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Ogoni communities protest, urge FG to rebuild their land

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Ledum Mitee of the Ogoni people

About 10 communities in Tai Local Council of Rivers State, Ogoni extraction, yesterday staged a peaceful protest in the state, urging the Federal Government to rebuild its land destroyed over 24 years ago.

The protesting communities include Lekumakan, Umba, Oloko and Tumbe, among others.

They matched from streets in Port Harcourt to Government House to urge Governor Nyesom Wike to intervene in the matter and provide basic social amenities to the affected communities.

The leader of the protest and co-ordinator of Ogoni refugees, Mr. Ledee Banadon, explained that they took to the streets because they have been abandoned for years by the government at all levels.

Banadon said: “In April 1994, the military invaded some communities of Ogoni, sacked residents and destroyed houses, 24 years later, residents of the affected communities are yet to resettle.

“We are protesting today as Ogoni refugees. We the Ogoni people are peaceful and we welcome strangers anytime. We have contributed so much in the development of this nation, but we are suffering for years.

“We understood that the Federal Government is cheating on us. This is why Ogoni started Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People. But in 1994, a multinational oil company sponsored the military to destroy our communities on April 4, 1994 (Easter Sunday). That day, we were in church when military came and started shooting.

“They killed our brothers, sisters, husbands, wives and destroyed our houses. They chased us out of our communities. It affected over 10 communities in Tai Local Council of Ogoni. Now for more than 20 years, we are still living as refugees in other communities. Some of us who ran to Benin Republic and Cameroun are still there.

“We want the government to help rebuild our communities for us so that we can come back and live our lives. We are suffering too much outside. Last Saturday, some of us came back to live in the bush that has been taken over but the military came and arrested over six of our men.

“We are here to plead with Governor Nyesom Wike, who has peace and development at heart to help us. We do not have anything to survive on.”

However, nobody came to receive the protesters as at when this story was filed.


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