Ahead of the 27th memorial of nine Ogoni civil rights activists martyred by the Nigerian Government under General Sanni Abacha on November 10, 1995, president of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), Fegalo Nsuke, has called for a review of the judgment of the military tribunal that sentenced them to death. MOSOP says they were innocent and were unjustly executed by the Nigerian authorities. MOSOP further called on the Nigerian government to support its initiatives for rapid Ogoni development and transformation through the operations of the Ogoni Development Authority.
Speaking yesterday in Bera, Gokana local government area during a meeting of all MOSOP chapter leaders and kingdom coordinators, the MOSOP president who was represented by the chairman of the MOSOP chapter leaders forum, Bobjay Awanen, said just as Ogoni has opened its arms to reconciliation and currently driving a process to address the problems which still endangers the Ogoni people today, the Nigerian authorities must also reciprocate these gestures by apologizing to the Ogoni people for its conduct in the way it handled the trial and eventual execution of Saro-Wiwa and others and proceed to clear their names because they were killed in their innocence and that is incontrovertible.
Recall that nine Ogoni human rights advocates including Ken Saro-Wiwa, John Kpuinen, Baribor Bera, Saturday Doobee, Nordu Eawo, Daniel Gbooko, Paul Levura, Felix Nuate and Barinem Kiobel were executed by the Nigerian authorities after an unfair trial before a military tribunal which passed the death sentences on them. They were denied the right to appeal the sentences and hurriedly executed by the government of General Sanni Abacha 10 days later despite a 30 day window for appeal which was provided by the judgment.
Nsuke said the Nigerian government should understand that the Ogoni people will never abandon Ken Saro-Wiwa and the eight others and it is therefore expedient to cooperate with MOSOP's efforts to resolve the problem.
He described the 1995 executions as a permanent stain on the image of Nigeria and the Nigerian authorities can clean up these stains by the way it responds to Ogoni demands and how it treats the victims of these injustices.
"We will never abandon Ken Saro-Wiwa and the eight others and we demand that their exoneration is fundamentally necessary to lay the issues to rest. While we pursue our cause to drive rapid development in the Ogoni region, it is important that the government admits its mistakes and puts things right with apologies for the errors and proper steps being taken to pacify all parties" he said.
"The blood of the Ogoni nine will remain a permanent stain on the image of our country, Nigeria, and the Nigerian government alone are the ones to wash off these stains. This they can do by the way they respond to our demands for the exoneration of Ken Saro-Wiwa and the eight others as well as their response to Ogoni development needs".