Sunday, 10 November 2013

Black November : Remembering Ken Saro Wiwa and the Ogony Nine

On this date, 10th November 1995, Ken Saro-Wiwa and members of his pressure group, Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MASOP) were illegally put to death by Hanging and (their bodies mutilated) in Port-Harcourt, Nigeria over trumped up charges.

Saro-Wiwa, an environmental activist together with his group protested against the corruption and environmental degradation that went on against Nigeria's oil producing communities. These corrupt and harmful activities went on supervised by the Nigerian military regime, and aided by Oil Company (Shell). The protest by Saro Wiwa and Nigerians from oil producing communities made the military junta of General Sani Abacha even more ruthless as his dictatorship's source of income came under scrutiny. People went missing without trace and the likes of Saro-Wiwa, who could not go missing where arrested under false accusations, charged in a tribunal, sentenced to death and hurriedly executed.

Ken Saro-Wiwa was a writer as he authored books such as SazoBoy, This helped him put his thoughts into words even in the face of despair and he had this to say to the bogus tribunal and Shell as his closing remark.
I repeat that we all stand before history. I and my colleagues are not the only ones on trial. Shell is here on trial and it is as well that it is represented by counsel said to be holding a watching brief. The Company has, indeed, ducked this particular trial, but its day will surely come and the lessons learnt here may prove useful to it for there is no doubt in my mind that the ecological war that the Company has waged in the Delta will be called to question sooner than later and the crimes of that war be duly punished. The crime of the Company’s dirty wars against the Ogoni people will also be punished.

In my innocence of the false charges I face here, in my utter conviction, I call upon the Ogoni people, the peoples of the Niger delta, and the oppressed ethnic minorities of Nigeria to stand up now and fight fearlessly and peacefully for their rights. History is on their side. God is on their side. For the Holy Quran says in Sura 42, verse 41: “All those that fight when oppressed incur no guilt, but Allah shall punish the oppressor.” Come the day.
Though, Saro Wiwa and the Ogoni nine killing helped Shell oil company resume operations, but their visions and thoughts superseded their mortal existence. The likes of Jasper Adaka Boro started the struggle long before the Ogoni nine and today, the Niger-Delta struggle has metamorphosed onto armed groups such as MEND (Movement For the Emancipation of The Niger Delta). Similar vision, different methods. 

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