PROFILE | Comrade Sunny Oghale Ofehe

BT PERSONALITY | Comrade Sunny Oghale Ofehe

Comrade Sunny Oghale Ofehe was born to Chief Bernard   Aghogho and Mrs. Theresa Ofehe of Iyede, Isoko North Council area of Delta State on the 1st of February 1972 in Lagos, Nigeria.

Comrade Ofehe had his early education at Ogelle Primary School Ughelli, finishing in 1983. He later proceeded to Unity School Agbarho for his Secondary education and graduated in 1988. Comrade Ofehe’s love for Western Education saw him securing admission in 1991 to study Industrial Chemistry at the Prestigious University of Benin, Benin City from where He graduated in 1995.

His disdain for injustice and love for fair play saw him playing active role in mobilising fellow students to demonstrate against the annulment of June 12,1993 Presidential election by the then Military Head of State, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida. An election believed to be the freest and fairest election ever, in Nigeria’s political history. The aftermath of this annulment has continued to hunt Nigeria’s Democratic and economic Development, Comrade Ofehe said in a recent interview.

In the wake of Military clampdown on Pro-democracy activists who were protesting the annulment of the election,  and the execution  of a renowned author, playwright and a Human Rights activist, Ken Saro-Wiwa and others popularly known as the Ogoni Nine(9), Comrade Ofehe fled  Nigeria for the Netherlands where he sought political asylum on the 26th November 1995.

In 2005, Comrade Ofehe founded a non-governmental Organisation, Hope for the Niger Delta Campaigns (HNDC) headquartered in Rotterdam, Netherlands. HNDC which has played a leading role in bring the plight of the People of the Oil rich Niger Delta to International awareness is aimed at setting a new paradigm for restoration of Hope and the establishment of a peaceful Niger Delta safe for the host communities, Multi-Nationals, the International Community and  indeed all stakeholders.

Comrade Ofehe through HNDC facilitated the visit to the Creeks in 2005 of   Lara Lee, David Smith, Pranay Behari (Americans) and Jan Andre Groenendijk (Dutch) Journalists to dialogue with the Militants. It could be recalled that at this time, the entire Niger Delta Region and indeed the Creeks was a no-go area for foreigners owing to widespread kidnappings of expatriates in the region by Environmental Rights activists popularly known as Militants in Nigerian political parlance.

In his bid to enlighten the people of the Niger Delta to embrace dialogue as a means to resolving their agitations, Comrade Ofehe through the HNDC started the publication of a monthly Niger Delta Diaspora magazine called “Inside Niger Delta Magazine”. This is the first of its kind outside Nigeria. He is the Publisher of this new venture.

His non-violent approach to his advocacy has endeared him to many. He has played prominent role in bringing an end to hostage taking in the Niger Delta. His campaign has led to specific release of Dutch kidnapped oil workers in recent times. His uncompromising stance has brought him against people in government and even some of the militants groups.

On October 4th 2007, assailants suspected to be hired assassins invaded his family house in Benin-City and strangled his 60 year old mother to death. He has repeatedly stated that he is holding the government and all arms of the security forces in Nigeria responsible for the barbaric act.

In September 2008, Comrade Sunny Ofehe began series of documentary films on the Niger Delta showcasing the untold stories of the region and using it as a means to campaign for peace. This new initiative has brought him face to face with notable militant leaders such as Alhaji Mujahid Asari Dokubo of the Niger Delta People Volunteer Force (NDPVF) and Boy Loaf (MEND Commander). He visited the camp of the popular Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) in December 2008 and called for a truce. The process of peace has since been established by the Nigerian government granting of Amnesty to all Niger Delta Militants.

In 2009 he was invited by the current President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan as part of his consultation to finding an enduring solution to the perennial problems of the Niger Delta. In the same period he addressed a joint committee of the Nigeria House of Representative and eventual invited 15 Honourable Members of the House to the Netherlands and the European Union in Brussels.

Comrade Ofehe on February 25 and 26 2010, hosted stakeholders in the Niger Delta Peace process to an international Conference in the Hague, Netherlands which was instrumental in proffering solution to the problems of youth restiveness in the Niger Delta region.

In December of 2010 he facilitated the visit of Dutch member of Parliament Sharon Gesthuizen and Dutch embassy officials in Nigeria to visit the slumps and devastated areas of the Niger Delta. The outcome led to a Dutch Parliamentary Hearing on Shell in the Niger Delta in January 2011 at the Dutch Parliament in The Hague.

Comrade Sunny Ofehe was one of the main Speakers alongside speakers from Amnesty International, Friends of the Earth, Cordaid while Shell was represented at the very high level during the drilling by the Parliamentarians.

In 2010, he narrowly escaped a bomb blast that rocked his room at the government guest house in Delta State, Nigeria. He has been arrested by the Nigeria State Security Services in Nigeria. He has often received dead threats from Nigeria and in February 2011, he was arrested by the Dutch Police after around 30 officers raided his home in Rotterdam in the early hours of the morning. They searched his house, office and car for more than five hours.

In February of 2011, less than a month after his parliamentarian appearance, the Dutch police numbering almost 30 stormed his house and arrested him on trump up charges which includes terrorism. His arrest was widely reported around the world and attracted international condemnation. It has been considered a political arrest to silence his dogged and virile criticism of oil and government operations in the Niger Delta.

Refusing to be deter by the arrest in which he was detained for 14 days, he was invited to address selected Members of the European Parliament in a conference to address corruption in the Oil and Gas sector in the Niger Delta. This conference took place in April 2011 at the EU Complex in Brussels.

A few months after he invited the Senior Adviser to the Nigerian President on Niger Delta and Head of the Nigerian Amnesty Committee, Hon. Kingsley Kuku to engage senior European politicians in Paris and Brussels.

His activities have received tremendous media attention both nationally and internationally. He has made appearances in major documentaries on Niger Delta. He has also produced many documentaries which can be found in his websites and on YouTube.

He was instrumental in the recent litigation of the four Niger Delta farmers brought against the Royal Dutch Shell in The Hague with a ruling in January 2013 that Shell Nigeria must compensate one of the farmers.

Apart from being an activist, he is a motivational personality who has advised many Diaspora on how they can abstain from criminal activities and use their potential to earn respect and dignity.

As a gifted motivational speaker, he has encouraged many around him with his motivational skills and testament which he freely shares with people. He is a comedian and usually makes people around him laugh. No wonder he also speaks at parties and ceremonies as their Master of Ceremony (MC).

In 2004 Comrade Sunny Ofehe got married to former Ms Dorothy Faluy who has been his partner since 1996. This marriage is blessed with four boys.

More information about him can be found on www.ofehe.com, www.nigerdeltacampaign.com, face book and Youtube. He can also be googled for more news on him. He can be reached onsunnyofehe@yahoo.com.

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