Association of Nigerian Scholars for Dialogue
|OPINIONS AND ANALYSES|
NIGER DELTA AND ONDO
The meeting concluded that, though the Niger Delta is of immense strategic importance to Nigeria, it is essentially and most importantly the home of millions of people. And these exist in a complex combination of ethnic groups and a delicate ecosystem.
The meeting expressed its awareness of the past and continuing
of the irresponsible exploitation of the Niger Delta area, its
and its virtual abandonment, such as in Ogoni, to the ravages of
and rampaging corrupt and violent administrations. Partly as a
of abuse, manipulation and wastage of resources and damage to the
collapsed economic and social structures and the absence of proper political voice, ethnic rivalries have become a sad but familiar occurrence.
The meeting operating on the theme of e DIALOGUE AND JUSTICE noted the various conventions which have taken place on the subject of the Niger Delta and agreed on the following positions:
1. Cessation of military action in Bayelsa State of the Niger Delta, a competent examination of factors that have led to the crisis, and compensation for its victims.
2. Recognition of the rights of cultural celebrations and of peaceful protest.
3. Condemnation of the use of violence by ethnic groups on each other. Our people also were implored to resist being used to perpetrate violent and destabilising activities on their neighbours.
4. Resorting to violence and killings to impose claims against neighbours has not only triggered flight and untold suffering and dismantled communities but people have also been dispossessed. The continuing inter-ethnic violence between Ijaws and Itsekiris, Ijaws and Ilajes has created an escalating refugee problem in the Warrri and Ilaje areas. Those who have been displaced or dispossessed must be allowed to return and live without fear in their communities. Water ways in the Ilaje and Warri areas should be reopened, and normalcy restored to the areas with an immediate programme of rehabilitation for the communities.
5. The military authorities must take responsibility for the festering fatal discord and disasters in the Delta and Ondo States. The victims must also be compensated.
6. All other less publicised conflicts within our communities should be brought to general attention so that they can be positively resolved.
7. Support for progressive declarations which do not disadvantage other ethnic groups.
8. Encouraging all the ethnic groups to engage actively in the practice of peaceful coexistence as a priority with the establishment of contacts with other Niger Delta groups to aid this process.
9. Now that the assumption of a normal country has been firmly disproved by a variety of events, the meeting recommended that a conference of credible representatives of all the ethnic nationalities must take place. This will be to determine, as equals, what sort of a country Nigeria should be and the role of each nationality within it.
10. Repealing of all decrees and laws which have been introduced to deny our people their legitimate rights and the introduction of a popularly derived Bill of Rights and Constitution.
11. Control of resources by communities from where these originate with agreed contributions to a federal pool and the allocation of revenue based on the principle of derivation.
12. Devising a restoration programme for the areas which have suffered from damage as result of oil exploration activities. Compensation must be paid to the communities who have been blighted by the industry. Furthermore development programmes for sustainable existence must be introduced.
13. Observation of internationally verified and comparable rules and methods of operations for multi-nationals and other companies.
14. Encouragement of a democratic culture and responsible economic management for a stable society.
The meeting dedicated itself to continue to encouraging dialogue
and to strive for justice for all.
Akwa Ibom Community - Ita Akpan
Efik community - Alex Etim
Eket community - Koko Antigha
Ibibios-Mboho Akwa Ibom - E. Ekong
Ikwerre Development Association - Mike Wuche
Ijaw Peoples Association
Ijaw community (Bayelsa ) - Pastor P. Opomu
Ijaw community (Delta ) - Chief W.I. Okuboh
Ijaw Gbarain community - Tari Kongha
The Ilaje Welfare Association - Johnson Ogunyemi
Isoko Community Development Union - Duke Oboh
Ogoni / MOSOP - Harrison Neenwi
Urhobo Progress Union - Richard Ekaragha
Kenny Ebuwe - Ijaw
Godwin Eweka - Edo
Ebun Idundun - Itsekiri
Charles Phido - Ogoni
Promise Unwene - Ibibio
Eno Usua - Ibibio
This meeting was co-ordinated by:
SOUTHERN MINORITIES MOVEMENT FOR ADVANCEMENT (SOMIMA)
P.O. Box 21662,
London SW16 5WF, U.K.
Tel./Fax: (44) 181 516 9074