A United States-based non-governmental organisation, The Ogoni Rights Advocates International, has vowed to resist the federal government’s plan to build a prison and cemetery in Ogoniland, instead of the prompt cleanup and massive development the area demands.
The group, in a statement made available to The Guardian, yesterday, described the plan as insensitive to the systematic oppression the Ogoni has faced and endured over the years.
The statement signed by its Coordinator, Michael Akoka, alleged that the project, reportedly being planned by the Ministry of Interior, would include the confiscation of an area of land spanning over 41 hectares in Bori, headquarters of Khana Council of Rivers State.
The group said it was already mobilising local and international pressure to resist the plan and appealled to Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike to intervene quickly and cause government to shelve the project.
The statement said: “For many years, our stand as Ogoni people has never shifted. We want a total clean up of our land. We want to take our destiny in our hands and use the resources God put in our land and the ingenuity of our people to develop our area.
“Our leaders have struggled and many have died as a result. We are prepared to continue with this struggle, as long as the government of Nigeria continues to mock our aspirations and desires to develop our land and to bring it out of unthinkable poverty, disease and want in the midst of potential and mindboggling wealth and prosperity the resources in our land can provide.
“We cannot think of anything or fathom the reason for this plan than the continued subjugation of Ogoni people and make them watch from the glass ceiling, while the spoils of their land are shared and used to develop other areas and their people live and die in penury.
“If that is the case and the plan is to build a prison and cemetery big enough to clamp down or bury those who will resist the commencement of the exploitation of our resources without first cleaning up the land and providing the template for the massive development of our land, then the federal government and its agencies must be prepared for our resistance.”
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