Ogoni laud Buhari’s move to implement UNEP report



OGONI people in Rivers State have lauded President Muhammadu Buhari for approving creation of necessary institutions for implementation of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Report.

In a letter to President Buhari, which was made available to The Guardian, the Ogoni under the auspices of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), said for taking the initiative to end the environmental nightmare in their land, the President has taken a step further to formally exonerate Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogoni of the alleged crime for which they were extra-judicially murdered by the Gen. Sani Abacha’s military regime.

MOSOP president, Legborsi Saro Pyagbara, explained that the Ogoni struggle for environmental justice was inaugurated with the intent to secure the future of their people, and by extension the rest of the Niger Delta, from the crises of political marginalization, economic strangulation and environmental degradation which they claimed have reduced them to the lowest rungs of society and imperiled their continued existence as a people in the Nigerian state.

Pyagbara described the Ogoni and their counterparts in the Niger Delta as endangered people whose predicament has been elucidated by the UNEP Report on the Environmental Assessment of Ogoniland. He said the report shows poisoning of Ogoni water sources through oil pollution and deadly chemicals, a situation which he likened to environmental terrorism.

“MOSOP appeals to the President to act with a new sense of urgency and in a new generosity of spirit and fairness, particularly to muster the political will to declare a state of emergency on the Ogoni environment (water crisis) and set up the machinery for full implementation of the UNEP report on Ogoniland. These are urgently needed to decelerate the current expansion of pollution footprints and restoration of land and biodiversity in the Ogoni area,” Pyagbara said.

He explained that by November 10, 2015, it will be 20 years since Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogoni popularly called the “Ogoni Nine” were, according to him, unjustly murdered by the Nigerian state, amid international outcry. Due to the executions, he said Commonwealth of Nations suspended Nigeria’s membership, while United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution on Nigeria on December 22, 1995, condemning the executions. This is in addition to United Nations fact-finding mission verdict that the trial and executions of the Ogoni Nine was unjust, unfair, partial and does not meet the requirements of both domestic and international human rights law.

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