By Ruth Tene Natsa, Abuja
Oilwatch groups including Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), Earthlife Johannesburg, CAPPA, Kabetkache Women Development Centre, Centre for Environmental Justice (Togo) yesterday remembered the Ogoni 9 and other martyrs of extractivism across the world.
This remembrance is coming 27 years after his execution on, November 10, 1995, alongside eight other Ogoni leaders, their spirit lives on and the struggle they led continues to inspire the resistance to ecological crimes by extractive companies in Nigeria and around the world.
While he was alive, Ken Saro-Wiwa said “We are going to demand our rights peacefully, nonviolently and we shall win. I tell you this, I may be dead but my ideas will not die.” These words remain emblazoned on his tomb.
The death of the Ogoni leaders followed a brutal crackdown by the Nigerian government on peaceful demonstrators who were frustrated by the destruction of their land and livelihoods. Ken Saro-Wiwa was executed along with the eight Ogoni leaders: Saturday Dobee, Nordu Eawo, Daniel Gbooko, Paul Levera, Felix Nuate, Baribor Bera, Barinem Kiobel, and John Kpuine.
Twenty-seven years later, despite witnesses accepting they had been bribed to testify falsely against the activists, justice has still not been served. We demand an exoneration of Ken Saro-Wiwa and all martyrs of extractivism
An environmental activist and the Director of Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) stated that Nnimmo Bassey, said “Today as we remember Ken Saro-Wiwa and the eight Ogoni leaders who were wrongfully executed by the Nigerian state on November 10 1995, we also call to mind the several earth and human rights defenders who have been martyred across the world by, or for, fossil fuel and mining corporations. Blood has flowed, our lands have been polluted, and the world is heating. We demand justice for our heroes, a halt to dependence on fossil fuels — the real climate action— and a restoration of all polluted lands and reparation for ecocide.”
As the World discusses the deteriorating climate concerns at the ongoing COP27, the need to shift away from dirty energy has never been more urgent.
“In honour of climate protectors whose lives were brutally cut short the UNFCCC needs to have a clause in the negotiated climate convention that ensures protection of those upholding the rights of nature, planet, and people,” says Makoma Lakelakala of Earthlife Johannesburg
Team Leader at Peoples Advancement Centre, Nigeria, Celestine Akpobari, shared that “On this occasion, we want to remind the world that the situation of things in Ogoni are far worse than they were in the days of Ken Saro-Wiwa. It has been said during this climate change conference that the world is on a speed lane to climate Hell, but I want to say that Ogoni people have been there all these years.”
Akpobari further stated that “The planned forceful resumption of oil operations in Ogoni land should be halted as it is capable of provoking conflict. We also resist the new scramble for African oil and gas.”
The Director Kabetkache Women Development and Resource Centre in Nigeria Emem Okon noted that “As we remember Ken Saro-Wiwa and other martyrs today, we pledge to carry on with their messages, and insist that all