The attention of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) has been drawn to a publication in the Punch Newspapers of Tuesday, November 14, 2017 in which the Nigerian federal house of representatives was quoted to have set aside a motion to honor Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight others on the grounds that they were “duly considered and endorsed”.
MOSOP is shocked at the position taken by the Nigerian lawmakers on the Ogoni executions as it does not only mislead the public but also places a big question on members’ perception of law and justice.
We are deeply saddened by this unfortunate perception and strongly express our displeasure over this position which to us is an anti-Ogoni stance taken by the Nigeria’s house of representatives on the unfortunate killing of our leaders in 1995.
It is indeed pitiable that today’s parliamentarians do not remember that Saro–Wiwa was not only executed, his body was also burnt with acid. To these parliamentarians, could this shame be part of their understanding of “duly considered and endorsed”?
It is quite contemptuous that these comments are coming from direct beneficiaries of Saro-Wiwa’s execution. We recall that the “Ogoni 9” executions led to Nigeria’s suspension from the Commonwealth and triggered international pressure forcing Nigeria to return to democratic rule in 1999.
For the avoidance of any ambiguity, MOSOP is less concerned about ‘a minute silence” in honor of Saro-Wiwa” and the other 8 victims. MOSOP is however concerned about the seeming endorsement of injustice by the Nigerian house of representatives when it noted that the executions were “duly considered and endorsed”.
It is regrettable that a sham is been considered to have passed due process. A trial in which the conclusion was decided before the trial commenced, a trial in which the victims were denied every right to fair hearing including the right to appeal.
We consider these comments a national embarrassment and on behalf of the Ogoni ethnic nationality profoundly express our indignation of this discrimination and injustice which is been prosecuted against our people.
However, we commend Hon. Kingsley Chinda (PDP – Rivers) and all other legislators who supported this motion for their good intentions in recognizing the sacrifices and contributions of Ken Saro-Wiwa to the enthronement of democracy and for a free and just Nigerian society.
We want to state unequivocally that the 1995 hanging of Ken Saro-Wiwa and 8 others is not only a permanent stain on the conscience of our nation and our claims to being a free society, it is a national shame that the Nigerian government would have been curious to erase by addressing the issues that led to its occurrence viz-a–viz the complaints of the Ogoni people as contained in the Ogoni Bill of Rights.
The 1995 hangings is one of the darkest and most painful history of the Ogoni people. But even in death, we still hold Ken Saro-Wiwa in very high esteem and as a people with very long memory, we cannot so easily forget the circumstances in which the Nigerian authorities killed these innocent 9 on November 10, 1995. The Ogoni people reject every mockery of their sacrifices for the people.
Indeed, we have been severely battered, not only by the 1995 hangings, the scars of a series of state sponsored repression which came with it remain with us till date. We however do not want to be convinced that a civilian parliament that should stand for the people will make us feel,, while we still nurse our injuries, that we are hated, rejected and condemned in our own country.
The house’ position on the execution of our leaders in 1995 indeed frightens us and re-enforces our fears that Nigeria is not seriously committed to social justice and human rights.
We wish therefore that the house members will double-check and update themselves on the 1995 executions and they will conclude that the following world leaders would not have been wrong in their outrage and comments on the trial and executions:
This is judicial murder. I do not see how Nigeria could now remain in the Commonwealth – John Major, former British Prime Minister
This is “state murder” – Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi, Former Nigeria’s External Affairs Minister.
We will “recommend Nigeria’s suspension until a democratic government was elected”. – Nelson Mandella, former South African President
“This heinous act offends our values and darkens our hope for democracy in the region,” – Madeleine Albright., former American Ambassador to the United Nations.
“It is my view that the breaches of fundamental rights are so serious as to arouse grave concern that any trial before this tribunal will be fundamentally flawed and unfair” – Leading British counsel, Michael Birnbaum
At this point, it is our wish to leave the Nigerian parliament to judge itself, hopefully learn to respect our sensibilities, and rethink the implications of backing injustice in our country.
The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People(MOSOP)
November 16, 2017