Ijaw-Kalabari non-partisan activist, Rev. Dr. Sokari Soberekon has advised the people of Ogoni and other ethnic nationalities to shun violence in the exercise of their constitutional rights as well as freedom derived from the African Charter on Human and People's Rights.
He spoke to journalists in his office in Port Harcourt recently while reacting to the news that Ogonis, especially the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP)'s alleged plan to embark on protest to demand for self determination.
Rev. Dr. Sokari Soberekon, who said he was speaking in his capacity as a 'Senior Advocate of Niger Delta', noted that although the Ogonis have suffered much injustice in their quest to protect their environment from pollution caused by oil exploration by multinational companies, resorting to violence to demand for their rights will not yield meaningful results.
He commended them (MOSOP) for agitating for the enforcement of their rights but urged that they use non violence and non cooperation, arguing that “unarmed old women can chase anyone out of Ogoniland with prayers”.
His words: “They should not involve the youths in the protest so that they will not over-react and create room for a dog to be given a bad name in order to be hung.
“Government, on the other hand, should not apply force on the Ogoni people or any other group agitating for resource control in the Niger Delta as any other incident like Odi Massacre in Bayelsa State will attract the International Criminal Court (ICC) and God's anger. I advise other oil producing communities in the Niger Delta to shun violence and continue to pray for justice.
“Government should know that injustice to one is injustice to all. The entire Rivers, Bayelsa and all the oil producing states are not happy with what is happening in Ogoni”.
The Ijaw activist also advised MOSOP to put their house in order and speak with one voice, adding that “brooms sweep better when tied together”.