Uhuru-Spirit News


December 11, 2013 | UhuruSpirit

National Coordinator of Ogoni Solidarity Forum, Mr. Celestine Akpobari

IT was protest galore in Rivers State on Tuesday as three different groups took to the streets to protest against the federal and the state governments.

The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People and the Ogoni Solidarity Movement expressed their grievance over the delay in the implementation of the United Nations Environment Programme report.

On its part, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria demonstrated against the Federal Government on the planned sale of Port Harcourt Refinery.

Also, members of the Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria, Rivers State chapter, took to the streets in protest against their alleged exclusion from the state’s annual festival known as CARNIRIV.

Thousands of Ogoni people had taken over the entire Eleme axis of the East-West Road as early as 7am over the non-implementation of the UNEP report in Ogoniland.

The protesters, who were members of MOSOP and the OSF, were mostly youths and women. They said they decided to block the East-West Road because of the Federal Government silence on the UNEP report.

One of the protesters, who identified himself as John Tombari, explained that the 90-day ultimatum given to the Federal Government to begin the implementation of the UNEP recommendations had expired.

Tombari said the people of Ogoni would continue to protest if the government continued to delay the commencement of the clean-up of Ogoniland.

“We have waited for the Federal Government to begin the clean-up of Ogoniland as recommended by UNEP since 2011 and we went ahead to issue a 90-day ultimatum, which has already expired.

“Now, our next action will be to continue to stage such protest until the Federal Government decides to do the right thing by implementing the UNEP report,” Tombari added.

Economic activities were disrupted for many hours as motorists were held up in a traffic jam until security operatives came to disperse the protesters with gunshot into the air.

Some motorists and pedestrians ran into the bush and nearby buildings when they heard the deafening sound of gunshots.

Also, the National Coordinator of Ogoni Solidarity Forum, Mr. Celestine Akpobari, described the protest as successful.

“The protest was successful. It went the way we planned it. The aim was to compel FG to implement the UNEP through this non-violent protest.

Meanwhile, PENGASSAN in Rivers State in a joint protest with National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers Association of Nigeria, urged the Federal Government to begin the turnaround maintenance of the Port Harcourt Refinery without delay.

PENGASSAN State Chairman, Mr. Fidelis Ighodaye, who led the peaceful demonstration against the proposed sale of Port Harcourt Refinery in Eleme, said that the routine maintenance of the facility had made it possible for it (refinery) to work up to 60 per cent capacity and generate employment.

Also, members of PMAN protested against an alleged marginalisation of the group by the Director-General of the Rivers State Tourism Development Agency, Mr. Sam Dede.

The State PMAN Chairman, Ibitoru Green, told journalists in Port Harcourt that the association was calling for fairness and equity, maintaining that the group should be carried along in the scheme of things. - Punch

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