The president of the National Union of
Ogoni Students in the United States is calling on the international community
to intervene in the crisis in the Niger Delta region. The Ogoni ethnic
group of approximately half a million people lives in Ogoniland, in Nigeria's volatile Niger Delta region.
The threat to their well-being began in the 1950s when Shell discovered
oil in their region. Their plight burst onto the
international scene in 1995 when Ogoni activist and internationally renowned
author Ken Saro-Wiwa was executed along with eight others by the Nigerian
military regime of General Sani Abacha.
In a message to mark Ogoni Day January fourth, Kornebari
Nwike told VOA the international community cannot remain
indifferent to the plight of the Ogoni people.
cannot allow the crisis to generate into a war before the world steps in. So on
this day, I’m calling and appealing to the United Nations and other world
bodies to intervene in the crisis in the Niger Delta, and especially I’m
calling on the United Nations, Britain, United States, and Canada to compel
Nigeria to create an Ogoni state because the crisis in Ogoni is not just an
Ogoni crisis. The crisis in Ogoni involves oil and other natural resources
which benefit other nations of the world,” he said.
said an Ogoni state is key to solving all the problems in Nigeria’s volatile
Niger Delta region
Ogoni people have been suffering for so long, and they have been calling since
1908 to have a voice of their own, to be able to develop their own educational
system, to be able to develop their own culture because right now, different
cultures are being imposed on the Ogoni people. We want to get an Ogoni state
so that we will revive our dying languages,” Nwike said.
said the Ogoni people were disappointed in their representatives in the federal
parliament for their failure to support the call for the establishment of an
was a poll in Nigeria conducted by the federal radio corporation, and 70
percent of the people said yes these people deserve a state. But our
politicians because they are serving their masters decided not to heed the call
of the Ogoni people,” he said.
said it would not be fair for the federal government to deny Ogonis the right
to have their own state because of oil.
Kogi State could exist, Kogi State that doesn’t have what Ogoni has, Ogoni
could exist. I think what we are fighting for is the interest of Nigeria
because if Ogoni is created out of the Niger Delta area, there could be a
negotiation and oil could be tapped from Ogoniland and percentages could be
paid to the federal government depending on the agreement,” he said.
said the Ogoni people reject all forms of violence in the Niger Delta region.
is a non-violent agitation, and we respect the law and we expect the Nigerian
government to respect the law too. We have called on our people to shun
violence; they should not embrace violence, and you can see these number years
our people had been law-abiding. They have not taken up arms against the
Nigerian government, which is very important,” Nwike said.