Fifteen years after the murder of Ogoni Activist Ken Saro-Wiwa and 8 other people, the Environmental Rights Action/ Friends of the Earth Nigeria(ERA/FoEN), yesterday had rememberance meetings at ERA/FoEN offices nationwide to push to the front burners issues that the late Ken advocated for.
Executive Director of ERA/FoEN, Nnimmo Bassey, speaking through his head of media Philip Jakpor said the annual rememberance meeting was necessary to commemorate the hanging of Saro-Wiwa and others by the General Sani Abacha Junta.

According to ERA, it remains an ineffaceable stigma that Shell cannot wash off its hands even with its campaign to paint itself as a good corporatecitizen.

Bassey added, "It is now clear that Shell's insatiable appetite for the oil of the Ogoni land and the entire Niger Delta and its disdain for the environment and the rights of the people put the hangman's noose on Saro-Wiwa and other Ogoni sons."

He lamented that even with the massive outcry that have trailed Shell's denial of cupability 15 years later, the massive degradation of the Niger Delta and the human rights situation has not changed.

He stated that until a cleanup of the mess in Ogoni land is done as well as dequately compensating the people, "the blood of Saro-Wiwa and other innocent citizens will continue to cry out until corporate and state impunity is stemmed in the entire Niger Delta region.

Speaking at the gathering in Lagos, President, Campaign for Democracy (CD) Dr. Joe Ojei-Odumakin while reminiscing, stated that the late Ken was known for using his intellectual militancy to bring the issue of the Ogoni into the world map.

The good aspect, she noted was that he did all this within the ambits of the law without resorting to violence.

Commenting on the circumstances surrounding the death of the Ogoni 9 as they were popularly termed, she said, "it was a kangaroo justice that was meted out to him and cannot stand the test of time. They failed to realize that Ken was the messenger and the message."

She lamented that despite the sacrifices made by the Ogoni 9 fifteen years ago, there is still no justice, fairness and equity for the people of the Niger Delta. On the issue of insurgence of militancy in the land, Odumakin disclosed to THISDAY that Ken before his death prophesied that the people who would come after him would not be going for meetings or roundtable but would resort to violence to get their points across.

Speaking on the amnesty program for the militants, she said, "amnesty is given to those that did not demand for it and it shows the hypocrisy that is happening and it's just scratching the surface, it'ss just cosmetic. What we have now is a grave yard peace so let us not deceive ourselves.

She however expressed optimism that the country will be a better one at the end of the end when the government, the media and citizens live up to their responsibilities.

In his speech, ERA Director, Corporate Accountability and Administration, Akinbode Oluwafemi lamented that Saro Wiwa who was a playwright, a dramatist, a writer and philosopher was wasted by the nation and fifteen years after, the things he labored for have not been achieved.

According to him, "as we commemorate the fifteenth anniversary of the gruesome murder of Ken Saro-Wiwa and other eminent Ogoni sons, ERA joins well meaning Nigerians and the oppressed people of Ogoniland and the entire Niger Delta to demand for the actions."

Amongst the things expected he said, is for the Federal government to take responsibility for the atrocities committed and apologize as well as the conviction of the Ogoni 9 squashed.

He added, "there should be an implementation of the Ogoni Bill of Rights and the Nigerian government should leave the oil in Ogoni and the entire Niger Delta in the soil."

"All members of the General Sani Abacha junta that constituted the provisional ruling council (PRC) that ratified the killing of the Ogoni nine be put on trial for committing judicial murder and Shell should be made to pay for nearly five decades of oil theft in the area."

Also speaking, an activist Tunde Akanni disclosed that the solution to the problem of the Niger Delta lies in taking a second look at the reports done by the different commissions that were set up and working it out.

One of such was the UNDP'S 2006 report on Human Index that showed that the Niger Delta region is crisis ridden by factors such as intra-ethnic, inter-ethnic, oil induced conflict which is the most visible and then the Ogoni saga.

It would be recalled that the late Ken Saro-Wiwa until his death was the leader of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP). He was arrested on May 22, 1995 on fabricated charges of inciting Ogoni youths to kill four prominent Chiefs during a rally on May 21, 1995.

Also a known fact is that though Saro-Wiwa denied the charges, he was imprisoned and subsequently sentenced to death by a specially convened tribunal that was widely criticized by all and sundry.

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