November 10, 1995 the Military junta under the leadership of the late dictator General Sani Abacha executed the late Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other members of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) after hurried trial by a panel condemned by the vast majority of human rights organizations in the world.
These individuals were at the forefront of championing for the causes of the downtrodden and the helpless people of the Niger-delta region whose source of livelihood and ecosystem has been destroyed by the exploration of oil in the region by oil companies that have contributed little or nothing to enhance their livelihood and terrorized them with private military groups who used intimidation to coerce complicity from the communities in which firms drilled for oil.
Ken Saro-Wiwa was one of the first sons of Ogoni to take the agitation for stronger environmental laws from the Nigerian government by shaming the government in international spheres through liteature. A seasoned writer, Saro-Wiwa used his books as another platform of activism, documenting the plight of his countrymen and advocating for international aid and human rights agencies to intervene. This came to an abrupt end after they were arrested by the federal government for killing some ogoni elders that were opposed to their agitations which they denied.
All efforts and intervention by foreign countries and international bodies and individuals including the Pope to spare their lives as a result of the trumped up charges was rebuffed by the Abacha government which later went ahead to execute the men on the 10th of November 1995 which elicited wide condemnations for the country.
It was further reported that the bodies of these activists were burnt with acid by their traducers. The sad reality of their death is evident today in the region they died for, the Niger-delta region of Nigeria.
The situation in the region today is more precarious than before, the ecosystem has been further depleted, the waters are not fit for fishing and not fit for drinking. The oil spillage in Ogoni is still unattended to twenty two years after the death of these activists. The inauguration of the Ogoni clean up by the buhari led government has been more of camouflage than anything else as the cleaning is yet to commence fully after the celebrated flag off by the Vice President.
Militancy activities including oil bunkering, kidnapping and other vices are the other of the day in the region. The federal government intervention agency, the NDDC is more of a cash cow for unscrupulous politicians in the region rather than being a developmental organisation.
At what point will the deaths of Ken Saro-Wiwa and the Ogoni 9 matter to the successive governments who continue to profit from Niger Deltan land? At what point will they listen?