African Press Association

Polluted Ogoni panics ahead of troops deployment

From EMEKA OKONKWO in Abuja, Nigeria
ABUJA, (CAJ News) – THE Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) is worried the deployment of soldiers in the region, purportedly to thwart illegal activities, would result in bloodbath.
The move has also been denounced as a ploy to intimidate the opposition ahead of the general elections to be held in two years.
Coordinator of government’s Hydrocarbon Pollution Restoration Project (HYPREP), Marvin Dekil, recently told the United States Ambassador to Nigeria of a plan to deploy soldiers to Ogoniland to stop the re-pollution of the area through illegal refining of crude oil.
“But I have reasons to doubt Dekil’s sincerity and strongly believe that the planned deployment of soldiers to Ogoniland should have nothing to do with environmental threats from illegal refiners,” said Fegalo Nsuke, spokesperson of MOSOP.
Nsuke alleged Dekil’s real motive of contemplating the invitation of soldiers into Ogoniland was suspicious given the fact the HYPREP coordinator knew the illegal refiners and had personally engaged them.
“Dr Dekil and the illegal refiners had earlier met and reached a truce on stoppage of illegal refining. Why then should soldiers be invited to deal with people who are so well known to the project coordinator?” Nsuke asked.
“Why invite soldiers to come and terrorize Ogoniland when you know those causing the trouble and you are so close to them to the extent that you can hold meetings with them. Shouldn’t the police and our courts be able to deal with people like this who are so well known to us?”
In February 2016, prior to the re-run of parliamentary elections, soldiers deployed in Ogoniland allegedly killed over 30 people.
“Now, as politicians step up preparations for the 2019 general elections,Dr Dekil plans to invite soldiers to Ogoniland again,” Nsuke lamented.
The area is an opposition People’s Democratic Party stronghold.
Ogoniland, southeast of Nigeria, has suffered years of pollution due to oil extraction.
CAJ News

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