Association of Nigerian Scholars for Dialogue




 8 January, 1999


Urgewald e.V.
Von-Galen-Straße 4
48336 Sassenberg


His Excellency
General Abdulsalam Abubakar
Chairman of the Provisional Ruling Council and
Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces
State House, Federal Capital Territory
Abuja, Nigeria
Fax: + 234 9 5232133


Members of the European Parliament;
The President of the World Bank;
German Ministry of Foreign Affairs;
German Ministry of Cooperation

Subject: Killings and Human Rights Violations in
Oil Producing Areas of Nigeria

Your Excellency,

We, the undersigned organisations, wish to express our grave concern about the declaration of State of Emergency and the ruthless militarisation of Bayelsa State by Nigerian authorities in response to the demands for dialogue by Ijaw Youths living in the Niger Delta. We are shocked by reports of the last days that people have been killed and seriously injured by military forces while peacefully demonstrating and making use of their right to the freedom of expression.

We feel that responding with violence to the Ijaw Youths' peaceful, non-violent, and reasonable demand for dialogue is unacceptable at a time marked by efforts to establish and maintain peace, democracy and human rights worldwide, and that the reaction of the Military Administrator of Bayelsa State is in direct contradiction to the public statements by the Nigerian government to introduce democratic reforms in the country.

Citizens in Germany, the Netherlands, United Kingdom and other parts of Europe are major consumers of oil and oil products. Many therefore feel they have a responsibility to use their purchasing power to discriminate against oil production that entails Human Rights violations, environmental degradation and killings of people peacefully demanding their rights. We remember well the tragic example of Ogoniland, where the "protection" of international oil companies by the Nigerian State against its own people resulted in mass killings and the extrajuridical execution of 9 Ogoni representatives.

For the people in the Niger Delta, a change of the current devastation of their lands by Transnational Oil Companies is a matter of physical survival. We therefore urge you to stop further bloodshed in the Niger Delta and to implement the statements and promises you made to international governments, institutions like the World Bank, and the international public.

The undersigned organisations call on you to: immediately re-establish all civil rights in Bayelsa State, including the freedom of speech and the right to assembly; immediately release the detainees and provide access to medical care to those who have been wounded; withdraw all troops from Ijaw land; and enter into a genuine, peaceful dialogue with the representatives of the Ijaw and other peoples in the Niger Delta to adequately address the issues raised in the Kaiama Declaration, such as the continuing environmental devastation by oil companies, the control of resources, and true democratisation.

Your Excellency, we feel that at the dawn of the 20th century, time has come to listen to the people instead of ignoring and oppressing them. This is the time for talks, not for guns. European consumers do not want to buy oil that is mixed with the blood of the people whose homes this oil is extracted from. We therefore call on you to re-establish peace and justice in the Niger Delta.

We would appreciate to be kept informed about your actions in this matter. Awaiting your response, we remain,

Yours respectfully,

Susanne Breitkopf
Urgewald, Germany

on behalf of:

Irene Bloemink
Friends of the Earth Netherlands
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Aart van den Hoek
Oilwatch Europe
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Rietje Grit
Netherlands Commitee for IUCN
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Ben Lefetey
Les Amis de la Terre (FOE France)
Paris, France

Sharon Courtoux
Paris, France

Sarah Tyack
Friends of the Earth England, Wales
and Northern Ireland,
London, UK

Saskia Ozinga
FERN - Forest & EU Research Network
Oxford, UK

Francesco Martone
Reform the World Bank Campaign
(representing 37 Italian Development & Human Rights Organisations)
Rome, Italy

Goran Eklof
Swedish Society for Nature Conservation
Stockholm, Sweden

Ingrid Nesheim
FIVAS -Association for International Water & Forest Studies
Oslo, Norway

Peter Bossard
The Bern Declaration
Bern, Switzerland

Shantal Marijnissen
Brussels, Belgium

Lioba Rossbach-de-Olmoss
Climate Alliance, European Coordination Office
Frankfurt, Germany

Andreas Krug
BUND/Friends of the Earth Germany
Bonn, Germany

Wolfgang Mai
Bred for the World
Stuttgart, Germany

James Desai
Young Christian Students
Cologne, Germany

Rudolf Fenner
Robin Wood
Hamburg, Germany

Sieglinde Weinbrenner
FIAN- Food First Information & Action Network
Herne, Germany

Barbara Unmüßig
World Economy Environment and Development (WEED)
Bonn, Germany

Tilman Zulich
Society for Threatened Peoples International
Göttingen, Germany

Laszlo Marasz
Pro Regenwald
Munich, Germany

Thomas Mösch
AK Nigeria/Ogoni
Hamburg, Germany


The [above] letter was sent to the Nigerian Head of State, General Abdulsalam Abubakar, by 23 Environmental, Human Rights and Development organisations from Germany, The UK, The Netherlands, France, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Belgium and Italy on 8 January. Among the signatories are Bred for the World, Swedish Society for Nature Conservation and Friends of the Earth.


- Late signatures/endorsements are still welcome (send to Urgewald) - Send your own note of protest to the Nigerian Government (fax +234 9 5232133) - Copy the letters to press, your government, parliamentarians, MPs, your Executive Director at the World Bank etc. Call on them to help to end the killings and human rights abuses in the Niger Delta by sending clear signals to the Nigerian Military Government.

Last year, the UN celebrated the 50th anniversary of the "Universal Declaration of Human Rights." In his New Year´s speech, while thousands of troops were deployed in the Niger Delta to kill and arrest unarmed civilians, General Abubakar explicitly thanked the international community for their "warm responses and support".

Susanne Breitkopf
ph: 49 2583 10031
fax: 49 2583 4220

9 January, 1999

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