Nigeria: Army massacres hundreds resisting the Fossil Fuel Empire

Hundreds Killed; Thousands at Risk in Niger Delta

Civil Society Groups call for Immediate Ceasefire

May 21, 2009, Washington, DC: On the eighth day of full-scale military
assault in Nigeria’s Niger Delta, civil society groups around the
United States are urging lawmakers and the Obama Administration to
call for a halt to the violence in order to allow humanitarian
supplies to be brought into the region. The military operation is
being undertaken in the guise of rooting out militants. However, a
number of villages including Opuye, Okerenkoro, Kurutie and Oporoza,
are reported burned to the ground and many innocent civilians are
reported among those killed in military operations in the Gbaramatu
region of Delta State, over the past 8 days. Journalists and
humanitarian aid continue to be barred from entering the area by the
military. In addition, first-hand reports are emerging from the Delta
that Ijaw men have been targeted for arrest in the Warri waterfront;
the waterfront is the entry point from Gbaramatu to the safety of the
urban area of Warri.

“The continuous raids by the Nigerian military on villages and
communities populated by innocent civilians does not justify their
claim that they are trying to purge the region of so-called
militants,” said Joel Bisina, conflict management and community
development expert on the Niger Delta. First-hand reports suggest the
military is burning entire villages and looting them.

Oil companies have made record profits in recent years. Yet the
oil-rich Niger Delta remains impoverished, with no schools, no health
facilities, or basic infrastructure. Most food in the region is
imported due to the decades of contamination of the water and soil by
oil and gas companies operating in the region. Thus, the military
blockade ultimately means starvation for thousands of people.

“We need to ensure not only humanitarian access to the region, but
full and free access by the media to ensure accurate reporting of the
situation,” said Joel Bisina.

“Due to the media blockout, Americans may not realize that a rise in
the price of gas at the pump is related to bloodshed in the Niger
Delta,” said Daphne Wysham, a fellow at the Institute for Policy
Studies. “As one of the largest consumers of Nigerian crude, the
United States government can not stand idly by and watch innocent
civilians being killed, starved and maimed.”

“We are calling for an immediate ceasefire, and monitored independent
third-party negotiations to seek a permanent solution to the
inequities that are the root cause of the problems in the Niger
Delta.,” said Laura Livoti, founder of Justice in Nigeria Now.

More information contact:
Joel Bisina: 571-213-4310; bisina@whidbey.com
Daphne Wysham: 202-510-3541; daphne@ips-dc.org
Laura Livoti, Justice in Nigeria Now: 415-846-5797;
laura@justiceinnigerianow.org
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Posted on 23 May, 2009, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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