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Environmental justice struggles, failed promises to Niger Delta echo at Saro-Wiwa’s memorial

By Michael Egbejule, Benin City
12 November 2020   |   3:32 am
Activists under the aegis of the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) have urged Nigerians to hold multinational companies accountable for human rights violations in the struggle for environmental justice...

Activists under the aegis of the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) have urged Nigerians to hold multinational companies accountable for human rights violations in the struggle for environmental justice, especially in the Niger Delta region.

In a statement issued in Benin City, yesterday, Executive Director of ERA/FoEN, Godwin Uyi Ojo, made the remark on the sidelines of the 25th anniversary of the killing of Ken Saro-Wiwa and the Ogoni eight activists, who were fighting for environmental justice, cleanup, compensation and remediation of Ogoniland from oil companies.

Ojo said the anniversary also provided an opportunity to underscore the fact that the death of the Ogoni martyrs would not be in vain.

“The legacy of Ken Saro-Wiwa lives on in environmental justice struggles in Ogoni land, the Niger Delta and at the national and international levels.

“For over 60 years, the Federal Government exploited oil and gas resources in the Niger Delta region. During this period, extensive pollution of the air, water, sediment and soil in communities exposed the people and other life forms to severe risks resulting in frequent deaths,” he said.

Ojo added that while marking 25 years since the killing of the Ogoni Nine, the Niger Delta environment still groaned under severe environmental exploitation, poverty remained widespread with little or no change in the welfare and livelihoods of the people.

“The anniversary provides the opportunity to highlight the ecological disaster and human rights violations still being faced in Niger Delta after 25 years Ken Saro-Wiwa was executed, along with eight other Ogoni leaders for standing up to Shell’s operations in Nigeria.

“Saro-Wiwa’s legacies directly confront the Multinational Oil Companies enormous political and economic powers in Nigeria,” Ojo said.