…Demonstration illegal – Council boss
By, Nkechi Uzonna, Port Harcourt
Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) has slammed the Caretaker Chairman of Tai Local Government Area of Rivers State, Mr. Silver Ngba, and called for his immediate sack, for supporting security operatives to foil protest by Ogoni people.
MOSOP accused Ngba of conniving with the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), by using soldiers and the police to chase away Ogoni demonstrators, protesting against the controversial laying of pipelines in the area without due process.
The Movement’s Media/Public Affairs Advisor, Bari-ala Kpalap, in a statement he issued yesterday, in Port Harcourt, noted with dismay, the statement credited to the council boss acknowledging approval for the foiled peaceful demonstration.
MOSOP said it found such plot as, “not only disgraceful, but, also provocative and a huge betrayal of the Ogoni people.
“That the Tai LGA Chairman could publicly tell the world how he took part in actions that violated the fundamental human rights of the Ogoni people, including inflicting bodily injuries on innocent, harmless and peaceful Ogoni demonstrators, and gave pecuniary reason for his involvement, is enough for the Rivers State Government to remove him from office.
“We, thus, call on the State Government to sack him forthwith having dented its image. The actions of Mr. Ngba, no doubt, impose a moral burden on the state government, hence it has to act now to prove that it does not condone criminality”.
It warned Ogoni people “to desist from working against the collective interest of the people, as this will not be tolerated. It is clear that Shell is interested in causing trouble in Ogoni, hence, we call on the government to hold Shell responsible for whatever crisis that may occur in the region”.
Meanwhile, the Council chairman, Ngba, had said he backed the halting of the protest by security operatives because MOSOP did not get approval before staging the demonstration in his area.
He further said that the step taken by the council to stop the protest was in the overall interest of members of the public, to avert hoodlums taking advantage of the protest to disrupt existing peace and order in the LGA.
MOSOP had recently planned a peaceful protest in Nonwa, Tai LGA, against the controversial laying of pipelines in the area by Shell, “without the free, prior and informed consent and agreement with the Ogoni people, as well as carry out Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) before embarking on the project”.