Ogoni Day 2024: OLI demands exoneration of Saro-Wiwa, 8 others, compensation.

images description

As the Ogoni ethnic nationality in Rivers State marks the 34th Anniversary of the Ogoni Day, a group, the Ogoni Liberation Initiative, OLI, has reiterated the call on the Federal Government to exonerate late Environment-rights activist, Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogonis murdered during the General Sani Abacha military junta in 1995.

The group also called for compensation to Ogoni and families of the four Ogoni chiefs whose death led to the arrest and subsequent execution of Saro-Wiwa and eight others.

OLI said it came up with the referendum after consultation with critical stakeholders within and outside Ogoni land and over 200 rights groups.

Chief Executive Officer of Ogoni Liberation Initiative, Dr Douglas Fabeke while reading an 8-point referendum to mark this year's Ogoni Day also demanded the immediate dissolution of the board of the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project, HYPREP, over alleged gross mismanagement of funds and incompetence.

OLI said Ogoni people are dissatisfied with HYPREP over the manner in which it has handled the funds released for the clean up.

" 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 the oppressed Ogoni people. Their trial and subsequent execution did not follow the right process of law. Their right to fair hearing and right of appeal were hampered and thwarted. The Ogoni people therefore demand that Ken Saro Wiwa and the eight other Ogonis should be exonerated of all the charges that were pressed against them. The special tribunal lacks independence and impartiality because it was set up by the executive expressly to hear the case, and its members were handpicked to this end. Lieutenant Colonel Hammid Ibrahim Ali, was an active member of the armed forces under the command of Late General Sani Abacha, the head of State, as well lack of any provision for independent review of the tribunal's Judgement, rendered the tribunal judgement partially questionable. And also pay a special compensation to the Ogoni four namely Chief Edward Kobani, Samuel Orage, Theophilus Orage and Mr. Albert Badey, they should be accorded the respect for the their service to the Ogoni people and their contribution to the growth of Rivers State and Nigeria , special compensation and attention be given to the family, as these four leaders were murdered in the presence of the Nigeria security headed by Late Brig-Gen Paul Okuntimo who was a Commander of the former Internal Security Unit Rivers State under the administration of Late General Sani Abacha"

"The Ogoni people call on the President of Nigeria, Bola Ahmed Tinubu to implement fully, all the demands of the Ogoni people as enshrined in the Ogoni Bill of Rights that was presented to the Federal Government of Nigeria in the year 1990.

"The Ogoni people are dissatisfied with the clean-up process of Ogoni land being handled by the Hydro Carbon Pollution and Remediation Project (HYPREP) and the management of funds released for the clean- up of the Ogoni environment. The funds released for the clean-up has been mismanaged as HYPREP has either failed to execute the projects for which the funds were released, or engaged substandard contractors to carry out the projects.

"HYPREP has received several monies for the execution of various projects in Ogoni land. However, none of these projects can be seen anywhere. The few they tried to execute were either awarded to companies with no technical know-how and competence or to their cronies without following the due process of law. We have it on record that seventy-seven (77) companies were given contracts by HYPREP for the purpose of clean-up and remediation of the Ogoni environment. "We therefore demand the dissolution of HYPREP Board.

We also demand for a review of the clean-up process. All the funds released to HYPREP should be investigated. We call on the Federal Government of Nigeria to engage an international independent agency to carry out a review so as to ascertain whether the Ogoni environment is safe or not," the group said. Other demands made by the group to the government includes the decommissioning of all Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, facilities in Ogoniland, establishment of health registry for the people, renovation and rebuilding of dillapidated schools and educational facilities in the area. It also urged President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to set up a panel to investigate the alleged payment of 300 million dollars from OML11 meant for settlement of the Ogoni people to former Rivers State Governor now Federal Capital Territory Minister, Nyesom Wike. The group threatened that if their demands are not met within reasonable time, Ogoni shall cease to be a federating unit in Nigeria as they are prepared to press home their demands both nationally and internationally.