Senator Magnus Ngei Abe, All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate for Rivers South East Senatorial District in the yet to be concluded Legislative re-run election, has advised Niger Delta Communities to adopt the Ogoni approach to environmental justice.
Speaking at the launch of the cleanup of Ogoni land and other impacted communities in the Niger Delta, at Bodo town in Gokana Local Government Area, Abe said that the Ogoni sought for environmental justice not through arms struggle and destruction of pipelines but through civil and legitimate agitation that attracted the sympathy and support of the world community.
He said that the Ogoni were courageous and bold as well as understood the rights of indigenous people over their environment in accordance with international laws, conventions and global best practices in environmental protection and restoration.
Abe added that the Niger Delta communities could gain a lot in their struggle for the protection of their environment if they take a cue from what the Ogoni did.
The former chairman of the Senate committee on downstream cautioned that the destruction of pipelines would not only worsen the environmental degradation but would make them lose the sympathy of the international community.
“The Ogoni people are making history today in Nigeria without blowing up one pipeline; without kidnapping one white man but by stubbornly insisting on what is right. We have become the beacon of change for the new Nigeria. We are the ones today lightening the path for the new road that Nigeria will follow because from now on when you blow up pipelines everybody knows you are destroying the environment and because of Ogoni, you will know it is wrong to destroy the environment”.
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Speaking further, Abe said he was full of praises for President Muhammadu Buhari for being a man of his own words by demonstrating strong political will in implementing the UNEP report.
“Our struggle started long time ago, we have suffered failed promises; failed past but because of the emergence of one man to the leadership of Nigeria, the Ogoni story has changed for the better. The name of that man is President Muhammadu Buhari”.
In his speech, President Muhammadu Buhari who was represented by the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, narrated the journey towards the implementation of the UNEP report, where his presidential campaign team had an unscheduled stop in Ogoniland to receive a request from Senator Magnus Abe, on behalf of the Ogoni people.
“On Thursday the 8th of January 2015, in the course of our presidential campaign, we made an unscheduled stop in Ogoni land. After listening to the address presented on behalf of the Ogoni people by Senator Magnus Abe, we made a solemn commitment that if given the opportunity we shall implement the UNEP report on Ogoniland. We are determined to put right the wrongs of the past where the people of this land were treated unfairly and their environment unduly degraded and polluted”.
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