SaharaReporters Publisher, Omoyele Sowore, has wondered why the late environmentalist, Ken-Saro-Wiwa, was yet to be immortalised.
Sowore while speaking on the latest episode of The Green Room tagged ‘Environmental activism and its role towards achieving sustainable development: Lessons from Ken Saro-Wiwa, said the country owes history a duty to investigate who and who were responsible for killing Saro-Wiwa and disclosed the conspiracies behind the oil company site or the multinationals.
The human rights activist said environmental protection agencies in Nigeria were working for the violators of the environment.
He said, “So the Nigerian Army, police could easily be brought or hired to go and to enter an helicopter hired by Shell to go and shoot the villagers. Infact, Shell has its own police at a point and they call them Shell Police and they don’t even hide it, they pay them special salaries, they are the ones who buy weapons for them and arm them, so when you have that, is like double tragedy for you, because now you don’t have any independent agency of government that is evenly willing to corrobate and fight on the side of people who are fighting for the dignity of the environment.
“To accept the legacy of Ken Saro-Wiwa, first the country owes history a duty to investigate who and who were responsible for killing Ken Saro-Wiwa and what were the conspiracies behind the oil company site or the multinationals. You know, there are paper trails, who were the persons who carried out the handling? To let you know that they’re not interested, the judge, Ibrahim Auta who sentenced him to death unjustly eventually became the Chief Judge of the Federal High court of Nigeria, the prosecutor who helped prosecute Ken Saro-Wiwa eventually became the President of the Nigeria Bar Association.
“These are recent history, one of the judge advocates who was on the panel that killed him is currently the Director-General of customs in Nigeria, Hameed Ibrahim Ali. So all of them had social promotions, they are still in the system. So if this happens in any sane country, those guys are supposed to be in jail or answering to some kind of sanction for what they did or be made to at least explain how they all ended up in the scheme or someone driving all of that process. But what did we do in Nigeria? Everybody who participated in the crime, they’re doing very well except Ken Saro-Wiwa and his family. And you probably heard that his body has never been really found because they said they poured acid on him (I can’t confirm that) after he was gone.
“Three of his kids have died since this thing started, you know his son who came to work with the Nigerian Government at that time died I think two years ago. One of his son died of COVID this year. His 13-year-old boy died when he started the activism and so Ken Saro-Wiwa lost pretty much everything but the Nigeria state didn’t lose anything, the people who killed him didn’t lose anything, they are doing well in the system. So that’s what is wrong. His legacy is also declinable for Ogoni land even though the United Nation has come and said the Ogoni land needs total clean up. Till today, they have not. In fact, they are saying that three days ago that they re-awarded the contract again for the cleanup of Ogoni Land.
“You know, the army, the police, the press system is still going after the little activism that is left in Ogoni land. They are still there actively hunting down activists in the area. So, what legacy are we talking about? The only legacy he left is in the minds of people around the world who appreciate what he did not the Nigerian Government that I know of. There’s still no Ken Saro-Wiwa University or Ken Saro-Wiwa Highway or Ken Saro-Wiwa streets in Abuja, all the street in Abuja are named after the criminals who looted Nigeria, Babaginda, Obasanjo, Buhari, Dongoyaro, all these criminals they are the ones who have barracks, theaters and all kinds of public buildings named after them as we speak.
“So Nigeria must reached that point as well that the Black Lives Matter has ignited all over the world, the slave masters and their status are being toppled. The status of the oppressors and the destroyers and the robbers who put Nigeria in the condition it is today, but nothing like that is happening yet. So it feels like we have to start the fight all over again.”
Speaking further, Sowore said any Sustainable Development Goals office or any office that is created in Nigeria to further such policies are just another way of wasting money.
He said, “For those of us who know about this SDGs, international policies for local development or international development, we just laugh when we hear that there is an office of the SDG in Nigeria. Any SDG office or any office that is created in Nigeria to further this International policies are just another way of wasting money.
“If you hear about SDG now, next time you’ll hear about the UN they will be in New York annual jamboree and they would bring some 500 people with computers. So I don’t really pay too much attention to when I hear this high ferreting buzzword, SDGs, millennium development, all kinds of buzz words that are used to confuse people here because we don’t pay attention to them, we don’t believe in them and we just create offices so that we tick all the boxes at the UN and oh, yeah, we have an SDG office, that’s our SDG officer and they repeat the same thing everywhere they go to. But on the ground here, we have nothing to show that we’re meeting any of the conditionality for the SDGs that the UN had to put in place.
“So because they come with performance indices and measures, so we just can’t find that we are meeting any of those here. So but when it comes to the flamboyance of presence at the SDGs conferences, I’ll tell you that Nigerians are doing a very good job for they wear the nicest suit, headgear and probably talk the longest, but on the ground here, there’s nothing to show for it.”