Nigeria: 2011 Deadline Set For Ogoni Autonomy



Date of publication: 
30 November 2010

Nigeria: 2011 Deadline Set For Ogoni Autonomy

Traditional Rulers Increase Momentum for 2011 Deadline Set for Ogoni Autonomy

30 November 2010

This is no time for traditional rulers in the oil and gas rich Ogoniland in Nigeria to sit idly by as the Movement for Survival of Ogoni People, MOSOP implements its Plan of Action to secure greater political autonomy for the Ogoni people. To actualize the United Nations Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples adopted on September 13, 2007; MOSOP is bringing traditional rulers across Ogoniland together to build support for an Ogoni referendum and to meet the May 22, 2011 deadline set for the Ogoni autonomy.

An outspoken prisoner of conscience – the King of Eleme and Paramount Ruler of Onne Clan, His Royal Majesty, Emere J. E. Nkpornwi, says Ogonis are suffering historic injustice; and wants full restoration of indigenous rights for them. The Ogoni had lost their autonomy in 1901, as a result of British colonialism.

Dr. David Deekia, President of the Council of Ogoni Traditional Rulers’ Association (COTRA) and other natural rulers had joined MOSOP President / Spokesman Goodluck Diigbo to meet the King of Eleme Kingdom Emere J. E. Nkpornwi at his palace at Onne on Thursday, November 25, 2010. Diigbo said it was one of planned meetings to strengthen the traditional fabric to move Ogoniland toward full restoration of all indigenous rights and freedoms. Nkpornwi as the current Patron of MOSOP and Paramount Ruler of Onne, spoke out for Ogoni justice and accused some 150 companies as lawless as they continue to violate catchment area employment policy and the indigenous economic rights at the Onne Seaport.

Nkpornwi said the offensive companies were depriving Ogonis, including Elemes of equal economic opportunities in manners that grossly defile democratic values and principles. Reflecting on the 15th remembrance of the hanging of the Ogoni Nine, including his late friend Ken Saro-Wiwa, Nkpornwi said the sacrifice by Saro-Wiwa made the rejection of injustice in Nigeria more effective. In 1994, the military rulers of Nigeria had imprisoned Nkpornwi for one month for lending support to late Saro-Wiwa’s campaign for human rights, environmental protection and demand for autonomy.

“We are coming together to disperse the clouds. Action is replacing grumbling. I believe that Ogoni people acting together would change our world and rewrite our history,” said Diigbo.


Nigeria: Ogoni People Sets For Self-Autonomy, Says MOSOP

5 November 2010

The Ogoni Mass organisation, Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) has rolled out plans for their self-autonomy as well as offer reasons why they will participate in next year’s general elections.

MOSOP claimed in an on-line statement to AkanimoReports on Thursday that the Ogoni people will participate in the elections as a means of holding referendum to exercise the indigenous right to political autonomy.

According to them, ‘‘Referendum on Ogoni Autonomy will be conducted as part of Nigerian 2011 general elections with specific attachment to voting for candidates committed in writing to immediate regaining of political autonomy in the second of quarter of 2011’‘

On Wednesday November 2010, the Ogoni people gathered at Bori to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the hanging of human rights and environmental activist Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight otherof his kinsmen by the the late Sani Abacha military government.

Saro-Wiwa had protested environmental devastation from oil production in Ogoniland by Shell. As an indigenous people, the Ogoni had demanded for political autonomy, but Nigerian Government was yet to respond 20 years following the demand.

Their Spokesman, and factional President of MOSOP, Goodluck Diigbo, announced their plan of action to achieve political autonomy and set a deadline of May 22, 2011 to realize autonomy by means of a referendum to be tied to Nigeria’s 2011 elections.

‘‘Political autonomy has been demanded for since the Ogoni Bill of Rights came into being in1990’‘, he said.

At the memorial fiesta, some participants were wearing red t shirts and showing red cards to United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), who are preparing clean up of oil spills without conducting a proper environmental impact assessment study as demanded by the Ogoni people.

MOSOP has released a Month-Long Popular Citizens Initiative (PCI) on Ogoni autonomy billed to start on November 25, 2010and on November 30, MOSOP Political Action Committee is scheduled to open series of village by village seminars and workshops on the right to vote and be voted for in preparation for 2011 elections.

The second quarter of 2011 is slated for the declaration of Ogoni political autonomy, if, 2/3 of valid votes (66.67%) cast are for candidates that are political pro-autonomy. By May 22, 2011, MOSOP says they expect their plan of action will guide them to declare the situation of the Political Autonomy of the Ogoni people on May 22, 2011 in accordance with the United Nations Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples, but shall be determined by the outcome of the referendum and in line with the Ogoni Bill of Rights.

With participants drawn from the six kingdoms and two special administrative units of Ogoniland, over 600,000 people participated in the memorial anniversary. Diigbo had had last November vowed to complete the work he started with Saro-Wiwa before the hanging of 1995. “We did not have the plan of action meant to create conditions that can give rise to our freedom at last. We did not have a bridge to cross the sea. I have come here today to let you know that we now have a bridge to freedom. We as the Ogoni people are among the over 450 million indigenous peoples spread across Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Pacific.

‘‘We are equal to all other indigenous peoples that today enjoy their indigenous rights. On September 13, 2007 143 nation states, including Nigeria had adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We are reclaiming all the rights outlined in the Declaration, guided by the Purposes and Principles of the Charter of the United Nations,” said Diigbo. He maintained and asserted that the Ogoni people as indigenous people have the right to self-determination. By virtue of that right shall freely determine our political status and freely pursue our economic, social and cultural development (Article 3). He noted that in exercising their right to self-determination, the Ogoni people have the right to autonomy or self-government in matters relating to our internal and local affairs, as well as ways and means for financing our autonomous functions (Article 4).

He pointed out that as indigenous people, the Ogoni have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinct political, legal, economic, social and cultural institutions, while retaining their right to participate fully, if they so choose, in the political, economic, social and cultural life of the Nigerian Nation State as a State within the context of the Nigerian Federation (Article 5).