The Ogonis are a hardworking and determined people, found in the Rivers State of Nigeria. Their land abounds in oil which has become the Economic Mainstay of Nigeria.
The Oil Companies started prospecting for and exploiting for the �black gold� without showing concern for the people who inhabit the land.
Take a trip to the Ogoniland in Rivers State and the Ijaw lands of Bayelsa and Delta States and you will be shocked at the devastation of the land due to the activities of these oil companies. Nothing grows on the land and oil spillage has not helped matters. Prices of foodstuffs and petroleum products are beyond the reach of the ordinary person. Whom do we blame?
A time came when the Ogonis decided to take their destiny into their own hands. Some of their Chiefs had collected monies from the Oil Companies and this emboldened the latter to rape the lands with abundant fury. To check this menace the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) was formed. Since nothing could be grown or harvested on the land, it follows therefore that in a few years to come, the Ogonis would become an extinct race. Thus the exploitation of the Ogoni Land by these insensitive Oil Companies could be termed an act of genocide against the people.
Spearheading this movement was the late Ken Saro Wiwa. They enacted an Ogoni Bill of Rights or Survival. They refused to allow any Oil Company to operate on their lands until their concerns were addressed. They were adamant in this one demand. This organized resistance consumed five of their prominent Chiefs who were termed �sell outs�. The Federal Government under the late Dictator, Sanni Abacha treated the issue as an act of rebellion and sent the military there to crush the �rebellion�. Ken Saro Wiwa, who was not at the venue of the meeting where the plan to attack the five prominent Chiefs was hatched, was arrested. In the end the Sanni Abacha led junta set up a tribunal which convicted and sentenced Nine Members of MOSOP to death by hanging. They were hanged on 10th November, 1995. Ogoniland has known no peace since.
Come to Ghana and the issue of Agogo and the Fulani Herdsmen comes to mind. It will interest you to know that Rasputin Kobby Acheampong whom we learnt from Shamima Muslim is gay had referred to the people of Agogo as part of the Kokoase Nkrurasefo and also having too much of the Kumasi thing in them are cultivators of the land.
Agogo people have the unfortunate experience of having Chiefs who like the Ogonis and because of �noko fio� had entered into a unilateral and secret pact with the Fulani herdsmen to lease part of the peoples land to the latter. Whether the monies accrued from the secret lease agreement was used for the common good of the community or not, I cannot say.
But from discussions I have had with some indigenes of Agogo in Accra that seems an unlikely probability. The issue is not all that simple. The Fulani did not settle at Agogo alone. They came in their numbers and with their cattle. Some Ghanaians also recruited them outside the country to come and take care of their cattle for them. And once they were given permission b y the Chiefs, the Fulanis became the lords of all that they survey and did things their own way. Their mantra became, �spare no woman including the married ones�. If someone had some personal scores to settle with another, the Fulanis were brought in to do just that. They went on rampage, robbed, pillaged, bullied, burnt, maimed, and even killed. They laid siege at Agogo Township and its environs. Life was no longer safe for it was impossible to plan for the future. Life could only be lived in the present.
Who could rescue them? Who was their Moses to bring them out of servitude from the hands of the Fulanis? Who would be their Tweneboa Koduah? National Security did not know and even if it did, it pretended it was not aware. It needed the voice of the bold and the brave to awake the National Security Advisor and the Coordinator from their deep slumber. Readers will recall that when the Takyimanhene kidnapped the Chief of Tuobodom and subjected him to such indignities, the National Security Advisor claimed it had no knowledge of the kidnapping, despite the fact that the issue had been reported in both national and some private media and had been a subject of discussions by both radio and television panelists for weeks.
With these two men whose only desire is to cut ex-President Kufuor, Nana Akufo-Addo and other top members of the NPP to size at the helm of affairs, are we safe in the country and can we sleep with both eyes closed? It was only when the Asantehene threatened to kidnap the Takyimanhene in retaliation that National Security waded into the matter and claimed it was unaware of any such occurrence. And both men are in charge of the security of the country! May God save us all!
Now, the Fulanis, who are not Ghanaians, have wrecked havoc on the people of Agogo and its township. They have raped their aged grand mamas, wives and their daughters. They have destroyed their foodstuff and burnt down their farmlands. The people have complained but no Daniel came to judgement. Yet the atrocities of the Fulanis continue unabated. Who will listen to them?
The people have now decided to take their destiny into their own hands by acting in self defence. Like the Ogonis, the people of Agogo have decided they are no longer going to be slaves on their own land. Yes, they are not cowards, but men with two balls dangling between their legs. They are men who have to fight to restore their lost dignity. No longer would they play second fiddle and allow �strangers� to take away their birth rights.
They must act to claim what rightly belongs to them. After all �All did be die�. You remember the case of the four NPP sympathizers at Agbogbloshie who decided to seek solace at the Police Station instead of fighting to defend themselves. The result? They were cut down in the prime of their lives right in front of the Agbogbloshie Police Station. Who says �All die be die� no be solution to inaction?
I visited a friend of mine from Agogo last Sunday and met three other citizens from the town. I listened patiently as each one recounted the experience of the people of Agogo at the hands of Fulanis.
All of them were unanimous on one thing. The Fulani herdsmen have wrecked harvest at Agogo on a scale unprecedented in the history of the town. They all laid the blame at the doorsteps of their Omanhene. Their verdict? The Fulanis must leave. This is non negotiable.
They also alleged that the Task Force sent to maintain peace at Agogo has been disarming the people of Agogo, leaving out the Fulanis who are well armed with sophisticated weapons including AK47. How do they expect them to go to their farms without protection knowing very well that danger lurks around the corner? If their allegation is true, then is the action of the task force not tantamount to committing genocide against the people of Agogo? Does the Task Force want the people of Agogo to starve to death? Why does the Task Force not escort the men and the women to their farms? These are questions begging for answers.
It must be made clear that the people of Agogo are not saying that they would use their guns to kill the Fulanis. But it is a deterrent move. If Government and the Security Forces cannot provide adequate security for the people against naked aggression, the people of Agogo must be allowed to carry arms to protect or defend themselves.
After all, when Anita de Souza �capriciously� and �unwomanly� drove through a human barricade and ended up �wrinkling� the skins off the bodies of five of them at Abomoso, did she not say it was an act of self defence? And what did the security forces do to her? Nothing! She was defending herself!
Now the people of Agogo have come under attack from Fulani herdsmen. Should we not regard it as an act of unprovoked aggression against the entire country? Let the Security Forces treat the issue with the urgency it deserves. The threat by the National Security Coordinator to deal decisively with the youth and people of Agogo will backfire if he goes ahead with his threat. If someone pounces on and has carnal knowledge of his aged mother, grand mother or wife, will he not take up arms to defend his honour and restore the dignity of his victim?
The people of Agogo are not asking for the impossibility. All they are saying is that, please we need protection but if the State cannot guarantee our protection, National Security should publicly abdicate its responsibility to enable us fill the vacuum.
Mr President, we do not need another Ogoni land here at Agogo. Act fast and decisively! The Fulanis have to go!
Source: Daniel Danquah Damptey ([email protected]) 0243715297
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