Martyrs’ Day: Ogonis call for exoneration of Saro-Wiwa from murder charge


Barth Ndubuwah, Port Harcourt

As the people of Ogoniland in Rivers State celebrate the 2020 remembrance day of the  hanging by of Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight others, popularly referred to as the Ogoni 9, twenty five years after the incident, prominent Ogoni sons have insisted that the federal government must  exonerate  Ken  from the murder charge.

In his welcome address during the 25th martyrs day anniversary at Bane, home country of late Ken Saro-wiwa, his eldest son,Barikwame Saro-wiwa said he is happy that 25 years after his father was wrongly executed by the then military junta, Sani Abacha,on trumped-up  murder charges, his legacy has remained indelible in the history of Ogoniland, Niger Delta  and Nigeria at large.

According to him, the world has realized that the message of environmental degradation of Ogoniland, occasioned by be the activities of SPDC and other multinational companies has subsisted till date. The  Ken Saro-wiwa Junior said the struggle of his late father will make no meaning if the federal government continues to claim that his execution was just. He therefore appealed to the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration to drop the charges against his late father.

In the same vein, the Coordinator of Conscience Of Ogoni People (COOP), Chief Gani Topba, reiterated the call on the need to exonerate Ken from the hoax murder charge placed on the Ogoni 9. Chief Topba said the High Court and Appeal Court have upheld the case exonerating Ken from any murder charge. He expressed confidence that the Supreme Court, wil equally uphold the claim,to finally seal the matter.

In his remarks,the foremost Environmental Activist, Nnimmo Bassey who described Ken as a man of words and intellectual militant. He noted that 25 years after the death of Ken his message is  still very fresh in the minds of Ogoni people. Bassey who made his presentation in a poetic form commended the organizers of the 2020 martyrs’ day celebration for a job well done.

Delivering his Goodwill message, a former House of Representatives member, Hon. Uche Onyeagucha said Ken was an orator and taught Nigerians how to unite. He quoted Ken Saro-wiwa as saying that, “people are determined to hang me and I am determined to die.”

The former lawmaker said there is still a lot to be done in the struggle bequeathed to Ogoni people by the fallen hero.

In a chat with journalists at the event, Mr. Charles Wiwa, nephew to late Ken said the martyr’s day is a wake up call for Ogoni youths. According to him, the best thing that will happen to Ogoni people is to control their resources and pay tax to the federal government as it is done in developed world. Charles Wiwa described Hydrocarbon and Remediation Project (HYPREP) as a failure and Ogoni clean up as highly politicized. He said they fought for the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) report that produced HYPREP, but regretably the project has not yielded the desired results.

Earlier, while introducing the Ken Saro-wiwa Foundation and  Memorial Park, Mr Dum Syl Aminikpo said it serves as a meeting point for central to local environmentalists and artists to  share their skills with one another. According to him, “the Foundation supports business ideas to solve local, social and environmental challenges via technological innovation.”

Aminikpo pinpointed Facebook Incorporated’s partnership with the Ken Saro-wiwa Foundation as the greatest achievement of the body.

Highlights of the event were  planting of nine trees to represent the Ogoni 9 and presentation of a book titled, ‘Silence Would Be Treasion’ in memory of late Ken Saro-Wiwa.