Initiative Pro Afrika e.V.
Königswinterer Str. 116
President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
Abuja / Nigeria
We are deeply concerned about reports reaching us from the Niger Delta on the deployment of troops to the region. According to these reports, the troops have been engaged in several shootings that already caused many deaths on both sides. We feel very sad about this development.
Looking at the past of military intervention in the delta we are convinced that military force cannot solve the problems that are at the origin of violent incidents. Of course, we fervently condemn all violent and criminal acts including the killings of policemen some two weeks ago. We strongly agree that the murderers must be identified and brought to court without delay. Nevertheless, we are convinced that the massive deployment of troops as well as the call for a state of emergency will inevitably lead to increased tension in the region.
We therefore appeal to the Nigerian government to seek the cooperation of all parts of civil society in order to develop ways of solution to the crisis in the delta. The people of the Niger delta are waiting for clear signs proving that they will be regarded as partners in the future. A massive military intervention is pointing in the opposite direction as it calls into question the efforts by the Nigerian government to restore peace in the region and introduce true democratic reforms in the country.
Anxiously observing what is happening in Chechnia, we fear that the Nigerian army might try to "solve" the problems of unrest in the Niger delta in a similar way. We strongly oppose the so-called punishment of entire communities in the name of fighting "terrorists". The credibility of the process of democratisation in Nigeria as well as the reputation of Your Excellency, Mr President, is at stake. We therefore urge you to use all your influcence to ease the tensions in the Niger delta and to start a true dialogue with representatives of civil society in order to adequately address the pending issues of continuing environmental devastation by international oil companies, the control of resources and true democratisation.
We look forward to being informed about your actions in this matter.
Thomas Mösch (Chairman Initiative Pro Afrika);
Urgewald e.V. (Sassenberg, Germany);
Aart van den Hoek and Yehudi van de Pol (Oilwatch Europe, Amsterdam)
in der Initiative Pro Afrika e.V.
c/o Werkstatt 3
Thomas Moesch, Tel.: +49/40/858700
Gaby Runge, Tel.: +49/40/619499