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Environmentalists, right groups oppose pardon, demand exoneration of Saro-Wiwa, eight others

By Ann Godwin, Port Harcourt
04 November 2021   |   2:47 am
Environmentalists and civil right groups have charged the Federal Government to absolve Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogoni sons of the crimes they were murdered

Ken saro-wiwa. Photo The Guardian Nigeria

Environmentalists and civil rights groups have charged the Federal Government to absolve Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogoni sons of the crimes they were murdered for in 1995 by the military regime of the late Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha.

A statement by Director of Health of Mother Earth Foundation, Nnimmo Bassey, Ken Henshaw of We the People, Celestine AkpoBar of Peoples’ Advancement Centre, Chima Williams of Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria and others, said no civil society organisation in Nigeria has asked for a presidential ‘pardon’ for Ken Saro-Wiwa and other Ogoni martyrs.

President Muhammadu Buhari had, on October 22 this year, during a parley with some Ogoni leaders at the State House, Abuja, stated that the “Federal Government will consider the request for grant of pardon to finally close the Ogoni saga.”

But the group insisted that what they have consistently demanded was an admission that the “quasi-judicial process which resulted in the conviction of the Ogoni 9 was a mockery of justice orchestrated by the military government with the active collaboration of Shell to quell community demands for resource and ecological justice.”

The statement reads in part: “What we continue to demand is the complete exoneration of Ken Saro-Wiwa and the Ogoni 8. It is also important to note that the President’s suggestion of granting a ‘pardon’ is tantamount to saying that the nine were guilty and rightly executed.”

The executed included Ken Saro-Wiwa, Saturday Dobee, Nordu Eawo, Daniel Gbooko, Paul Levera, Felix Nuate, Baribor Bera, Barinem Kiobel and John Kpuine.

The document added: “The Ogoni 9 were unjustly murdered by the Sani Abacha dictatorship. The nine (persons) were denied the opportunity to appeal their sentence and were hurriedly executed amid tremendous international pressure, including sanctions against Nigeria.”

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