Ogoni Forms Pararell Government.

The Ogoni ethnic
group in Rivers
State, which was
in the news in the
1990s when their
leaders’ search for
autonomy within
Nigeria led to
massive violence and death of their
sons, especially Ken Saro through
hanging, and global stir, have again
taken another decisive step by setting
up a parallel government and
followed this up by a court system.
Their leaders have appointed
lawmakers to populate a parliament
that would make laws for the people
and last weekend announced the
setting up of a court system to begin
to dispense justice without much
delay.
The steps toward full autonomy are
being pushed by one of the diehards
of the late Wiwa, Goodluck Diigbo,
who headed the then dreaded youth
wing of the Movement for the
Survival of the Ogoni People
(MOSOP), and who fled the country
when the army staged a clampdown
that led to death and hanging of
those known today as the Ogoni
martyrs.
MOSOP has two factions today, one
led by Ledum Mitee (Wiwa’s legal
adviser) who has handed over to a
caretaker committee and another by
Diigbo, who has been giving the
main faction a fight for years,
claiming authenticity. The
conservatives seem to prefer the
Mitee faction which seeks to win with
persuasion and legal battles, but
faces suspicion of compromise, while
most youths and action-hungry
others seem to file Diigbo who may
be in a hurry to actualise the dreams
of the martyrs which is to achieve
autonomy fast.
On Tuesday, November 29, 2011,
Diigbo MOSOP announced the
setting up of structure of government
which he said would be the only
organ to relate with other
nationalities and agencies of other
governments. He called it the Ogoni
Native Authority where 3000 villagers
were sworn-in “to provide grassroots
leadership to enforce the United
Nations Universal Declaration on
Rights of Indigenous Peoples
(UNDRIP).”
Diigbo was quoted in a statement
endorsed by the secretary-general,
Dum Ade John Budam, that by that
action, that “the ordinary Ogoni
peasants often despised and
exploited had taken over local
governance from the corrupt
Nigerian local government system. It
will confirm that no sacrifice for
freedom is ever in vain.” The
lawmakers were to report to a central
government known as “The Ogoni
Central Indigenous Authority (OCIA)
which represents a big pro-active
investment to address petroleum-
related conflicts that threaten
international peace from within
Nigeria, and other acts of aggression
directed at the non-violent Ogoni
people by Nigerian rulers.”
He said he was taking his people
back to 1948 structure which existed
before Nigeria 1960 Independence
Constitution. He also said all oil
royalties and compensations would
be collected by his dream
government.
As Nigeria kept quiet, the factional
MOSOP launched a new step recently
by creating a court system in a three-
tier system, comprising the village
level, district and central (appellate
level, OCIA).
A statement by Tambari Deekor,
MOSOP Media Associate editor, said,
“The court is to improve the effective
administration of justice for nearly 96
percent of the Ogoni population who
suffer in silence without access to the
justice at the grassroots.”
The statement said Diigbo was
addressing ‘newly elected Ogoni
lawmakers’ and that the ‘council’ is to
review and produce comprehensive
customary court laws indigenous to
Ogoni, and that the ‘Ogoni authority’
will collaborate with the national
government and relevant
international institutions and NGOs
to standardise the work of the
council.
The steps and pace of the Diigbo
MOSOP seems to alarm some Ogoni
leaders and the main MOSOP faction.
A group known as the Ogoni Patriots
has since petitioned the Inspector
General of Police on what it called
“the criminal activities of self-style
president of the Movement for the
Survival of the Ogoni People
(MOSOP).”
The group alleged that “Diigbo has a
training camp for youths engaging in
kidnapping, armed robbery and
killing.” According to the group, a
recent raid by the chairman of Khana
Local Government Council, Gregory
Barileedum Nwiedam, in conjunction
with security agents exposed the
situation because several youths
armed with dangerous weapons
were picked up from his training
camp in Teeyor-Kaani.
“The arrested youths have given
useful information to the police as
well as mentioning the source of
their arms and ammunition,” the
statement further alleged.
There is apprehension in the once
volatile area which has over 500,000
indigenes in four local council areas
as to what next may happen and
over a likely confrontation with the
government of Nigeria as this
autonomy quest progressed.

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