SARO WIWAIn remembrance of his untiring struggle for justice and a good environment, rights activists Sunday commemorated the death of playwright and activist, Ken Saro-Wiwa, 18 years after his execution.

The occasion, according to the activists under the aegis of Environmental Right Action/Friends of the Earth (ERA/FoEN), was a call on all campaigners to continue to preserve territories, support environmental right defenders, resist corporate rule and seek justice for communities affected by dirty energy.

In a related development, a coalition of 75 rights groups in Africa Sunday tasked United States (U.S.) President, Barrack Obama, to “reject further extraction and exploitation of fossil fuels, including natural gas, oil, coal and unconventional fossil fuels,” as part of his Power Africa initiative.

In an open letter to Obama as the United Nations (UN) Climate Convention opens in Warsaw, Poland Monday, the coalition said an alternative to fossil fuel extraction that supports small-scale, decentralized, community-owned renewable energy initiatives should be pursued throughout the African countryside and cities.

Meanwhile, the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) has concluded plans for series of non-violent protest to demonstrate its displeasure at the Federal Government’s failure to implement the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report two years after it was released.

Also, the Ogonis have threatened to invoke the provisions of the Genocide Convention against the Nigerian government over its attitude to the plight of the people, MOSOP President, Legborsi Saro Pyagbara, disclosed yesterday during the 18th anniversary of the death of Saro Wiwa and eight others.

“This government wants us to continue to drink the poisoned water and die, to continue to breathe the poisoned air and die, and to continue to live on the polluted lands and die. The Dr. Goodluck Jonathan administration is presiding over the final liquidation of the Ogoni nationality and we will not accept it.”

Saro-Wiwa was the Ogoni spokesperson, and then MOSOP President, who led a non-violent campaign against environmental degradation of Ogoniland and waters by multinational oil industries.

At the peak of his campaign, he and eight others were arrested, tried and executed by the military government of now late Gen. Sani Abacha on charges believed to be politically motivated and unfounded.

The Executive Director of Friends of the Earth Nigeria (FoEN), Godwin Ojo, said at Sunday’s commemoration in Lagos that the aggressive extraction of fossil fuel and other forms of dirty energy have continued unabated 18 years after that execution, thereby instigating injustice, oppression and ecological genocide in the Niger Delta and many other parts of Africa and the world.


[The Guardian]