- Created on Tuesday, 26 May 2009 09:30
- Written by GAG
PEACEKEEPING IN PEACEFUL ENVIRONMENT
This Day (Thursday, May 21,2009, Vol 14,) front page headline quotes Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, as describing the ongoing genocide in Gbaramatu kingdom in Delta State as a peacekeeping operation. This utterance by the Speaker is so ruthless, spiteful, and vicious. Oh! what a peacekeeping initiative? What is Mr. Speaker’s definition of peacekeeping? Peacekeeping includes several methods of resolving disputes peacefully such as negotiation and mediation. Peacekeeping has to do with activities in war to maintain ceasefire and stabilizing situation of peace. But in the Gbaramatu situation there has been no dispute, crisis or violence. How can you be peacekeeping in a peaceful environment? Upon assuming office as Governor in May, 2007, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan employed the strategy of working with the people to achieve his implementable three point agenda of providing peace and security, human and infrastructure development , socio- economic re-engineering. He clearly pursued specific activities to achieve his agenda. The outcomes provided the enabling environment needed for sustainable peace and development. In two years he reconciled the ethnic crisis, peace returned to the communities including Gbaramatu. Was that not why the JTF headquarters was removed from Warri? Mr. Speaker, there was peace until May 13, 2009 when the JTF unleashed terror against peaceful Gbaramatu indigenes who were celebrating the installation of their Regent under the guise of looking for militants and militant camps and we assume you have been follow the incoherent accounts of the JTF.
So genocide is your idea of peacekeeping? What manner of peacekeeping operation will deny humanitarian organizations/workers access to the victims? What manner of peacekeepers will chase injured displaced persons from Ogbe-Ijoh General hospital where they sought medical attention? What manner of peacekeepers will threaten to kill doctors on duty for attending to injured displaced women and children? What manner of peacekeepers will harass a Local Government Chairman for bringing relief materials to innocent and hapless victims? What manner of peacekeeping will require house to house burning of persons and property in Okerenkoko and Oporoaza? How does this murderous option create a situation of lasting peace?
Mr. Speaker let me refer you to section 14 2(b) of 1999, constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; “the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government” how does the activities of the JTF in Gbaramatu since Wednesday 13th May 2009, achieve this purpose that you swore to uphold? Your utterance on the Gbaramatu genocide is flippant and misguided.
Mr. Speaker, since you are uninformed let us take you down the memory lane by recounting similar genocidal “peacekeeping operations” in the Niger Delta region in the years past:
· The sacking of Umuechem community in Rivers state in 1990.
· The invasion of Ogoni communities in the early 1990s.
· The killing of Ken Saro Wiwa in 1995
· The sacking of Iko community in Akwa Ibom state in 1997
· The Odi genocide in Bayelsa State in 1999.
· The razing down of Opia and Ikenyan communities in Bayelsa state in 1999.
· The razing down of Odioma community in Bayelsa state in 2005.
· The razing down of Agge community in Bayelsa state in 2008.
· The ongoing genocide in Gbaramatu kingdom in Delta state since Wednesday, May 13, 2009.
Mr. Speaker peacekeeping is carried out to achieve lasting and sustainable peace. If these previous actions did not achieve that purpose, why do you think that it will be different this time? The key to achieve peace is to end injustice and poverty. Take this information to Mr. President.
Mr. Speaker, we like every well meaning Nigeria do not approve of crime and militancy and you will agree with us that those trapped are not the criminals but innocent women, children, physically challenged and the aged. Those trapped are victims who have gained nothing from the oil boom except its doom that has polluted their waters and lands, affected them with diseases and now this untimely traumatic death.
We employ you to uphold your oath of office by ensuring that you approve the immediate call for a ceasefire by the delta state representatives, that is what your responsibility to Nigerians is, and the trapped people in the creeks and swamps are Nigerians.
The crying, dying and dead women and children of Gbaramatu kingdom demand justice, equity and development from the Nigerian State not this invasion.
For Gender Coalition Against Genocide (GAG)