The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) has denounced the invasion of Norkpo farmlands by a band of over eighty (80) sophisticatedly armed Ogu militants supported by many more natives of the community. MOSOP has consequently branded the incident a callous act of aggression, which would further threaten peace and security in the area and also inflict major injury on the relationship between both communities (Norkpo in Tai LGA and Ogu in Ogu/Bolo LGA). The Movement has thus called on the Government of Rivers State including its security agencies to intervene with a view to halting the expansionist land grab campaign of the people of Ogu against their Ogoni neighbours including Norkpo. Confirmed report available to MOSOP has shown that the raid was carried out on Tuesday, April 7, 2017 occasioning seizure of vast farmlands owned by the people of Norkpo. It further indicated that upon violently chasing away innocent and harmless farmers from the farmlands, they instantly apportioned the annexed lands to their people that also commenced fencing of their allocated plots. Worse, they denied the Norkpo farmers the right to accessing and working on or harvest crops on the cultivated farms.
We recall that in mid-March, 2017, MOSOP raised concerns regarding intensification of violent capture of ancestral lands of the people of Ogoni communities by the people of the neighbouring Ogu community. We are also aware of petitions by the affected Ogoni communities especially Norkpo to the authorities protesting these provocative land seizure actions of the Ogu people. Regrettably, nothing has been done by the authorities to address the issues.
Coming at a time when the tempest of insecurity in Ogoni has not really abated and government and our people are working concertedly to return sustainable peace to the Ogoni region, we are compelled to believe that the actions of our Ogu neighbours betrays sinister and unfriendly intent influenced by expansionist interests. If not, how would one explain the reported involvement of the Ogu Divisional Council of Chiefs and the Ogu/Bolo Local Government Council in the sharing of the annexed Norkpo lands to citizens (individuals and families) of Ogu community?
Facts abound that heavily armed Ogu attackers had invaded and sacked Ekporo community in Eleme local government area of Ogoni many years ago. And the citizens displaced and forced into internal refugees over four years past. Kporgho in Tai local government area of the Ogoni territory have suffered similar fate. They are presently refugees in various Tai communities. Alesa and Nonwa in Tai and Eleme LGA respectively are no exception. Unfortunately, complaints by these communities to the authorities have yielded no result.
We are deeply concerned at the attitude and inaction of the authorities to the plight of the people of these Ogoni communities. From the reported utterances of the people of Ogu, especially claiming that the present state administration is their baby hence they can do anything and nothing will happen, there is need for the state government to take urgent steps to deal with this matter to convince the Ogoni people that the recounted Ogu claim is incorrect.
We are as well calling on all men of goodwill to prevail on the people of Ogu to vacate the grabbed lands and allow peace to reign. A natural boundary between Ogoni and Okrika communities exist conspicuously.
Special Advisor to the MOSOP President on Media
10 April, 2017