Written by Kayode Ogundamisi, the Liberty Forum
Peace Not War! We Need Not Another Darfur In Nigeria.
We call on Great Britain. We call on people of the British Isles and the children of great men and women that make Europe what it is to day: a land of freedom and opportunities We call on women and men of goodwill, students, workers and the business class, we call on armed and defenseless people alike, royals and commons, Lords and honorable, to prevail on the Nigerian President Umoru Yar Adua, whose election into office as Nigerian president was roundly condemned by the European Union, EU-having been characterized by rigging, stealing of ballot papers by soldiers, deployed unto the streets and corners of Nigeria, and who killed and maimed voters- to stop fooling the government of Britain on the real situation in the Niger-Delta, Nigeria’s oil hub, which has now been highly militarized first by the Nigerian federal government, and now by militant freedom fighters who largely represent the indigenous communities in the region.
Yar Adua, a Fulani, whose grand parents led the 1804 Jihad against the black-skinned African population, represents the interest of the feudal and Muslim North, and have ruled and manipulated Nigeria to their wish and caprices since the Islamic revolution, which seek to continuously put Nigeria in the pocket of this few class.
Oil, which is the main source of revenue in Nigeria, is found in the Niger-Delta, home to indigenous population. These communities, due to large-scale corruption, looting of the public treasury by the leadership at the centre remain largely underdeveloped.
The poorest of the poor live in these communities, their culture undermined, their heritage submerged, their hope dashed, their future traumatized and their children without any future.
Soldiers of Northern origin are posted to these territories, and as expected, they rape the people, as it was in the case of Choba a rural indigenous Nigerian Village (1999), kill them and instill fear on them.
The Yar Adua government is similar in character to Omar Bashir’s regime in Sudan, he wants to wipe out the indigenous population, and he cannot do it without help from a super power like Britain.
The late Ken Saro Wiwa, remember him, renewed the campaign for environmental and political justice in the Niger-Delta, but in 1995, he, alongside eight others were hanged and acid was poured on their bodies by the Nigerian state.
A democratic regime which came in 1999 was thought would address the problems of the Niger-Delta, but the Nigerian state did not change in character and form. Instead, it became more vicious and bizarre, all in the bid to continuously subjugate and muzzle the ethnic minorities in these territories. In 1999, Yar Adua’s party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP then led by President Olusegun Obasanjo sent 10,000 soldiers to Odi, an Ijaw community of 20,000 people. After 72 hours of military action, the only building remaining in Odi was a post office. 1,200 people were killed and hundreds were missing. What more is a genocide than the maiming of women, children and the unarmed and today the perpetuator of that act, General Olusegun Obasonjo roam the streets of Yaradua Nigeria, neither facing trial for corruption or war crimes.
Today the Niger-Delta people, having waited in vain for justice since 1959 when oil was discovered in their homeland, have taken up arms against the Nigerian state. This is against the background of age long outrage among largely Christian Southern Nigeria communities, that they are tired of living in Nigeria, a country ruled by a small fundamentalist group, a country that offers no hope for her citizens, a country that destroys the best of human values and a country whose citizens have been made to become a huge burden on the international community, considering the large number of exiles, some of who have taken up professional jobs in Europe and America and many of whom have taken into drugs, prostitution in Italy and cyber crimes.
Nigeria is an artificial creation, put together, without the consent of the communities, in 1914, following the sharing of Africa into spheres of influence in 1885 at the Berlin Conference. Now, the Yar Adua tribe are on top, and they do manage, at all times, to install their stooges in each of the 36 states of the country, whereas non of the states enjoy the benefit of federalism, which each of them heavily dependent on the centre in all areas including the registration of vehicles, control of ports, police and even as little as the right to create and run counties and the right to chose their political leaders, which must be screened and approved by the centre government.
Apart from the Niger-Delta, the Yoruba and Ibos of the South and the minorities of the middle-belt in the North are asking for self-determination up to the point of opting out of Nigeria. Many of these communities having watched several recommendations chuck by the government into the thrash bin, have decided to take up arms against the Nigerian state.
Britain was aware of this serious problem in Nigeria. In 1957, shortly before Nigeria got independence in 1960, Brittan set up the Willinks Commission, which recommended that revenue be shared 100 percent on the basis of derivation. Today, only 13 percent has been approved and just as recent as in 1999, for the oil producing communities. On top of all this is the fact that a credible election in unlikely in Nigeria under her present structure. This is the gist of this whole problem in the Niger-Delta and in Nigeria.
Another peace summit, the third in 12 years is in the offing, but expectedly, nothing is likely to come out of it, because while the summit is in top gear, Yar Adua is shopping for arms in Britain and has heavily militarized the region since the past 10 years.
A peace summit, even if to be chaired by Britain is what is needed. We need no longer another Iraq in Nigeria. We need no weapons that will be used by an illegitimate political class against the ordinary people of Nigeria.
Self-determination is the substance and the United Nations recognizes this demand under article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Help save Nigeria from war, help save Britain from being fed with lies and propaganda by one of the worst set of leaders in Africa.
As British Nigerians and Nigerians Resident in the United Kingdom with Stakes in Both Countries we demand as follows.
• Prime Minister Gordon brown should withdraw his offer for military assistance to the Nigerian government.
• That the British government should commence investigation into the private accounts of past and current Nigerian public office holders with a view to recover stolen money and return same to the people of Nigeria.
• The Nigerian government should stop the continued militarization of the Niger Delta region.
• The Nigerian police should be adequately equipped to deal with law and order issue in the Niger Delta.
• That only a genuine restoration of the rights of the Niger delta people and all oppressed people in Nigeria will bring peace to Nigeria.
• That if the labor led government of Prime Minister Gordon Brown is in any way seen to join the Nigerian government in committing acts of genocide in the Niger Delta, the Liberty Forum and its affiliate organization shall commence immediate campaigns against the Labour Party in the afro-Caribbean communities in the United-Kingdom.
Convener: The Liberty Forum-UNITED-KINGDOM