Jonathan pledges Ogoni cleanup amid secession threat

President Goodluck Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan has promised to implement a UN report recommending large scale remediation of the Ogoni environment.

Ini Ekott

President Goodluck Jonathan pledged on Monday to implement a UN report recommending large scale remediation of the Ogoni environment, in what seems an attempt to defuse weeks of clamour by Ogoni leaders for self-determination.

Mr. Jonathan’s spokesperson, Reuben Abati, said the president is committed to implementing the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report after meeting behind closed doors with Ogoni leaders.

The report, which investigated decades of environmental abuses on the oil rich area, indicted Anglo-Dutch multinational, Shell and called for a $1 billion cleanup process.

However, the recommendations have not been implemented since its submission in August 2011, despite assurances from government officials, including Mr. Jonathan, that the clean up exercise will be carried out.

Concerns over the delay have formed a plank for a recent agitation for self governance by Ogoni leaders.

Mr. Jonathan’s administration, and the Rivers state government, where the Ogonis live, have denied knowledge of the declaration saying that the agitation is an attention seeking move.

But the Ogoni self government said on Saturday that it formally informed the president of the decision to become independent, and Nigeria’s obligations to it as a free state.

The group said a “notification and consultative advisory” was sent to Mr. Jonathan August 7, nearly a month ago.

“The mandatory obligations sent to the presidency constituted notification, consultative advisory and Early Warning requiring urgent actions for peaceful resolution on specific procedures expected of President Jonathan’s administration,” the group’s leader, Goodluck Diigbo said at the group’s meeting on Saturday.

The notification to Mr. Jonathan outlines funding sources and other options to enforce the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

“Those who expected bloodshed, burning down of buildings and destabilization of strategic economic installations in Ogoni, or bombing must be very disappointed. We can’t begin to throw stone for an internal self government, when we have choice for even higher political status, if otherwise necessary,” Mr. Diigbo said.

However, a separate representation from Ogoni, comprising politicians and recognized traditional rulers, denounced the call for secession at a meeting with Mr. Jonathan on Monday.

The group, led by a senator, Magnus Abbey, and the paramount ruler of Ogoni land, Godwin Gininwa, said the reports were “misrepresentations”.

Mr. Abbey, who spoke on behalf of the group, said the Ogoni remained committed to the unity of Nigeria.

He said although they support the call for the decentralization of power to local entities to reflect true federalism, the country’s unity must be sacrosanct.

“I don’t think that it is correct to say that anybody has called for a sovereign state of Ogoni people, I think there was kind of misrepresentation in the media,” Mr. Abbey is quoted by the News Agency of Nigeria as saying.

“We stated clearly and we want to repeat clearly for the record that the Ogoni people are part of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and that we are committed to a united Nigeria and we will do our best to see that Nigeria remains a united country.”

“But, it’s important that Nigeria remains a united country that is committed to justice for all persons; and that is what the Ogoni people have always been fighting for; and that is what we are still fighting for; and that is part of what we came to discuss here with Mr. President,” the Senator said.

The Ogoni self government had earlier called for the creation of Bori State to include Ogoni and other ethnic nationalities in the South- East senatorial district of Rivers.


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  • Enemona

    President Goodluck Jonathan pledges…..
    President Goodluck Jonathan promises…..

    President Goodluck Jonathan to…..

    President Goodluck Jonathan will……

    President Goodluck Jonathan has decided to…..

    President Goodluck Jonathan plans to…..

    President Goodluck Jonathan prepares to…..

    President Goodluck Jonathan assures…..

    President Goodluck Jonathan has agreed to…..

    President Goodluck Jonathan………. ………. ……… ……..gist and gist and gist. Choi, we don tire !

    • Hickey

      You must be praying then for “President Goodluck Jonathan resigns…”

      • Enemona

        No. I’m praying for:
        President Goodluck Jonathan builds…..
        President Goodluck Jonathan achieves
        President Goodluck Jonathan constructs…..
        President Goodluck Jonathan establishes (not KPIs)…….
        President Goodluck Jonathan employs (not attack dogs)…..
        President Goodluck Jonathan improves (not the welfare of militants)……..
        President Goodluck Jonathan led…….
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  • Amos

    I would counsl less talk and more action with regard to the clean-up. No one wants it more than the people affected and no amount of words could detract from their view of what is happening to their homes now.

  • Easy-E

    @Amos, I agree, if there was more action, there would indeed be less need for words. It encapsulates the old saying “action speaks louder than words” nicely.

  • Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa

    These are the mess caused by oil companies under the evil regimes of IBB and Abacha. Jonathan will now have to clear their mess. Though the president is very happy to attend to the irresponsibilities of IBB and Abacha, he will need all our support to compel the oil multinationals to do what they should have done twenty years ago.

    • Ojukwu

      Get off! senseless moron. People like you are an unfortunate birth for a nation, fake Igbo man like you. You lack objectivity that’s why your hate-monger is over taking you in everything you say. I, for one, do not appreciate your contributions at all. In fact you make me and millions of Igbo readers sick. Please STOP this NONSENCE!

      • Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa

        first of all, Mr El Rufai u are not Igbo. So stop this fraud. Tell me one sentence i said above that is not a historical fact. Did the oil companies cleaned up the delta under IBB and Abacha?

        • Amos

          Ojukwu has always been a loose canon. He talks with the kind
          of anger I saw in mallams on bus rides in Lagos, decades ago. People were often worried about seating next to them because of their irrational outbusts which often ended up with them producing a knife. He takes
          different sides of the same argument on different days. Sometimes he makes
          sense but mostly, I am left perplexed with his take on issues affecting us. It
          is not simply a question of where he comes from, he has tried very hard to beat
          up the Yorubas into coming to venerate him, now that he knows that this is non-starter,
          he is espousing this alliance with the Hausas. Now he has the temerity to call
          people fake Igbos, it is quite possible that Ojukwu may not be an Igbo man
          afterall.

  • patriot

    The clean up should be done by all the oil companies involved in the spill or operating in the area. If the govt should be involved, the NDCC is capable of doing that , with all the millions of dollars they are receiving monthly. The Ogonis should go to them , & also the tompolos & other militants getting 40million dollars. We are our own enemies. The foreigners see the way we treat & value ourselves, and so do not see the need to treat us better.

  • Amos

    @Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa, compelling the Oil Companies to do their bit should go without saying. The people of the Creeks have been crying out for a saviour, and it is befitting to find one in GEJ, who we love and expect great things of. We cannot rest on our oars though, lest lethargy sets in. Then it would be his enemies coming up with all manner of criticism designed to make him look unresponsive, which of course we know he is not.

    • Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa

      Great point. When a real Nigerian talk u will know.

  • Ojukwu

    It is time for the Igbos and the Hausas to unite against this evil and sectional regime. The menace caused to that environment was obviously by the oil companies. Why then tasking the entire nation sheepishly out of sheer leadership inefficiency and lack of tack? Enough is Enough!

    • Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa

      u are really naive, if u are actually Igbo, which I dont believe for a moment. May be U havent heard the infamous Sheikh Gummi preach about the Igbos in Kaduna central mosque. U cant unite with people, whose first reaction to any issue is to burn down your houses and hunt down your wives and kids in the north like rats. whether it is miss world or a silly cartoon in denmark.