The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) has called on the Federal and the Rivers Government to resettle stranded Ogoni returnees from the Republic of Benin.
The Tide recalled that over 100 Ogoni indigenes who were refugees in Benin had recently returned to Nigeria, even as they were received by the four local government areas Chairmen that make up Ogoni land and were directed to return to their respective communities.
But President of MOSOP, Legborsi Pyagbara said that the returnees were in dire need of rehabilitation in view of their travails in foreign land.
Pyagbara who stated this when a delegation of the returnees led by Akekwue Tambari paid him a visit at the MOSOP office in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital, said the living conditions of the Ogoni returnees were deteriorating by the day, which explains why the intervention of the governments and its relevant agencies is needed to provide them with a means of livelihood.
According to him: Today we wanted to let the world know that the condition of these people are deteriorating every day. They came back home but no shelter, nothing to live on and nothing to fall back on.
“I want to use the opportunity of this meeting to inform the Rivers State Government because first and foremost we are in a federal state and this people belong to Rivers State before becoming citizens of Nigeria.
“So we are calling on the State Government to intervene in the situation of these Ogoni refuges that have returned home. They need shelter, they need means of livelihood and they also need to deal with the health challenges that most of them are faced with at the moment,” Pyagbara said.
The MOSOP President further said that the Ogonis might be compelled to embark on a massive protest if nothing was done urgently to address the plight of the Ogoni returnees.
“We also want to cease this opportunity to call on the Government of Nigeria, particularly its agencies, the National Refugees Council, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and all others with the mandate for the rehabilitation of victims of these nature to step in and look for how to address the situation of these Ogoni returnees.
“In the coming days, we will be able to find ways to get engagement with these people because if we do not see anything, definitely we have to plan on how to carry out our non-violent ways of making people know that we exist and that we need to be heard,” he stated.
Earlier, spokesperson of the Ogoni returnees, Akekwue Tambari said life had been tough since their return from Benin Republic to Nigeria, even as he called for the assistance of public-spirited individuals in the state.