Concerns in Nigeria’s Oil Region over Ogoni Splinter Group’s Menace

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The Niger Delta Civil Society Coalition (NDCSC) is currently most concerned about the unending ‘’reckless statements’’, credited to a splinter group of the Movement for the Survival of  the Ogoni People (MOSOP).

Chairman of the coalition, Anyakwee Nsirimovu, in an e-mail this Tuesday to this reporter said the alleged ‘’reckless statements’’ areaimed at obfuscating  the gains of  the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP), and indeed, the integrity of the membership of its policy making organs, the Governing Council and Board of Trustees; with a view to blackmailing it.

Nsirimovu spoke as a faction of MOSOP on Monday described the response of the Federal Ministry of Environment to the Ogoni clean up contract scam as ‘’unfortunate and ridiculous’’. MOSOP’s factional President, Fegalo Nsuke, gave the verdict in a statement issued in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.

According to Nsuke, ‘’the response of the ministry to the contract fraud in HYPREP is shameful, ridiculous and a huge burden on the anti-corruption campaign of President Muhammadu Buhari. The ministry of environment should be ashamed to tell us that the only reason it awarded Ogoni clean-up contracts to farmers and livestock breeders is that they signed affiliation agreements with perceived cleanup companies.

’It follows that HYPREP’s only condition for winning the contracts was for anyone to sign a contract of partnership with some firm that is perceived to be competent’’, noting that the ministry’s position is tantamount to an election contestant who uses someone else’s certificate to scale through screening emphasizing that HYPREPs handling of the cleanup contracts amounted to fraud and violated even the rules set by HYPREP as advertised in several media.

The Ogoni splinter group re-iterated earlier position that HYPREP was stinking in corruption and the award of cleanup contracts lacked integrity and did not follow due process, and called on President Buhari to immediately dissolve the Governing Council of HYPREP to allow an independent investigation into the contract scam.

Nsuke said in a statement by Dcn. Monday Ziinu, a factional General Secretary of MOSOP that leaving the governing structures of HYPREP in place while investigations commence into the alleged fraudulent contracts will erode public confidence in the process and jeopardize the integrity of the investigation.

In the mean time, the coalition is arguing that if  the Ogoni splinter group is not urgently checked, they could jeopardize  the entire UNEP Clean Up Process.

According to the Niger Delta Civil Society Coalition, the MOSOP faction ‘’has not risen beyond senseless casting of aspersions on the persons and integrity of the HYPREP Governing Council. It is noteworthy that the make-up of the Governing Council and Board of Trustees of HYPREP, is made up responsible men and women from beyond Ogoni Kingdom. The Policy making organ of HYPREP is made up of the Minister of the Environment as Chair, Ministers of the Niger Delta Affairs, Petroleum and Natural Resources, Budget, Finance, and National Security Adviser, Managing Director of the NDDC, Managing Director of Shell representing the Oil Majors, representatives of Civil Society and Women groups across the region, MOSOP President, Ogoni Traditional Rulers, Professionals and Community Leaders, and UNEP representatives, etc.  

‘’For the avoidance of any shadow of doubt, the  struggle for survival for HYPREP and its Governing Council, is still about an ecological, rather political  one. It is about the subject of slow genocide, that must be fundamentally cleaned out and the environment returned to its original status.

‘’NDCSC is thoroughly bothered by the latest Splinter group statement alleging corruption,  without offering any credible  line  of evidence.  This group by all means is entitled to deal with its problems and difficulties as it wishes, but without unnecessarily dragging the  the Governing Council  of HYPREP to the mud, for no cogent and verifiable reasons. The regularity of its baseless accusations, politics of fear, is  capable of subverting effective decision-making  and possibly imperilling HYPREP,  degrade our democracy, therefore  can no longer be ignored. Time to end the age long lack of trust between actors in the kingdom, communal tensions, autocratic leadership is now. 

‘’As Edmund Burke wrote in England twenty years before the American Revolution, “No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear,” Fear, if under the right circumstances,  can trigger the temptation to surrender freedom to a demagogue promising strength and security in return.

‘’We are worried that when fear displaces reason, the result is often irrational hatred and division. As Justice Louise D. Brandeis later wrote: ‘Men feared witches and burnt women.’ We are not oblivious of the fact that Implementation of the UNEP process was moribund for eleven bad years, under the leadership of those  who are today hell  bent on burying its copious implementation presently.

‘’it is most unfortunate that the characters who wish to emasculate  the implementation of the  UNEP Ogoni Clean Up process,  are the same ones who saw no good thing about Ken Sara Wiwa and what he stood for; men and women who felt they lost the leadership of HYPREP, therefore decided upon an illicit fight-back; opportunistic men who had immense chance over time to lift the peoples of Ogoni from grass to grace, but preferred patronage, abuse, undemocratic practices, divide and rule tactics; men who have lost their bearings and cannot pass any measure of integrity test, and all reputation lost; men who attempted and could not meet the basic criteria of formal application to qualify for stringent requirements for contract awards under the HYPREP Clean Up process; the minority enemies of Ogoni, political jobbers  peddling rumours and planting most destructive information to decimate their own Kingdom, and return it to a devastated, polluted environment- slow genocide status, without hope.

‘’NDCSC insists that the Governing Council and Board of Trustees, has strictly followed the path of transparency and accountability since its inauguration by President Buhari in directing the affairs of HYPREP. The inconveniencing truth is that the policy makers of HYPREP has followed   due process   tacitly, making it  impossible for the old policy of  “divide and share” of what belongs to all, to be shared by few Oligarchs.   

‘’Otherwise, the Splinter group and its cohorts  should clearly with evidence point direct fingers to individuals  that it claims have engaged in corrupt activities under the Governing Council of HYPREP, beyond thier illicit intension to hijack and ruin HYPREP. They are so challenged.

NDCSC strongly believe that the way must be left open for all men and women, wise and fools, to record, fearlessly their opinions so that men and women can seek the truth, as it concerns them. 

‘’That way must be left open for all men and women, wise  and fools to record, fearlessly, their opinion about the proper ordering of our relationship with society. But what is fraudulent and unacceptable is when men and women engage in deliberate attempt to destroy what is good for the generality of their peoples, simply because they may not be the ones on the driving wheel, or sheer greed of what they illicit can get, but unable to grab. Hate deliveries are not only most irresponsible but utterly  despicable.

‘’NDCSC for the untempt time, with due respect, urge all Ogoni peoples and others from the offensively polluted area, to take advantage of the UNEP Report and wholly support the processes of the Clean Up in the interest of especially the  voiceless.  The best interest of all will be best served.

‘’Internal squabbles that could send wrong signals and short change further needed global technical, material and financial support to HYPREP must end.  Late Ken Saro-Wiwa’s ’s idea has succeeded him in time, inspite of the unparralled pain sustained. Those behind him should use their talents to enable Ogoni peoples confront their tormentors and environmental spoliation.  Ken did not do it as a blackmailer, betrayer, autocrat,  patronage master, sectional warlord, politician or businessman, but his writing did it.’’

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