Saro-Wiwa’s Death: My Shocking Experience with a Seven Year Old – by Fegalo Nsuke

On August 18, 2023, I had a striking and memorable encounter about the Ogoni struggle with seven year old Mercy Lucky. I gazed in surprise as she gave a somewhat detailed account of her impression about Ken Saro-Wiwa, one of many martyrs who were killed by the Nigerian state in a repressive military clampdown to put out a mass-based civil rights movement. The Ogoni people have protested and sought redress for the injustices of Shell and the Nigerian state.

Mercy walked to me and asked if I knew Ken Saro-Wiwa. Expressing some surprise, I responded: “Who told you about Ken Saro-Wiwa?” My daddy, she said.

Our discussion became very interesting and curiously I asked: “what did your daddy tell you about Ken Saro-Wiwa?” Then she shocked me with an impressive account:

“My daddy said Ken Saro-Wiwa was a hero who fought for the Ogoni people. One day all these Shell people came and wanted to drill crude oil in Ogoni and he {Saro-Wiwa) said no, that they must do something for Ogoni before they can drill the crude oil.

One day, the crude oil pipe burst and before they know, water was under and the crude oil was on top.

Then many people wanted to kill Ken Saro-Wiwa, they were many ooh, Then they caught him and put him in prison. When they wanted to kill him, then he threw his ring and the ring disappeared and everywhere now became dark and they killed him.

He is celebrated on November 10 every year”

This is an unedited account provided by a seven year old Mercy Lucky, a basic 3 pupil of a private school of Alesa, Eleme local government area. 

The lessons are astonishing.  Our struggle will live. Like Ken Saro-Wiwa predicted:

“I am a man of ideas and my ideas will live”. 

She struck beyond my imagination when she said Saro-Wiwa said no to mining because the Ogoni weren’t getting anything from the process. They killed him for demanding justice and the little girl knew and noted that he is celebrated on November 10, every year.

Seven year old Mercy Lucky understands that to resolve the Ogoni dispute, “they should give Ogoni something” from the oil.

Mercy Lucky did give me hope that we will not forget our yesterday no matter the level of success and development we achieve. MOSOP has strongly advocated the operation of an Ogoni Development Authority as a vehicle to secure the future of our people. Mercy Lucky’s narrative gives me the impression that no matter how beautiful tomorrow will be, Ogoni will not forget her yesterday.

As we draw closer to November 10, the key focus will again be on Ken Saro-Wiwa and some 4,000 others who were murdered by the Nigerian state 28 years ago. The lesson and good news is that these martyrs are not forgotten and will not be forgotten. Not now and not in the near future. 

It is comforting that even our unborn children understand the injustices suffered by the Ogoni people in Nigeria and this story will always resonate no matter how beautiful tomorrow will be.

It also tells our government that even our animals and plans are united against injustice and will resist all sneaky attempts to force oil production in Ogoni without considering our terms and future.

Attempting to force oil production in Ogoni without an acceptable deal that gives “Ogoni people something” and guarantees a secure future for our people will only prolong the conflicts and risk an escalation to the rest of the Niger Delta region. 

That is the idea behind the call to operationalise the Ogoni Development Authority being an acceptable pathway and sustainable solution that addresses our concerns..

Failing to take that route will signal a decision by the Nigerian authorities and the oil industry to kill the Ogoni people rather than resolve the dispute in the best ways possible. 

I do know for sure that the world will not be silent to watch the complete extermination of the Ogoni nationality. Believing that genocide can no longer be tolerated in modern societies and confident of a strong resistance in defense of human rights, I will expect the world to give the best support to the operation of the ODA in order to restore the dignity of the Ogoni people.

I would wish that the Nigerian government would avert another Ogoni massacre by accepting frantic discussions on the operation of our proposals.

That is the “something” Ogoni expects from the Nigerian state. The “something” which Ogoni children as depicted in Mercy Lucky’s perspectives are demanding.

Should the government not have an agenda to murder innocent people who are only demanding basic rights to decent living, the ODA is the way to go.

Fegalo Nsuke is president of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People,  MOSOP.  He wrote from Port Harcourt and can be reached via Twitter @ fnsuke.

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One Comment

  1. The girl really tried her parents must have trained her to know what is needed for to know but how will a child say he(sari wiwa)throw a ring and it will despair

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