By Fegalo Nsuke
Shell and the Nigerian government having failed in the use of military force, particularly under General Sani Abacha, to exterminate our people and silence every voice that speaks for human rights and demand justice for environmental degradation seem to have adopted a new strategy which appear targeted at ensuring that Ogoniland remain polluted.
The new strategy is working – allowing the pollution to get worse, sustain current health difficulties so the people continue to be infected with incurable diseases and eventually all die.
Government and Shell cannot claim ignorance of the fact that a poisoned land is sure to kill all Ogoni people, yet, an issue as serious as the restoration of Ogoniland which should have gotten immediate attention is being delayed despite an increase in the death rate. Life expectancy in Ogoniland is now below 50years.
The number of deaths related to the failure of key body organs like the kidney, liver, heart, and gall bladder are on the increase in Ogoni. Experts blame the high level of water, air, food and generally the toxic nature of the environment for this condition. Independent investigations estimate that 7 out of 10 Ogonis above 20 suffer from an organ related disease.
While we await government’s response to a 2011 environmental audit report on Ogoni, the situation is getting worse and deaths in the years to come could be massive. The poor Ogoni population cannot afford the huge medical bills and the medical facilities are simply not available. The result is death for the Ogoni.
This is nothing but OGONICIDE. A derivative of GENOCIDE describing Shell and the Nigerian government’s deliberate, racial, painful and systematic design to keep Ogoniland under toxic conditions by refusing to clean the area of oil pollution.
Ogoni is simply dying. It is being shocked by the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria. The Nigerian government has not only aided this process, it has defended and protected Shell to continue to kill the Ogoni.
As I write this release, pain and fear occupy my mind. Ogoni has no future and will be the worst place to live on earth. The water is poisoned, the air and environment are toxic. All I can see around is death. Death from Shell’s pollution and the Nigerian government, their obvious ally, is not courageous to do something to remedy the situation.
I remember that my Ogoniland gave Nigeria a conservative estimate of 185,000 barrels of oil per day. An estimated $11,000,000 per day at $50/barrel. This has been on for over 30 years and death is all Shell and Nigeria could offer the Ogoni people.
When we raised the issue with the government and Shell, they responded by killing our people and leaders. They claimed we were liars until a scientific report by the United Nations proved we were actually in danger. But Nigeria and Shell continue to do nothing about the Ogoni problem.
We are in danger and the world must speak out against this injustice. The world must come to the aid of Ogoni at this critical time. She cannot remain silent in the face of this gross violations. The world must rise to protect the Ogoni and save her people.
A large number of our people are either infected with cancer, face the risk of cancer or are at the risk of a failed organ. Death is sure for all Ogonis if nothing is done now to save those who can still be saved.
Nigeria does not care and even if we all die, the government will still happily take our oil. But we must not be allowed to die and enrich Nigeria and her corrupt capitalists. We appeal to the conscience of the world to put pressure on Nigeria to allow us live. We urge men of conscience who can help at this time to do their best to save the Ogoni. Nigeria has waged an ecological war against us and if nothing is done now, we are all going to die. Nigeria has indeed won this war against the Ogoni and it is the responsibility of those of us who still live to save those who can be saved.
The Ogoni case is absolute genocide. We call it OGONICIDE. An emergency situation in need of global intervention.
Nsuke is publicity Secretary of The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP). He wrote from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria.
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