President Muhammadu Buhari has been urged by the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People ( MOSOP ) to start the process of clearing the names of the nine Ogoni martyrs, Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other persons, who were executed in 1995.
MOSOP also appealed to Buhari to initiate the process of giving national honour to the nine martyrs, adding that immortalising the individuals would perfect the quest for national healing and reconciliation.
The President of MOSOP, Legborsi Pyagbara, made this appeal in Port Harcourt during the Memorial Lecture in honour of Ogoni Nine, tagged: ‘Centering Social Justice in Nigeria: Promoting Equality through Effective Participation and Inclusion of Indigenous Minorities the Case of the Ogoni People.
Pyagbara said it was worrisome that after moves by MOSOP and other relevant agencies to get the Federal Government to exonerate the victims and added that no attention had been given to the course of justice for the nine martyrs.
He called on the FG to give national honour and immortalise the nine Ogoni sons in the interest of justice and maintained that it would erase the blot on the nation’s conscience and prove that the current government shared in the pain of the Ogoni people.
Pyagbara said, “As we have said on previous occasions, the process of national healing and reconciliation will not be complete until the Nigerian Government clears the names of the Ogoni Nine. The United Nation’s fact-finding team, which arrived Nigeria on April 1996, passed a verdict that the trial and execution of the Ogoni nine was unjust, unfair, partial and does not meet the requirements of both domestic and international Human Rights laws.
“MOSOP believes that the period of this commemoration provides the government of Nigeria with the opportunity to consummate the process of national healing and reconciliation with Ogoni people by formally clearing the names of the Ogoni Nine of the wrongs and establish a national monument in their honour and memory.
“On this remembrance day, we are sending a strong note of appeal to the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to set in motion the process for clearing the names of the Ogoni Nine.”
Meanwhile, Resident Coordinator, United Nations Development Programme, Nigeria, Dr. Edward Kallon, who was represented by Mr. Willbroad Ngambi, the UN representative in the South-South Geo-political Zone, said justice ensured peace in every society, noting that UN was interested in promoting environment and human rights.
Similarly, Prof. Ben Naanen, a lecturer in the Department of History and Diplomatic Studies, University of Port Harcourt, who delivered a lecture on the topic, ‘The Ogoni Struggle: Ruminations and the Future Unfold,’ expressed worry that despite the huge oil deposit in the area, the Ogoni people were still being marginalised.
Naanen noted that no nation would survive without justice, saying, “Ogoni people are suffering margilisation. They (Ogoni people) are excluded from enjoying the benefit of oil. Instead what the people saw was only pollution. That was not justice and not equity.”
Source: ( Punch Newspaper)