria
Tribal boundaries in Nigeria
The Ogoni have a close connection to the land and water, both physically and spiritually. The traditional lifestyle of the Ogoni is based on fishing in the river waters and farming yams and cassava on the fertile land of the delta. While the land is perfect for agriculture, the value of the crops is still small and most farming is done for subsistence, not profit. But the land and water are more than a food source for the Ogoni; they are the center of their culture and religion. The Ogoni practice animism and worship the river as a god. The consumption of their land by oil drilling operations and the resulting pollution has forced many Ogoni off of their land. As a result of the forced removal, over 100,000 Ogoni have sought refuge in the neighboring country of Benin.Key Actors
Shell Nigeria is one of the largest producers in the Royal Shell Group, which consists of over 1,700 companies. Shell Nigeria collects 80% of its oil from the Nigerian Delta. They have largely ignored the needs and well being of the Ogoni and other tribes living in the areas where most of there profits come from.
Nigerian Government has been labeled as Shell�s lackey by the international press. This accusation has largely been proven to be true based on the government�s dependence on oil money, which makes up 80% of government income. The government also takes action to attack and repress the peaceful demonstrations of its own citizens against a foreign corporate entity.
Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) is the strongest force of opposition to Shell and the Nigerian government. While many other NGOs, such as Amnesty International and Greenpeace, have been involved, the efforts of MOSOP drew the attention of these groups and the international press. In being able to rally 300,000 of the half million population of the Ogoni, they are truly the voice of the people.Strategies & Solutions
The nature of international environmental justice cases make them difficult to react to. Large corporations like Shell are usually based outside the country affected and the location is often chosen because of either its inability to recognize and prevent environmental destruction or the governments willingness to trade the safety and health of its people for financial opportunity. The Ogoni faced both of these challenges. Fortunately, they had two things in their favor. First, they had strong community ties. In an area where tribal boundaries are well defined if not well represented by geopolitical borders, the 500,000 Ogoni lived in a relatively small area. While it took over 30 years for the tribe to recognize the environmental and socio-economic effects of oil production and refining, they were able to organize a large portion of the population (60% of the Ogoni participated in the largest demonstration). Secondly, an internationally known figure, Ken Saro-Wawi, was willing to head up the effort. Saro-Wawi used his international stature to attract media attention to the plight of the Ogoni and travel to inform the world of the efforts of MOSOP in fighting the destruction of Ogoniland by Shell. Sadly, he eventually gave his life fighting for the rights of the Ogoni.
MOSOP organized the people for non-violent protests on numerous occasions and brought the complaints to the Nigerian government, which eventually resulted in the withdrawal of Shell from Ogoniland. They made their complaints and concerns clear through the Ogoni Bill of Rights, which help the rest of the world understand and sympathize with their dilemma. Through these efforts they were able to gain the support of large international organizations like Greenpeace and Amnesty International who in turn staged protests against Shell in cities around the world.
However, while Shell�s withdrawal shows the power of massive peaceful protest, this victory did not achieve the goals MOSOP had hoped for. Today, oil continues to spill onto farmland, and the river and drinking water are still polluted. In September 2003 yet another pipeline ruptured, spilling oil onto farmland and into a stream which then caught fire. Shell had trouble reaching the site to do repairs because of angry youths chasing them away. A spokesman for Shell blames this latest �blow out� on vandalism by locals.
Shell�s departure also did not reduce the violence against the Ogoni. In fact, attacks on the village have increased since Shell left. Perhaps in an effort to prove their ability to control the population and prevent more demonstrations against remaining oil operations, the Nigerian police force has continued to raid villages, killing and raping villagers, and arrest protesters without pressing charges. 2000 Ogoni have been killed and thousands more fled the state. The Ogoni came into conflict with neighboring tribes in the time after Shell�s withdrawal. Though it was labeled an �ethnic conflict� by government authorities, the sophisticated weaponry used by other tribes indicates that the government most likely played some role in these battles.
It is likely that the event that most benefited the Ogoni was the election of 1996. The Ogoni claim that they were prevented from running for local government seats. As a result, the Ogoni refused to participate in the election. In spite of their frustrations with the electoral process, the resulting elected Obasanjo party has been committed to democracy, human rights, and good governance. In 2001 MOSOP was invited to a human rights investigation of the Nigerian military. While the military adamantly denies any role in murder and rape in the villages or instigation in tribal conflict, the fact that these investigations are taking place at all and that MOSOP is recognized by the government and invited to participate are good signs.Recommendations
The Ogoni have, against seemingly all odds, done an amazing job of organizing the majority of their population to demonstrate as well as increase awareness of their plight internationally. Forcing a giant corporation such as Shell into retreat shows the great power of a united front. However, as discussed above, Shell�s departure did not solve the problems of the Ogoni. The environmental destruction still remains and continues. Furthermore, Shell has been working with the Nigerian government and has returned to the delta region in hopes of restarting and increasing operations. With a government more committed to democracy, it is a good time for the Ogoni to pursue legitimate political channels and possibly seek elected local positions. Now that they have shown their commitment and the support they can generate, the government may be more willing to contribute the income from oil on the local people.
It would be of great benefit for the Ogoni and all other tribes in the delta region to find ways to work together. The history of conflict and tension between tribes gives the central government an excuse to use heavy-handed tactics and ignore the needs of the people. The Ogoni proved capable of uniting a large group of people and it would be to their benefit to expand that unity to other tribes.
Finally, Shell has shown some willingness to aid development in the area. Though they have broken such promises numerous times in the past, it would be a huge step forward for the Ogoni to work out some sort form of agreement with the oil companies. As the world�s oil reserves are depleted, demand for Nigerian oil will only increase. The oil companies will find a way to reach the oil and the existing infrastructure in Ogoniland makes that area even more lucrative. Ogoni people are still furious with Shell and have been accused of vandalizing the pipeline and chasing away workers who come to make repairs. Perhaps the most promising recommendation is that the Ogoni need to work with the oil companies to allow oil drilling in a way that does not destroy their environment and livelihood, and require the Nigerian government to adequately regulate the operations.
EDITED BY: EKO-JOE MARVELOUS BARILEDUM
Posted by Marvelous Eko-Joe Bariledum at 07:25
Thursday, 8 December 2011
Posted by Marvelous Eko-Joe Bariledum at 17:19
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
|Ogoni Flag created by Ken Saro-Wiwa|
|Regions with significant populations|
|traditional beliefs, Christianity|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Ibibio, Urhobo, Ijaw, Efik, Ejagham, Annang|
The Ogoni rose to international attention after a massive public protest campaign against Shell Oil, led by the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP).
GeographyThe territory is located in Rivers State on the coast of the Gulf of Guinea, east of the city of Port Harcourt. It extends across the Local Government Areas (LGAs) Khana, Gokana, Tai, and Eleme. Traditionally, Ogoniland is divided into the six kingdoms of Babbe, Eleme, Gokana, Ken-Khana, Nyo-Khana, and Tai.
The Ogoni speak the related, mutually intelligible languages of Khana, Gokana, Tai (Tẹẹ), Eleme and Ban Ogoi part of the linguistic diversity of the Niger Delta.
HistoryLike many peoples on the Guinea coast, the Ogoni have an internal political structure subject to community by community arrangement, including appointment of chiefs and community development bodies, some recognized by government and others not. They survived the period of the slave trade in relative isolation, and did not lose any of their members to enslavement. After Nigeria was colonized by the British in 1885, British soldiers arrived in Ogoni by 1901. Major resistance to their presence continued through 1914.
The Ogoni were integrated into a succession of economic systems at a pace that was extremely rapid and exacted a great toll from them. At the turn of the twentieth century, “the world to them did not extend beyond the next three or four villages,” but that soon changed. Ken Saro-Wiwa, the late president of MOSOP, described the transition this way: “if you then think that within the space of seventy years they were struck by the combined forces of modernity, colonialism, the money economy, indigenous colonialism and then the Nigerian Civil War, and that they had to adjust to these forces without adequate preparation or direction, you will appreciate the bafflement of the Ogoni people and the subsequent confusion engendered in the society.”
Human Rights ViolationsThe Ogoni people have been victims of human right violations for many years. In 1993, following protests that were designed to stop contractors from laying a new pipeline for Shell, the Mobile Police Force men (MPF) raided the area to quell the unrest. In the chaos that followed, it has been alleged that 27 villages were raided, resulting in the death of 2,000 Ogoni people and displacement of 80,000.
- ^ Sources vary widely about the population. Mushanga, p. 166, says "over 20 million"; Nzewi (quoted in Agawu), p. 31, says "about 15 million"; Okafor, p. 86, says "about twenty-five million"; Okpala, p. 21, says "around 30 million"; and Smith, p. 508, says "approximately 20 million".
- ^ Ethnologue Report for Ogoni
- ^ Quotes from Ken Saro-Wiwa, "Letter to Ogoni Youth."
- ^ David Kupfer, "Worldwide Shell boycott", The Progressive, 1996
- ^ PBS Documentary The New Americans: The Ogoni Refugees
- ^ Ken Saro-Wiwa, "Genocide in Nigeria: The Ogoni Tragedy"
Posted by Marvelous Eko-Joe Bariledum at 08:02