In what turned out to be a very emotional speech to mark the 28th memorial of the four Ogoni leaders and chiefs who were killed in very controversial circumstances on May 21, 1994, President of the Movement for the Ogoni People (MOSOP) Fegalo Nsuke has called on the Ogoni people to support the initiatives of MOSOP towards a resolution of the Ogoni problem and actualize the dreams of the founding fathers and for peace to fully return to Ogoni.
In his tribute to the four Ogoni leaders namely Mr Albert Badey, Chief Edward Kobani, Chief Theophilus Orage and Chief Samuel Orage who were murdered on May 21, 1994, Nsuke said their deaths turned an unprecedented darkness, worse than the civil war, on Ogoni.
He noted that as a people, the Ogoni should remain focused on the primary purpose for which the struggle was launched, which was to defeat the enslavement by the alliance between Shell Petroleum and the Nigerian authorities. He noted that the struggle of the Ogoni people was a reaction to underdevelopment and called for support for MOSOP’s current initiatives to actualize the Ogoni dreams through the implementation of the Ogoni Development Authority.
“The death of Badey, Kobani, and the Orages set us many years backwards and almost took us back to the basics. But if we can rise in unity, stand for the truth and focus on our goals, we will make them proud even in death and achieve our collective vision. One way we can do this is to push strongly for development through the implementation of an Ogoni Development Authority as recommended by MOSOP” Nsuke said today.
“We must continue to honour Kobani, Badey and the Orages. We still hold Shell and the Nigerian Government responsible for their murders. But we must also work to see that their sacrifices are not in vain and the best way to do that is to unite for the vision of the struggle to bring peace and development to Ogoni ” Nsuke said.
Recall that barely six months after the historic January 4, 1993 match for freedom in Bori, Ogoni, Shell withdrew from oil mining in the Ogoni area. In an effort to force the resumption of oil production in the area, the Nigerian military led a state-backed repression and massive killings of about 4,000 Ogonis. On May 21, 1994, four Ogoni leaders were murdered in Giokoo, Gokana local government area in very controversial circumstances. MOSOP accused Shell and the military government to have masterminded the murders. The government accused the leadership of MOSOP including Ken Saro-Wiwa for the murders. One year later it couldn’t link Saro-Wiwa and MOSOP to the murders and was unable to raise any charges against them. Finally, the Nigerian government set up a military tribunal to try Saro-Wiwa and others denying them every right to fair trial including the right to appeal.. On November 10, 1995, Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight others were murdered in cold blood by the Nigerian state at the Port Harcourt prisons.
“May their souls not rest until peace and freedom comes to Ogoni” Nsuke concluded.