Twenty-one years after their public executions, the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) has urged the Federal Government to review the death sentences passed on the late environmentalist, Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogoni leaders.
The leading apex Ogoni socio-cultural organisation made the call in a statement issued on Thursday by its public secretary, Fegalo Nsuke, saying such a review would demonstrate the commitment of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to correct past wrongs.
The late environmentalist was executed along with Saturday Dobee, Nordu Eawo, Daniel Gbooko, Paul Levera, Felix Nuate, Baribor Bera, Barinem Kiobel and John Kpuine on November 10, 1995 for their alleged involvement in a crisis in Ogoniland leading to the death of four other Ogoni leaders.
The execution of the Ogoni 9 was visited with protests from prominent Nigerians, including the Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, who unsuccessfully pleaded with the then Head of State, the late General Sani Abacha, not to ratify their death sentences by the military tribunal set up to try them.
MOSOP said it remembered the martyrs of the Ogoni struggle, particularly the Ogoni 9, adding that its stance was a call for patriotism and the need to sustain the collective struggle for a just and fair system.
“Today keeps in our memory, the sacrifices of our heroes; it ignites the realities of their innocence, their unfair trial and the pains of how they were hurriedly and brutally killed by the Nigerian government on November 10, 1995.
“The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) calls on the Nigerian government to review the sentences passed on Ogoni leaders 21 years ago by a military tribunal in Port Harcourt.
“A review of the sentences will demonstrate that the present government would not have acted in the way of the military authorities in 1995; that today’s Nigeria is truly committed to right the wrongs of the past and to set Nigeria on the path of a just society committed to civilised values.
“‘To the Ogoni people, November 10 is a call for patriotism, to sustain our collective struggle for a just and fair system and to stand up against injustice at all times, wherever it surfaces.
“November 10 is a call on all Ogonis and the entire minorities of Nigeria to uphold the peaceful methods which Ken Saro-Wiwa promoted and to ensure that the sacrifices of our fallen heroes do not go in vain,” the statement read.