• Sunday, June 23, 2024
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MOSOP-USA demands state for Ogoni to remain in Nigeria

MOSOP proposes development plan to resolve Ogoni crisis

The United States (US) chapter of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) has placed key demands on the Federal Government as a condition to continue to remain in Nigeria.

Among the demands are the creation of state and relevant local governments for the Ogonis, a share of the 2022 federal budget, and massive job opportunities for the Ogonis.

The demands were issued by DineBari Augustine Kpuinen, an elder and president of MOSOP USA, and Kesiup C Kpooni, the secretary-general on behalf of all Ogonis in the Diaspora.

MASSOP, in a statement, said if Ogoni was still to be considered a part of Nigeria, these demands must be met and fully implemented by the Nigerian government.

The group, like in the Ogoni Bill of Rights issued some years ago, did not place any demands on the Rivers State government which has the primary responsibility to develop all areas in the state, especially the oil communities with 13 percent monthly allocation from oil revenue.

MOSOP-USA, however, said it was sad that the Ogoni people who they said contribute almost one-quarter of Nigeria’s national resources are permanently ignored and excluded from the nation’s budget for decades, with a consequent high rate of unemployed youths.

“But in contrast, we have more than enough federal government’s investments in Ogoniland capable of eliminating poverty and unemployment.”

The statement said various demands in the past had failed to attract the attention of the Federal Government.

Read also: FG seeks collaboration to tackle activities of artisan refiners in Ogoniland

On state creation, MOSOP-USA mentioned the four Ogoni local council areas of Tai, Eleme, Khana, and Gokana plus Andoni, Opobo, and Oyigbo to be carved out into a Bori State. The National Assembly just ruled out any state creation exercise ahead, and efforts in the past hit the rock.

On job creation, MOSOP-USA named the Onne Seaport, the Petrochemical Industries, and the NNPC two refineries, all in Eleme LGA, and the power station in Boobe Afam, Oyigbo LGA as federal projects which generate significant revenue to the national coffers, yet poverty and unemployment are co-tenants of Ogoni and their youths.

They thus demanded that the government allocate at least 50 percent of the employees of these companies to the indigenes. “This will also solve the insecurity problem that had made life miserable for the Ogoni people at large.”

They also demanded the building of well-furnished and staffed hospitals and clinics in the area in the face of hydrocarbon, carcinogens, soot and other poisonous chemicals more dreaded than COVID-19 are killing the Ogoni people daily.

MOSOP also asked for presidential assent to the bill establishing a University of Environmental Sciences in Ogoni, and asked for a local airport in addition, arguing that the aviation terminal would open the area up for investments and economic boost.

On power supply, MOSOP-USA said the Afam Power Station at Boobe, when combined with Kainji Dam, supplies electricity to Nigeria, Niger Republic, Chad Republic, Benin Republic, and Cameroun; but that Ogoni has been without electricity for decades. “The provision of electricity for all residents and small businesses in Ogoni will fast-track development in the area.

The group also demanded that the 2022 federal budget must include fixing all federal roads with streetlights in Ogoniland.

Addressing President Muhammadu Buhari specifically, the group said: “We want to inform you that HYPREP is using the same failed approach, which will not yield any significant result by deceiving the people of Ogoni. HYPREP is collecting a handful for skill acquisition training. Be informed that the lasting solution for unemployment in Ogoni will be building a skill acquisition academy (College of Applied Technology) in all eight Ogoni Kingdoms to drive away unemployment.

It is the best mechanism and resource to bring ongoing development to society.”

Other demands include water supply, adding that it was a preliminary recommendation of the 2011 UNEP Report in view of the pollution of the water sources of Ogoni by hydrocarbon, benzene, and other poisonous chemicals that were detected in the area.

The group, however, said Nigeria is a great place to live. “As such, there must be an equal representation, equal rights, fair sharing of budgets/funds, and equal opportunity of employment, equal protection, and equal justice for all in the nation. Therefore, we are looking forward to seeing a different phase of government in the year 2022 that citizens of Nigeria will embrace wholeheartedly.’

They appealed to President Buhari to urge all companies/employers in Ogoniland, not to discriminate against Ogoni job seekers based on religion, sex, age, disability, or genetic information. First, there must be the promulgation of the federal, state, and local governments’ anti-discrimination laws that require employers to offer equal opportunity to Ogoni youths in all government-owned companies in Ogoni.’

The statement said: “Thank you so much for considering this vital demand by MOSOP-USA and Ogonis in the Diaspora. We are confident that our demands shall be granted accordingly.”