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Buhari, Osinbajo, Saraki Attend World Economic Forum (WEF) in Jordan

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By Manny Ita

However, the number fourth citizen, who happens to be the President Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Senate President Bukola Saraki departed Abuja on Thursday, April 4, for Amman to honour an invitation by King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein of Jordan to participate in the World Economic Forum (WEF).
Femi Adesina, the president’s special adviser on media and publicity, who made this known in a statement in Abuja on Thursday, said the WEF on the middle east and North Africa would be holding at the Dead Sea, Jordan.
It is not known whether power was transmitted to Dogara through a letter to the National Assembly by President Buhari
While, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has travelled to Rwanda, Senate President Bukola Saraki is said to away in Qatar for the International Parliamentary Union (IPU) summit.
President Buhari delivered keynote address at the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa in Amman Jordan on Saturday, April 6. Buhari spoke on security, cooperation among sovereign nations, and the digital age among many things. Buhari said that the Boko Haram insurgent group was not holding any more territory.

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Ekunrawo Visits Makoko Slum in Lagos, Extends Ramadan Kareem Gesture

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Nigerian music sensation Ekunrawo, renowned for his chart-topping hit “For My Head” featuring
Perruzi, has once again demonstrated his commitment to philanthropy and community
development.

In the spirit of Ramadan Kareem, Ekunrawo visited the Makoko slum, Africa’s largest
floating slum, located in Lagos, to extend a helping hand and spread love to the less privileged.
The visit to Makoko was part of Ekunrawo’s ongoing Show Some Love project, which aims to make a
positive impact in communities across Nigeria.

 

Accompanied by his team, Ekunrawo distributed relief materials, including food items, clothing, and essential supplies, to residents of the slum.

Speaking during the visit, Ekunrawo expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to give back to
society, especially during the Holy month of Ramadan. He emphasized the importance of showing
compassion and solidarity with those in need, noting that small acts of kindness can make a
significant difference in people’s lives.

In addition to the relief materials, Ekunrawo also donated funds to support education and
healthcare initiatives in the Makoko community. He reiterated his commitment to supporting
sustainable development projects that will improve the living conditions of residents in the slum and
empower them to build a better future.

Ekunrawo’s visit to Makoko and his generous donations have been warmly received by the
community, with residents expressing their appreciation for his kindness and support. His actions
serve as a shining example of how artists can use their platform and influence to make a positive
impact in society.

As Ramadan continues, Ekunrawo encourages everyone to show love, kindness, and generosity to
those in need, not just during the Holy month but throughout the year. His dedication to
humanitarian causes serves as an inspiration to many, reminding us all of the true spirit of Ramadan
Kareem

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Ogoni Deserves the Humane Treatment it Seeks

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By Fegalo Nsuke

The struggles of people all over the world to protect their rights and dignity have been the subject of conflicts especially when few individuals privileged to control the powers and authority of state turn these privileges into an instrument of repression and will want to surpress agitations that favour greater social freedom.

Quite often, state repression arises from the failure or inability of state actors to articulately defend their actions. The fear of a more superior idea and the desperation to cover their emptiness, many times, turn them repressive.

In Nigeria, the Ogoni people have been victims of a bitter repression. After 35 years of reckless oil mining by The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell PLC, the Ogoni people saw that the wealth of the land made no impact in their lives. This prompted an awakening spiralling into an unprecedented civil consciousness in Nigeria’s Niger Delta region and forcing Shell to shut down its Ogoni operations in mid 1993.

With a verifiable oil production capacity of 500,000 barrels a day, Nigeria lost a very conservative estimate of  $375 Billion to Shell’s exit from the Ogoni oilfields in the past 30+ years. With recent drilling technology, the production capacity is put at over 500,000 barrels per day.

Shell’s failure to respond to community concerns had  become intolerable due to accumulated environmental and economic disaster and had ignited a huge civil uprising against the company. The company’s response to the protests was to back a brutal state repression which left some 4,000 Ogonis dead including Mr Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight others that were hanged on November 10, 1995.

Today, the stench of Shell still remain profound in Ogoni but Nigeria’s unfriendly environmental laws have made it extremely difficult to seek redress for the Ogoni people. A very sad narrative is that Nigeria’s laws do not punish for crimes like that of Shell in the Ogoni area.

The good news is that despite the persecutions, killings, torture and the painful situation in which our people live, the Ogoni people still show some strong patriotism and willingness to move on with hopes for a change that will undo the wrongs of the past.

One of these expectations is the right of the Ogoni people to function within Nigeria as a distinct ethnic nationality, secured from political and economic deprivations as is currently the case. The right to be protected from the prejudices of dominant ethnic groups in Nigeria and to optimize its potentials for the good of the people.

The Ogoni people should not be left vulnerable to the exploitation of Nigeria’s dominant ethnic groups, nor should the pollution and murders of Shell be further tolerated and allowed to flourish without consequences.

The government cannot only be interested in exploiting the enormous natural endowments of the Ogoni people while they are left to grapple with the negative consequences of natural resource extraction. The pride, dignity, and future of the Ogoni people should also be secured and not be sacrificed for businesses and profits.

That is the basis we have proposed the operationalization of the Ogoni Development Authority (ODA) as an acceptable pathway to resolve the three decade oil conflicts in Ogoni. The ODA is an expression of our desire for self respect, fairness and the humane treatment we seek. A desire that doesn’t threaten any other nationality in Nigeria. In fact, our proposal is in the best interest of our country and will only conduce to greater peace and development for Nigeria.

We all need to unlock the huge natural resource potentials of Ogoni for national development and also for the benefit of the Ogoni people. We need to break the limitations which has kept these resources stranded in the ground, untapped, not benefiting anyone, while the Ogoni people walk that same grounds in difficult conditions.

These expectations require strong decisions and compromises which we must make. Going forward, that will be a right path to take.

Ogoni Must Survive.

Fegalo Nsuke is president of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP).

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The Ogoni Lessons of the Past 30 Years

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By Fegalo Nsuke

Ogoni is one of the world’s most celebrated cases of state-sponsored repression. Against all odds, the people have persevered in the search for justice, equity and basic freedoms deserving of all humanity. Indeed, it has been a painful account that in our own country, our government ordered a military crackdown that left some 4,000 people dead, thousands of others went through torture, rape, brutal detentions which were supervised by Major Paul Okuntimo, the commander of the military task force at the time.

Trouble started in 1958 when the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell, commenced commercial crude oil exploration in the area. By the 1990s, the situation in Ogoni had become unbearable as the consequences had become far devastating on the environment and the people.

A UN report released in 2011 stated that benzene contamination in underground water was 800 times more than the UN tolerant levels. Shell, the company responsible for the pollution, had compromised its standards and actually encouraged an ecological disaster in Ogoni, violating ethical business practices and global standards acceptable in the industry.

In 2017, a report by the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland found that of the 16,000 infants killed within their first month of life, 11,000 infants would have survived their first year if it weren’t for the pollution caused by the oil spills. The Ogoni people have certainly become endangered by the corporate irresponsibility of Shell. These are the very difficult conditions in which the Ogoni people live.

In 1993, the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) led a series of protests which forced Shell to exit the area. The company consciously understood that it was no longer wanted by the people. In response, the Nigerian government deployed its military against Ogoni civilians who were only protesting neglect and demanding greater attention to deal with the social problems they faced.

The military repression left some 4,000 people dead, nine of whom were hanged on November 10, 1995 –  including,  Baribor Bera, Saturday Doobee, Nordu Eawo, Daniel Gbokoo, Felix Nuate, John Kpuinen, Dr. Nubari Kiobel and Ken Saro-Wiwa.

These deep injuries ruptured the relationship of the Ogoni people with Shell and made reconciliation not worth considering. Understandably, the fact that Shell funded the repression was extremely painful and eroded every possibility of trust. MOSOP eventually decided that never in Ogoni history should Shell Petroleum be given another opportunity to unleash their ruthlessness on Ogoni.

Rather than submit to the repressive tactics of Shell, the protests intensified and In mid 1993,  Shell suspended its Ogoni operations, practically exiting the area.

The company was however not deterred. It later launched an Ogoni reentry program causing a shift in the focus of our struggle towards resisting Shell’s reentry. The success of the resistance against Shell made Ogoni celebrated and successive leaders of MOSOP were measured by how much they could sustain the resistance against the resumption of oil production.

Unfortunately, MOSOP got carried away by the euphoria of its successes against Shell’s reentry schemes which became an emerging philosophy of the struggle. Its leadership became too scared to discuss what should be done with the oil as “no to oil resumption” became the new maxim of our struggle.

On assuming office in January 2019, I began a process of reorientation. I very well understood the sensitivity of the matter but I also knew that as a leader my primary task is to solve problems and not escalate them. I needed to lead the people into attaining the development goals they sought and disabuse their minds against an absolute “no to oil resumption” which was anti-developmental.

So our initial engagement took us to every Ogoni community where we presented and discussed the proposal for the operation of an Ogoni Development Authority. We moved further to the various kingdoms and to the national executive committee of MOSOP. Finally, on the 27th day of September,  2020, the Central Committee approved the operationalization of the Ogoni Development Authority (ODA) as an acceptable pathway which when implemented will permanently resolve the Ogoni problem.

I should admit that it has not been an easy task and it is no surprise that in the history of our struggle, no president of MOSOP took the risk of calling for the resumption of oil production in Ogoni.

The Central Committee’s approval of the ODA provided an actionable framework, within the context of Nigerian laws, to pursue the Ogoni development goals which motivated and justified the launch of the Ogoni struggle.

Amongst others, the ODA primarily prescribes a fair allocation of the profits from natural resource extraction in Ogoni to be set aside for Ogoni development. This guarantees that the Ogoni people can solve critical social problems like job creation, water provision, electricity, road construction, education, healthcare services, security, and more.

The ODA is a win-win for all parties, namely the Nigerian government, the Ogoni people and the oil industry as it will unlock a proven daily oil production capacity of 500,000 barrels into the Nigerian economy. Estimated at $40 Million per day, that will increase government funding and guarantee a sustainable flow of funds into the development of Ogoni.

This is the path we have chosen. We are convinced that it is in the best interest of all parties to embrace this initiative as an acceptable path to a permanent resolution of this very costly three decade conflict. We are committed to it, we will vehemently defend it because It is our life and our hope to rescue Ogoni from the strangulating pains of the past.

I urge all parties to demonstrate their commitment to peace by accepting this modest proposal. The successes we have made in pushing community acceptance for this development initiative is an opportunity we must all take..

Ogoni Must Survive!

Written by Fegalo Nsuke,

President of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP).

February 24, 2024

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