By Anslem D. John-Miller, President, NUOS Int. USA
A powerful delegation of the National Union of Ogoni Student (NUOS Int.
USA), led by its President, Mr. Anslem D. John-Miller attended the United
Nations 51st Annual DPI / NGO Conference, themed The
50th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights : From Words
to Deeds at the United Nations Headquarters in New York and
the Ethiopian Community Development Council (ECDC) Fourth
National Conference on African Refugees at Washington D.C. on
September 14 - 16 and September 17 - 19, respectively.
At the United Nations, the delegation held discussions with several
UN staff members and UN affiliated non governmental organizations on ways
of improving human and environmental rights in Nigeria as they affect Ogoni
and other oil producing minorities of the Niger Delta. The plight of Ogoni
students stranded in the refugee camps in Benin Republic, Ghana, Togo and
other countries within the West African sub-region was also discussed.
At Washington D.C, two members of the NUOS delegation -- Mr. Anslem
D.John-Miller and Blessing Meabe -- addressed participants at the conference
session "In Their Own Voices" on Friday, September 18. The two speakers
drew the attention of the conferees to the continuing violations of the
rights of the Ogoni people by the Internal Security Taskforce stationed
in Ogoni territory since 1992, and still there today. The speakers cited
several recent cases of military raids, killings, arrests and detentions
and many other attrocities commited by the army of occupation, and described
the recent release of the 'Ogoni 20' political prisoners held since May
1994, shortly after the Giokoo killings (in August 1998) as a "smart attempt
by the the Abubakar regime to gain international recognition and acceptance"
The delegation also briefed the gathering on the overt and covert attempts
by Shell to resume operations in Ogoni and described the actions of the
company in the Niger Delta as " Environmental Racism" and called for a
total boycott of Shell Gas and other bloody products so as
to force the company to respect human rights in its areas of operation.
The team further called on the participants at the conference to speak
out againgst any attempt by the Clinton Administration to lift the limited
sanctions imposed on the nigerian military government in response to the
'Judicial Hangings' of Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogoni activists on
November 10, 1995.
The NUOS delegation also highlighted the insecurity problems facing
her colleagues and other Nigerian refugees resident at the UNHCR Camps
in West Africa. The team drew the attention of the conference attendees
to the extradition agreement reached between the nigerian government and
her counterparts in Benin Republic, Togo, and Ghana (an agreement which
empowers Nigerian security operatives to enter into these countries to
arrest and extradite any perceived 'dissident'). NUOS also alerted
the delegates on the recent decision of the Benin government and the UNHCR
Benin to relocate Ogoni refugees from Come' Camp to Kpomasse which is in
close proximity to Nigeria (100 Kilometers), a decision which, if implemented
will make the refugees vulnerable to attack. In this regard, NUOS strongly
appealed to the US Department of State and the UNHCR to
give more priority to the resettlement of Ogoni and other Nigerian
refugees. The team specifically appealed to the US epartment of State
to change the present status of the Ogoni refugee crisis from 'UNHCR Referral'
to 'Priority 2'.
The NUOS delegation which included Anslem D. John-Miller, Israel Eyi,
Blessing Meabe, Lenu F. Kaesor, John Saale, Joy Kobani and other activists
of non-Ogoni origin such as Hussein Afey, Yussuf Adem to mention but a
few, later visited US Capitol Hill to press home their demands before US
Senators and Representatives.
At an emergency meeting held shortly after the presentation at the conference,
NUOS resolved as follows:
It will be recalled that NUOS Int. USA, with headquarters based in Chicago
was inaugurated by the President of MOSOP USA, Prof. Vincent Idemyor and
Tee Idee Igboh, Coordinator of MOSOP Chicago on October 20, 1996.
That NUOS will continue to peacefully and non-violently pursue the
legitimate demands of the Ogoni people as enshrined in the Ogoni Bill of
Rights (OBR) until justice is done to Ogoni.
That the Ogoni demands as contained in the OBR are upheld by the UN and
therefore must be respected and complied with by the Nigerian government
and Shell, else any attempt by Shell to forcefully return to Ogoni
without addressing these basic demands will be vehemently resisted by
That MOSOP remains the only voice of the Ogoni people. As such,whatever
negotiations done with whoever government and Shell has used as their agent(s)
holds no mandate of the Ogoni people. Such individuals speaking in government
media and newspapers are speaking for themselves and not for MOSOP, so
neither the Ogoni people nor the public should be fooled.
That NUOS will continue to mobilize other oil producing communities of
the Niger Delta to peacefully and non-violently demand their rights.
A summary of its objectives are as follows:
NUOS Int. USA since its inception has embarked on several speech tours
and presentations at a number of NGO fora. The students delegation which
included Anslem John-Miller (President), Charles Wiwa (Secretary), Dominic
Pianen, Sunny Ogbonnah, James L. UeBari, Mel B. Adiegwu and Douglas
Ikeh held crucial discussions with the United Nations High Commissioner
For Refugees, Madam Sadako Ogata on ways of addressing the Ogoni refugee
crisis, on May 26, 1998, at Chicago.
developing Ogoni students,
enlightening and educating the public on the human rights situation in
Ogoni, the Niger Delta and Nigeria as a whole,
exposing the cruel activities of Shell towards the indigenous peoples of
rehabilitating exiled Ogoni students,
bringing justice to Ogoni through litigation,
setting up a scholarship scheme for deserving Ogoni students in Nigeria.
A national convention of the body has been slated for early 1999, in
the United States, while a scholarship scheme "Ogoni 9 Memorial Educational
Scholarship Scheme" has been established as a mark of honor for NUOS late
Grand Patron, Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogoni activists executed on
November 10, 1995. The #50,000.00 (Fifty Thousand Naira) four year scholarship
award will be awarded any Ogoni freshman in the Environmental Sciences
in any tertiary institution in Nigeria. The grant will cover the areas
of tuition, text and research and it takes effect from January, 1999.
Join NUOS in its intellectual and non-violent struggle for peace and
justice for the Ogoni and other minority peoples of the Niger Delta.
Return to Nigerian Groups and NUOS.