Coalition Insists on Exoneration, not Pardon for Wiwa, Others

A coalition of civil society organisations have insisted that the federal government should exonerate late Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogoni activists from the judgement that led to their death over two decades ago instead of granting them pardon.

The group also frowned at the government alleged trick to pardon the Ogoni martyrs, so as to gain acceptance from the ethnic group to commence activities on the OML 11 which licence was recently granted to the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC).

The coalition position was contained in a statement signed by Nnimmo Bassey (Health of Mother Earth Foundation); Ken Henshaw (We the People); Celestine AkpoBari (Peoples’ Advancement Centre); Chima William (Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria); Rev. Williams Probel (Ogoni Peoples Assembly), and six others, while the statement was made available to journalists yesterday by Kome Odhomor of the HOMEF Media and Communication Lead.

The statement read in parts: “On October 22, 2021, a selected group of Ogoni leaders attended a parley at the State House with President Muhammadu Buhari, among other issues, the president stated that the ‘federal government will consider the request for the grant of pardon to finally close the Ogoni saga’.

“The president made this commitment to ‘consider’ a pardon immediately after he declared that ‘the unfortunate incidents of the early 1990s leading to the loss of lives of distinguished sons of Ogoni land and the collateral judicial processes are indelible in our memories’.

“Based on the above, it is important to note that no civil society organisation in Nigeria has asked for a presidential ‘pardon’ for Ken Saro-Wiwa, Saturday Dobee, Nordu Eawo, Daniel Gbooko, Paul Levera, Felix Nuate, Baribor Bera, Barinem Kiobel, and John Kpuine, who were unjustly murdered by the Sani Abacha dictatorship. The nine people were denied the opportunity to appeal their sentence and were hurriedly executed amid tremendous international pressure, including sanctions against Nigeria.

“What we have consistently demanded is an admission that the quasi-judicial process, which resulted in the conviction of the Ogoni nine, 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.

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