The Board of Directors of Ken Saro-Wiwa Foundation (KSWF) says they will not accept the proposal by President Muhammadu Buhari to grant pardon to Saro-Wiwa and eight Ogoni activists executed by the late military dictator, Sani Abacha, in 1995.
In a statement signed on behalf of the board of directors by Dr. Owen Wiwa, the KSWF asked President Buhari to grant their earlier request for the exoneration of Saro-Wiwa and eight others made by the family of the late activist.
“Ken Saro-Wiwa and the other eight Ogonis were not criminals. They were innocent activists unjustly murdered for fighting for a just cause on behalf of their oppressed community.
“The path to true peace in the region begins with justice. The cleaning up of the environment for which they campaigned and died for is a first good step.
“The exoneration of Ken Saro-Wiwa and 8 other Ogoni activists, judicially murdered on November 10 1995 is another step towards peace.
“The family of Ken Saro-Wiwa have made a request for the exoneration of Ken Saro-Wiwa to the President in the past and are still waiting for a response. We urge the President to again consider this request as a path to justice and peace.
“The family and the Foundation have not asked any individual to ask for pardon or clemency for Ken Saro-Wiwa on our behalf, nor are we aware of any group of Ogonis making such a request,” the statement read.
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On Friday, President Buhari had in a statement by his special media aide, Femi Adesina, urged Ogoni leaders to sensitise indigenes on the value of protecting national assets like pipelines and other oil installations.
The president had noted that willful damages usually create more havoc on the environment and hamper development in the area.
In his address to the Ogoni leaders, President Buhari said the Federal Government is committed to the cleaning up of Ogoniland so that indigenes can regain their lives, return to farms and reactivate economic activities.
“You will need to educate the people of Ogoniland and the region more that when pipelines are broken; the damage is more to the immediate environment and the people. The majority farmers and fishermen struggle because the fishes now move to the deep sea,’’ he said.
The President said bad industry practices coupled with security challenges had resulted in massive spills with attendant environmental degradation of Ogoni, leading to agitations and strife.
Buhari also stated that the government would end all pending issues on sons of Ogoniland.
“Your Royal Highnesses, distinguished representatives of the people of Ogoni Land, I note the need to ensure completion of a segment of the East-West road traversing Ogoniland, 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.
“Furthermore, 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 Ogoniland.
“The unfortunate incidents of the early 1990s leading to the loss of lives of distinguished sons of Ogoniland 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,’’ President Buhari noted.
According to the President, the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company Ltd (NPDC), a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), had been granted a license to operate OML11, which will stimulate economic activities and integration in the zone.
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