Ogoni Nine: Remove Abacha’s name, others from state edifice, CSOs to Rivers state Govt

From Blessing Ibunge, Port Harcourt

Civil society groups around the world, has urged the Rivers state government to remove the name of late Sani Abacha and all actors involve in the execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight others from
the edifice in the state.
The CSOs made the call in a communiqué at the end of the 25th Memorial Environmental Summit held in honour of the nine Ogoni leaders who were killed in 1995 for demanding for the rights of the people.

The communique also urged Shell Petroleum Development Company, to accept blame as accomplice in the execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa, urging the company to work with the government to exonerate the Ogoni leaders executed in 1995.
They maintained that failure to exonerate Ken Saro-Wiwa, Shell should decommission its facilities from Ogoniland and the Niger Delta, and vacate the country.

The CSOs are Health of Mother Earth Foundation, HOMEF; Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria, ERA; Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa, CAPPA; Oil Watch Togo, Grodwork South Africa; Green Alliance Nigeria.

Others are; Host Communities Network; Ogoni Solidarity Forum; Social Action; Center for Environment, Human Rights and Development, CEHRD; Student Environmental Assembly of Nigeria; Young Friends of the Earth Nigeria; Stakeholder Democracy Network and Civil Liberties Organisation.

The communiqué states: “The Nigerian Government immediately exonerate the late Ken Saro-Wiwa and his Ogoni compatriots of the false allegations for which they were unjustly and brutally murdered.

“Shell be officially recognized as accomplice in the murder of Ken Saro-Wiwa, just as Shell worked with the Nigerian government in 1995, it should equally work with the Nigerian government to exonerate the Ogoni leaders of the allegations. The other option is for Shell to decommission its facilities from Ogoniland and the Niger Delta.

“A comprehensive environmental audit of the Niger Delta should be carried out by the Nigerian government.

“Nigeria should pay the Ogoni nation an ecological debt for decades of pollution, neglect of their polluted environment, displacement of her people and denying them justice.

“The Nigerian government halt the construction of a prison yard in Ogoniland and instead, support the plans by Ogoni people for a Ken Saro Wiwa Memorial Park and the construction of a Research Center of Excellence and other emergency measures recommended by the UNEP in its Assessment report.

“Rivers State Government should remove the names of the late General Sani Abacha and other nefarious actors responsible for the Ogoni killings of 1995 from all edifices in the state.”

Speaking on the theme, 25 years after Ken Saro-Wiwa: The Nigerian Environment and Lessons Not Learnt; Barr Chima Williams, Acting Executive Director of ERA urged the Government to accelerate the clean-up of the devastated Ogoni environment and the entire Niger Delta.
Williams on behalf of other CSOs also called for a judicial panel of inquiry to revisit the murders of Ken Saro Wiwa and the arbitrary arrests, maiming and killings that forced many Ogoni indigenes to flee into exile.

The Civil societies also called on the Federal Government to direct the Nigerian Customs Service to release the Ken Saro-Wiwa memorabilia, which has been confiscated since 2015.

“Immediate release of the Ken Saro-Wiwa Memorial Bus seized for no reason by the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) in 2015.”
However, in his keynote address titled ‘The Ogoni Struggle and Unending Quest for Environmental Justice in Nigeria’, Director of HOMEF, Dr. Nnimmo Bassey, explained that twenty five years after the tragic activities that culminated in the killing of Ken Saro-Wiwa and his eight Ogoni kinsmen, Shell and other fossil fuels industry actors are still in the business of denial as they continue the wanton destruction of the Niger Delta and Nigerian environment.

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