The killing of Ogoni activist and renowned playwright, Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight others (Ogoni 9) in November, 1995 during the Abacha administration reechoed on Friday as President Muhammadu Buhari disclosed that the federal government might consider granting pardon to the Ogoni 9 as part of moves to genuinely integrate the Ogoni people.
This is just as President Buhari urged Ogoni leaders to sensitise their people on why they must value protection of pipelines and national assets in their area.
The President spoke while playing host to Ogoni leaders, led by Gbenemene Tai and President of the Supreme Council of Ogoni Traditional Rulers, His Majesty King Godwin N.K. Giniwa at the State House, Abuja.
President Buhari said: “We are committed to ensuring clemency and national integration as part of this Administration’s bid to lay the foundation for genuine reconciliation and bring closure to the issues of Ogoni Land.
“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.
“Despite the grievous circumstances, the federal government will consider the request for the grant of pardon to finally close the Ogoni saga.”
Recall that Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight others were accused of killing four fellow Ogonis, leading to their arrest and trial by a military tribunal which found them guilty and accordingly sentenced them to death by hanging.
Ken Saro-Wiwa along with eight others namely Saturday Dobee, Nordu Eawo, Daniel Gbooko, Paul Levera, Felix Nuate, Baribor Bera, Barinem Kiobel, and John Kpuine, were executed by hanging on November 10, 1995 and buried in Port Harcourt Cemetery in Rivers State capital.
He said the government would bring to a close all pending issues on sons of Ogoni Land.
“Your Royal Highnesses, distinguished representatives of the people of Ogoni Land, I note the need to ensure completion of segment of the East-West road traversing Ogoni Land, and steps will be taken to ensure delivery under the Infrastructure Development Fund as earlier conceived. We intend to complete this vital artery of Nigeria.”
The President noted that the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company Ltd (NPDC), a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), had been granted license to operate OML11, which will stimulate economic activities and integration in the zone.
Deji Elumoye and Alex Enumah in Abuja