Nobel Laureates Wade Into N-Delta Crisis
1 Aug 2006
Author: Jimitota Onoyume
THE planned intervention of the Commission of Nobel Laureates in the Niger Delta crisis yesterday commenced with a visit of its advanced team to the region.
Literary icon and Noble laureate Wole Soyinka who spoke alongside David Philips, also a Noble laureate to news men at the Port Harcourt International Airport on their way to Bayelsa said the integrity and independence of the Commission would cause a significance difference on the way out of the regions crisis. He said the decision of the body to intervene in the situation emanated from their 2005 and 2006 conferences in far away Petra Jordan.
Continuing, he dismissed speculations that the visit was prompted by government and world oil bodies to help stabilize the price of oil in the international market. Stressing that the essence of the intervention was to achieve peace in the region they said the Commission had volumes of research work on the area, which would aide their mission. But nevertheless they would create a forum for healthy dialogue among stakeholders that would produce a collective solution
Phillips explained," Members of the laureates met in 2005 and 2006 and we marked some of the most critical concerns in the world. We identified Nigeria as one of the countries that deserved our international attention, so we set up a commission of Nobel Laureates on Nigeria to manage development in the Delta region and to promote peaceful dialogue and progress between parties"
Adding, Soyinka said, "The marvelous thing about this Commission is that it is absolutely independent. It is not tied to any government; it is not tied to any oil company. Like Darfur for instance, that is where we should have begun but when we were to be given permission, the Sudanese government at the last minute refused to give us permission.
"Each situation is so different. The Commission might succeed in the Niger Delta depending on the situation. It might be positive or it might get stalled as happened in Darfur, there are lot more variants so I agree that we cannot express optimism or pessimism at this point",
Meanwhile, militants in the region have assured members of the Commission of their safety during their stay in the area. Hailing their intervention in a release signed by Cynthia Whyte the militants who spoke under the aegis of Joint Revolutionary Council urged the Commission to come up with enduring solution to the problems. The statement also appealed to governments and other stakeholders to ensure information that would be relevant to the Commission were not kept from it. It reads in parts'" The Joint Revolutionary Council positively recognizes the interventional and fact-finding visit of the honored and respected Commission of Nobel Laureates to the Niger Delta.
As the body is made up of internationally recognized, respected and independent members of the international community who have at one time or the other witnessed and experienced oppression and have spoken out on the side of truth, justice and rights, we want to believe that they will seek for genuine and lasting solutions for the Niger Delta people, her land, environment and our just and reasonable march towards self-determination.
We welcome Professor Wole Soyinka and his colleagues of the advance team of the Commission of Nobel Laureates as they arrive our creeks and swamps for consultation and fact-finding visits starting on the 31 st of July 2006.
On our part, we express our support for our brothers and sisters who are involved in this process to find a lasting and equitable resolution to the criminal and satanic occupation of our land and the dubious appropriation of our resources by an occupation Nigerian state and her imperialist and multinational oil and gas collaborators.
The Commission of Nobel Laureates and the members of the Commission are hereby notified that despite the concern that has been expressed to them, they have no reason to be apprehensive of their stay here particularly in Ijaw territory as they talk to our people.
We call on the occupation Nigerian state and her Bantustan state governments in the Niger Delta to be civilized in their dealings, interactions and discussions with the members of the Commission by providing them with the needed assistance to get the facts to enable them reach a true conclusion that will provide the basis for an internationally recognized Commission of Inquiry supported by the United Nations to forever lay to rest, the criminal, satanic and illegal occupation of the Ijaw and Niger Delta territory.
We are also grateful to our patriotic and esteemed leader, Alhaji Mujahid Abubakr Dokubo-Asari for granting his endorsement and total support to the visiting team.