Tuesday, 15 July 2008
NIGERIANS REJECT THE USE OF BRITISH WEAPONS
15TH July 2008.
NIGERIANS IN THE UNITED KINGDOM OPPOSE THE USE OF BRITISH WEAPONS IN NIGER DELTA.
The Liberty Forum United Kingdom announced its intention to picket venues of events to be attended by the President Of the federal Republic of Nigeria during his 4 days State visit to the United Kingdom.
Since the declaration of the intention, the Nigerian embassy in the UK cancelled two major events one being the publicised meeting of the president with Nigerian resident in the UK, The meeting was scheduled to take place at the Nigerian High commissioner’s official resident on Friday 18th July 2008 at 18.30 hrs.
The cancellation of the meeting by the Nigerian High Commissioner in the UK His Excellency Dr Dalhatu Saraki in our opinion is to deprive Nigerians an opportunity to register their protest to the president on his handling of the crisis in the Niger Delta.
We are at a lost at the secrecy surrounding events the president would be attending. We find the removal of all information of the Presidents visit from the Nigerian High Commission website not only distasteful but an overreaction to a simple declaration of intent to picket.
For a government that prides itself on the enthronement of rule of law, we make bold to say that a right to peaceful protest is also a major component of a democracy.
If the British public could picket the events of the visit of the American President to the United Kingdom we wonder why the president of Nigeria with all its claim of democratic ideals would be visiting the UK like a fugitive and details of his events are known only to loyal members and supporters of the Yaradua Government in the UK.
We restate our protest against the British prime minister Gordon Brown and attempts to reduce the Niger delta crisis to a law and order issue rather than the struggle by the people of Niger delta for social justice, environmental right and resource control.
Whilst the Corrupt Nigerian government, the oil companies and the British government are looking at profit the people of the delta are facing a life long sentence to poverty and environmental degradation.
We condemn any form of Military intervention in the resolution of the Niger Delta crisis by Nigeria or any foreign interest.
We call on president Yaradua to reject any offer of arms, from the British or any foreign government for use in the Niger delta or any part of Nigeria.
Nigerians living in the United Kingdom and British Nigerians will not sleep walk into an agenda by the hawks in the western government to turn Nigeria into another Iraq by a Prime Minister whom in our opinion is clueless about the situation in the Niger delta and the struggle of the people of the Delta for environmental, social and political justice.
The promotion of war and rumour of wars by the British Government will only escalate the situation in the Delta Region.
The role of the British government is to call on the Nigerian government to go into genuine dialogue with the people of the Niger delta, put in place concrete measures to ease the frustration in the delta and be accountable to the Nigerian people rather than the oil companies and the multinationals.
The Liberty Forum. UK.
Kayode Ogundamisi is a commentator on Nigerian and international affairs, he was involved in the Nigerian pro-democracy struggle, Ogundamisi survived a trumped up charge of treasonable offence against the military government of General Babangida, he was detained in Jos prison in 1991 and released after intensive local and international campaigns against the government charging him and 12 other students before a military tribunal. Ogundamisi was a frontline member of the National Association of Nigerian Student and a former secretary general of the the University of Jos Students Union in Nigeria and the O'dua Peoples Congress.