The apex decision-making organ of the Ogoni people, Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) has rejected the planned pardon of the late Ogoni leader and sage, Mr. Ken Saro-Wiwa and others executed by the late Head of State, General Sani Abacha, in November 1995.
MOSOP insisted that the Ogoni heroes were innocent of the charge for which they were executed and should be exonerated.
It also opposed the planned resumption of oil exploration in Ogoni, particularly by an indigenous firm, Sahara Energy.
Rising from a two-day meeting of the group’s executive Steering Committee in Port Harcourt on October 25 and 26, the group argued in its communiqué that their fallen heroes were innocent.
The communique was signed by the President and Publicity Secretary, Chief Nuyete Biira, and Publicity Secretary, Dr. Young Nkpah, respectively.
MOSOP called on the federal government to clear the names of her fallen heroes of culpability for murder.
“That Mr. President acknowledged rightly and described the processes and execution of the Ogoni activists as ‘unfortunate’ implies that the processes were not only flawed but ought not to have happened.
“The haste with which the execution was carried out even when the period of clemency has not elapsed and pleas from the international community ignored, expressed the bias of the then military government against our compatriots. Therefore, the best any civil government would do in this case is to clear their names by declaring them innocent and abolish the death penalty as practised in all civilised countries of the world”.
While the committee commended President Muhammadu Buhari for committing to completing the Ogoni axis of the East-West Road, it urged Buhari to march this policy statement with action.
It also made a similar appeal to the president of the Federal University of Environmental Technology, Saakpenwaa, adding that the National Assembly should expedite action on the transmission of the bill to Mr. President.
The communique said that MOSOP would be setting up a technical committee that would carry out further and robust consultations with appropriate stakeholders in Ogoniland
On the issue of oil exploration in Ogoniland, MOSOP insisted that before any exploration can resume in the area, the people must be consulted.
It said any attempt to resume oil exploration through the backdoor would be strongly resisted by the people.
The communiqué read in part: “That while we are not opposed to the resumption of oil production in Ogoni, we are opposed to the primitive and conflict-laden approach being adopted. We insist that for oil extraction to resume, it must be preceded by a broad-based consultation and agreements reached with the people”.
The committee further said it “rejects the confirmed understanding between NNPC, NPDC, and some top Abuja-based politicians and their collaborators to sublet OML 11 to Sahara Energy, which represents the economic interest of the aforementioned groups.
“It vowed to mobilise the people to resist any attempt by any company to enter Ogoni through the back door to explore and exploit our oil and gas resources without our social licence.
The committee maintained that for any discussion to commence, “the investor must be prepared to cede an acceptable percentage of its equity share to the Ogoni community”.
Alex Enumah in Abuja