UNEP Ogoni Report: A Time Bomb for Nigeria
The eventual gridlock encountered by the UNEP Ogoni Environmental Assessment Report, was not a new breaking ground by the Nigerian government, it was a trick laid down in Port Harcourt. The moment public participation was excluded in Port Harcourt, it was certain that the UNEP due proces has been violated and the outcome put in jeopardy. The same Magnus Abe that frustrated the process has come back to accuse the federal government of excluding the Ogoni people that he had excluded in the first place. This is not a small issue. The Ogoni case touches on the foundation of international trade, which is a matter that should serve mutual interest. It is therefore not be the business of the Ogoni people alone.
The disputed UNEP report says it will require 25 -30 years to restore the devastated lands in Ogoni. The oil produced in Ogoni has always been consumed in the north-east of the United States of America, thus, the Ogoni environment is certainly an issue for the United States of America. The EU-US economic blocs recently told the Nigerian government to clean-up Ogoni, still, jumping the due process that requires mandatory joint review that should involve the polluters and victims. Continual exclusion of victims sends out the wrong message, and those other communities still waiting for their own turn are watching. The delay in the multi-stake holders’ joint review is dangerous.This is my reaction to the interview with Magnus Abe – described as a fresh senator in the story written by Sam Akpe. I delayed my response, hoping Abe would retract some of his irresponsible utterances as exhibited in the Nigerian Daily Independent online report of December 18, 2011. His interview touches on many issues, but I address two areas:
1. The United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) environmental assessment report on Ogoni, and
2. The issue of gays and lesbians in United States of America / West.
UNEP Ogoni Report
Magnus Abe said: “I am happy with President Jonathan for even receiving the report. I mean, it was possible for the President not to receive the report and it would not have even been an issue.” This is Abe’s insensitivity to tragedy in Ogoni. One can see arrogance and childishness in his tone. Abe and his friend Rotimi Amaechi had short-changed the UNEP due process abusing the power of the office of the governor in Port Harcourt. The confusion over the report in Abuja is consequent upon the exclusion of public participation (Ogonis) in Port Harcourt at the time the study was purportedly carried out.
It is only when the mandatory multi-stakeholders’ joint review by the Nigerian Government, Royal Dutch/Shell, Chevron and MOSOP is carried out in line with “post-conflict resolution mechanisms” and “reconciliation procedure” and if, done satisfactorily; then, the report can be implemented. A one-sided review by the federal government will only compound the confusion for the federal government and the neglect of a proper clean-up can become a time-bomb for Nigeria. Other oil bearing communities must be puzzled by what is happening to the Ogoni people, but in Nigeria, the Ogoni people are used to beginning a fight that others must follow. To set the right precedent with the UNEP Ogoni report can become a stitch in time.
Abe’s demand for Ogoni representation on the federal government review panel is dishonest, because Amaechi and Abe had excluded the Ogoni people at the most critical stage. Abe’s views do not represent the views of Ogoni. Abe has never represented Ogoni interest before, and does not speak for Ogoni on the UNEP Ogoni report.
The Movement for Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) has concluded its own review of the UNEP Ogoni report and MOSOP did not include the federal government on its review panel of experts. Nothing that is happening surprises me, because I predicted it in my letters to the government of Nigeria and the United Nations in 2009. The first fake UNEP Ogoni report released in Geneva, Switzerland in 2010, by Mike Cowing and supported by Abe and Amaechi could have faced the same integrity question, if it was not promptly rejected by UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya.
U.S. Gays and Lesbians
Abe said: “First of all, the fact that the gay-loving West would react was known to all of us...We have not gone to America or Germany...Anybody who does not want to give us something because we say men should not marry men should forget it.” I think it is alright to debate it. Sexual orientation is a very contentious issue, but not a matter for haughty talks as in Abe’s thoughtless “forget us” reaction: Abe’s disposition sets “unwanted fires” in a shrinking world; a small village, where interdependence is a fact of life. Of course, there are threats in all ramifications, but also opportunities. The upper house is different in a democracy, but to be dismissive of a leading trading partner of Nigeria is myopic, and clearly, a lack of maturity of temperament in the engagement of diplomatic controversy. The Nigerian Senate must be concerned; with attitudes like that of Abe that create problems outside the chamber, whereas, what is required is thoughtful and convincing debate in the chamber to reach a resolution.
Dr. Goodluck Diigbo is the MOSOP President / Spokesman