The umbrella organisation of the indigenous Ogoni people, Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), has commended the renewed commitment and efforts of Ogoni leaders to ensure enduring peace in the community and appealed to them not to relent or be distracted by anti-peace sentiments and tactics by those that would want them fail. Since our only choice is returning peace to the region, we entreat all Ogonis to support and co-operate with the leaders as the task of recreating an Ogoni marked by sustainable peace must be accomplished. Similarly, MOSOP welcomed the Rivers State Government’s intervention in the Ogoni security crisis. We acknowledge with relief her commitment to peace in the area expressed in the fresh amnesty offered to repentant cultists and related groups in Ogoni who had previously shunned the project. To us the state administration’s response is a major step forward and a boost to the Ogoni peace process hence we would urge the government to effectively follow through the effort by deploying all available resources in returning and sustaining peace in the area.
The Movement has thus called on the Ogoni people especially the youths involved in anti-social occupations including cultism, militancy and violence to embrace the amnesty as they will have themselves to blame for failure.
MOSOP has in the spirit of the awakened thirst for peace in the region, commended Mr. Solomon Ndigbara, who, not minding his disadvantaged circumstances has voluntarily offered to work and co-operate with government and its security agencies; Ogoni leaders and organisations including providing useful information that would lead to the abatement of violence and death and ensure lasting peace in our dear Ogoniland. Nevertheless, we would advise him to match the declaration with action, bringing his knowledge and understanding of the cult world to bear on the Ogoni peace process.
However, we would appeal to the federal government of Nigeria to reconsider its stance regarding Ogoni citizens it has declared wanted in controversial circumstances in the new spirit of recreating an Ogoni marked by sustainable peace, stability and development. We would particularly call on the government to revisit the case of Solomon Ndigbara.
It is our view that even in the face of the reawakened realisation, lasting peace can only be achieved in the region if, and we must say to ourselves, “never again shall we allow such bestial bloodletting to occur amongst us” and collectively work to sustain it.
While it may not be untrue that the condemnable violence and killings that engulfed our communities may have been externally masterminded using internal collaborators and executioners, this has been possible because some people amongst us allowed themselves to be manipulated to inflict mayhem on, and embarrassed Ogoni and this must stop.
We would warn that environmental justice expressible in the Ogoni environmental remediation and restoration exercise cannot be achieved in an atmosphere of insecurity hence Ogoni must not provide the excuse upon which those responsible for the implementation of the project would mask behind and renege.
We must recognise and demonstrate that peace is a treasure and priceless hence we again entreat us to keep the peace.
Special Advisor to the MOSOP President on Media
23 March, 2017