global action | archives | |




ABOUT 10,000 people from across Nigeria and the Niger Delta ethnic nations in particular Friday joined the rest of the freedom-loving world to observe the International Day of Action against corporate rule and the existing international financial system. The event coincides with the meeting of the G-8 nations in Koln, Germany where these countries intend to further pursue their vision of "free"trade, economic growth and corporate control.

The Nigeria event tagged "carnival of the oppressed" kicked off about 9.00 a.m. when thousands of people from all walks of life gathered at the Port Harcourt International Airport to wait for Dr. Owens Wiwa, younger brother of the slain Ogoni nationalist Ken Saro-Wiwa. Owens was four years ago forced into exile in North America by the late paranoid dictator General Sani Abacha.

By 10.30 a.m. the plane conveying Owens from Lagos landed in Port Harcourt. He was accompanied by Sam Olukoya, a journalist and Doifie Ola, journalist, environmentalist and member of the Co-ordinating Council of the Chikoko Movement. On hand to receive him at the airport were activists, workers, women, children, the unemployed, market women and professionals including former minister Dr Mofia Akobo who heads the Southern Minorities Movement; Mr. Oronto Douglas, environmental human rights lawyer and leader of the Chikoko Movement as well as Mrs Joi Yowika, the Ogoni lawyer who helped secure the release of the Ogoni 20 among others.

After a brief speech by Owens who expressed optimism that the peoples of the Niger Delta would overcome in their struggle against the alliance between the Nigerian state and Western multinational oil companies like Shell, Agip, Mobil, Chevron, Elf and others who have for over four decades destroyed the basis of livelihood of the Niger Delta peoples.

The crowd then moved in a convoy to Agip junction in Port Harcourt where a street named after General Abacha was unofficially re-named after Ken Saro-Wiwa as the old signpost pulled out. The crowd also stormed Agip offices in Port Harcourt where two mock coffins where deposited in its front in protest against the human rights atrocities of the Italian company, the most recent being the carnage at Ikebiri, Southern Ijaw local government of Bayelsa State where soldiers on the orders of Agip shot eight villagers, including a two-year old baby last April.

The demonstrators also blockaded the gates leading to the offices of Shell in Port Harcourt. The blockade lasted for about two hours and solidarity messages were presented by representatives of virtually all the ethnic nationalities in Niger Delta and groups with transnational agenda like the National Association of Nigerian Students. There was dancing and singing in the streets, bringing Port Harcourt, Nigeria's petroleum capital to a standstill.

Earlier the convoy had gone to # 24, Aggrey Road, Port Harcourt which the late Saro-Wiwa had donated to the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) for use as its office. The office was re-opened by Mrs. Yowika who is regarded as the Esther of the Ogoni. Addressing the gathering at Aggrey Road, Owens Wiwa pointed out that all those who had a hand in the murder of the Ogoni 9 will be punished sooner than later. Oronto Douglas bemoaned the fate of the suffering peoples of the Niger Delta in the hands of corporations and said "enough is enough". Dr Akobo enjoined the peoples of the Delta to continue to fight for their liberation from native colonialists and global forces of injustice as "we are in the age of freedom". He enjoined all peoples of the Delta to unite as one , the easier to defeat their common enemies.

The June 18 event in Nigeria was co-ordinated was co-ordinated by the Chikoko Movement. Several ethnic nationality organisations, social movements and NGOs participated in the event, including: Environmental Rights Action (Friends of the Earth, Nigeria), MOSOP, Ogoni Solidarity Movement, Ijaw Youth Council, National Association of Nigerian Students, Peoples Democratic Liberation Party and Women in Nigeria-Rivers State. Other groups are Pan African Youth Movement, Niger Delta Women for Justice, Society for Awareness and Growth in Etche, Civil Liberties Organisation-Rivers/Bayelsa,Watch the Niger Delta, Oodua Peoples Congress, Isoko National Youth Movement, Egi Forum, Oron National Forum and the Supreme Egbesu Assembly.

For: Publicity Bureau, Chikoko Movement

J18 Global Action Day |