OGONI BILL OF RIGHTS
PRESENTED TO THE GOVERNMENT AND PEOPLE OF NIGERIA
We, the people of Ogoni (Babbe, Gokana, Ken Khana, Nyo Khan and Tai) numbering about 500,000, being a separate and distinct ethnic nationalitywithin the Federal Republic of Nigeria, wish to draw the attention of theGovernment and people of Nigeria to the undermentioned facts:
1. That the Ogoni people, before the advent of British colonialism, were not conquered or colonised by any other ethnic group in present day Nigeria.
2. That British colonisation forced us into the administrative division of Opobo from 1908 to 1947.
3. That we protested against this forced union until the Ogoni Native Authority was created in 1947 and placed under the then Rivers Province.
4. That in 1951 we were forcibly included in the Eastern Region of of Nigeria where we suffered utter neglect.
5. That we protested against this neglect by voting against the party in power in the Region in 1957, and against the forced union by testimony before the Willink Commision of Inquiry into Minority Fears in 1958.
6. That this protest led to the inclusion of our nationality in Rivers State in 1967, which State consists of several ethnic nationalities with differing cultures, languages and aspirations.
7. That oil was struck and produced in commercial quantities on our land in 1958 at K. Dere (Bomu oilfield).
8. That oil has been mined on our land since 1958 to this day from the following oilfields: (i) Bomu (ii) Bodo West (iii) Tai (iv) Korokoro (v) Yorla (vi) Lubara Creek and (vii) Afam by Shell Petroleum Development Company (Nigeria) Limited.
9. That in over 30 years of oil mining, the Ogoni nationality have provided the Nigerian nation with a total revenue estimated at over 40 billion Naira (N40 billion) or 30 billion dollars.
10. That in return for the above contribution, the Ogoni people have received NOTHING.
11. That today, the Ogoni people have:
(i) No representation whatsoever in ALL institutions of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
(ii) No pipe-borne water.
(iii) No electricity.
(iv) No job opportunities for the citizens in Federal, State, public sector or private sector companies.
(v) No social or economic project of the Federal Government.
12. That the Ogoni languages of Gokana and Khana are undeveloped and are about to disappear, whereas other Nigerian languages are being forced on us.
13. That the ethnic policies of successive Federal and State Governments are greadually pushing the Ogoni people to slavery and possible extinction.
14. That the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited does not employ Ogoni people at a meaningful or any level at all, in defiance of the Federal government's regulations.
15. That the search for oil has caused severe land and food shortages in Ogoni - one of the most densely populated areas of Africa (average: 1,500 per square mile; national average: 300 per square mile.)
16. That neglectful environmental pollution laws and sub-standard nspection techniques of the Federal authorities have led to the complete degradation of the Ogoni environment, turning our homeland into an ecological disaster.
17. That the Ogoni people lack education, health and other social facilities.
18. That it is intolerable that one of the richest areas of Nigeria should wallow in abject poverty and destitution.
19. That successive Federal
have trampled on every minority right enshrined in the Nigerian
to the detriment of the Ogoni and have by administrative structuring
and other noxious acts transferred Ogoni wealth exclusively to other parts of the Republic.
20. That the Ogoni people wish to manage their own affairs.
Now therefore, while reaffirming our wish to remain a part of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, we make demand upon the Republic as follows:
That the Ogoni people be granted POLITICAL AUTONOMY to participate in the affairs of the Republic as a distinct and separate unit by whatever name called, provided that this Autonomy guarantees the following:
(a) Political control of Ogoni affairs by Ogoni people.
(b) The right to the control and use of a fair proportion of OGONI economic resources for Ogoni development.
(c) Adequate and direct representation as of right in all Nigerian national institutions.
(d) The use and development of Ogoni Languages in Ogoni territory.
(e) The full development of Ogoni Culture.
(f) The right to religious freedom.
(g) The right to protect the OGONI environment and ecology from further degradation.
We make the above demand in the knowledge that it does not deny any other ethnic group in the Nigerian Federation of their rights and that it can only conduce to peace, justice and fairplay and hence stability and progress in the Nigerian nation.
We make the above demand in the belief that, as Obafemi Awolowo has written:
"In a true Federation, each ethnic group no matter how small, is entitled to the same treatment as any other ethnic group, no matter how large."We demand these rights as equal members of the Nigerian Federation who contribute and have contributed to the growth of the Federation and have a right to expect full returns from that Federation.
Adopted by general acclaim of the Ogoni people on the 26th day of August, 1990, at Bori, Rivers State.
Signed on behalf of the Ogoni people by: