Sixteen civil society organisations have called on President Muhammadu Buhari, to honour slain Ogoni environmentalist, Kenule Saro-Wiwa, the same way he honoured the presumed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, late Chief Moshood Abiola.
Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogoni leaders was tried and hanged on November 10, 1995 by the regime of former military Head of State, late General Sani Abacha, for alleged involvement in the murder of four other Ogoni leaders.
The groups, in a statement issued shortly after a peaceful procession in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital yesterday, said what the nine Ogoni leaders needed was an exoneration and not pardon.
The statement, which was signed by Rev. Nnimmo Bassey, Celestine Akpobari, and eight others, said Saro-Wiwa and others did not commit any known offence for them to be pardoned.
The statement reads in part: “Ogonis have over the past two decades consistently demanded that an admission that a quasi-judicial process which resulted in the conviction of the Ogoni nine was a mockery of justice orchestrated by the military government with the active collaboration of Shell to quell community demands for resource and ecological justice.
“It is important to note that no civil society organisation in Nigeria has asked for a presidential ‘pardon’ for Ken Saro-WIwa, Saturday Sober, Nordu Eawo, Daniel Gbooko, Paul Levera, Felix Nuate, Baridor Bera, Barinem Kiobel and John Kpuine, who were unjustly murdered by the Sani Abacha dictatorship.
“Civil society groups maintain that it is important to reiterate that proposing an unnecessary ‘pardon’ for the Ogoni nine, seemingly in exchange for support to reopen OML 11, is in bad faith and capable of breeding conflict.”