By Akanimo Sampson
The worrisome plight of the Ogoni people of Nigeria’s Rivers State is currently a matter of serious concern in Europe as the leaders of the minority group are playing up their allegation of ethnic cleansing against the Nigerian government.
At the moment, a factional President of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People(MOSOP), Legborsi Saro Pyagbara, is in Brussels, Belgium, where he is holding meeting with the leadership of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisations(UNPO), diplomats at the European Commission and non-governmental organisations, pressing for indigenous and minority peoples’ rights.
MOSOP Acting Publicity Secretary, Sunny Zorvah, in an online statement to this reporter said Pyagbara had earlier held a meeting with the Secretary-General of UNPO, Ralph Bunche, at the UNPO secretariat.
At the meeting, the MOSOP factional president, according to the statement, handed over to the UNPO scribe the MOSOP petition to President Muhammadu Buhari, over the ‘’controversial transfer of operatorship of OML 11, without due consultation with Ogoni people, including the recent killing of Dr. Ferry Gberegbe, a chieftain of MOSOP’’.
MOSOP is calling on UNPO to help and collaborate with the Ogoni people to raise their issue internationally, particularly now that the government allegedly wants to ‘’forcefully re-enter the area without addressing the basic issues involved in the Ogoni struggle’’.
The oil-polluted Ogoni people are charging UNPO to lead on the campaign in Europe and beyond, especially now that their secretariat is located in the headquarters of the European Parliament and the European Commission.
Responding, the UNPO scribe, Ralph Bunche, according to the statement, said the Ogoni people are a strategic partner of the UNPO, promising that they will do all in their powers to ensure that the attention of the world is drawn to this emerging conflict on the attempt for resumption of oil operations in the Ogoni area by the government.
He assured that UNPO will mobilise international support for the position of the Ogoni people until the government responds positively.
He charged the Ogoni people to remain resilient, dogged and united for the cause of justice.
In a related development, Pyagbara, also met with a group of environmental rights groups based in Brussels, where he briefed them about the Ogoni situation and solicited their support.
He maintained that the Ogoni case was first and foremost an environmental struggle for the redemption of their despoiled environment.
Meanwhile, he is calling on environmental rights advocacy groups to offer their supports to the Ogoni people, insisting that Ogoni people need them now than ever before.