Presidential Pardon: MOSOP Flays Saro Wiwa’s Exclusion
Prominent Ogoni leaders have reacted to the non inclusion of the name of the late Environmental Rights Activist and former President of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People, (MOSOP) Ken Saro Wiwa among prominent Nigerians granted presidential pardon by the administration of president Mohammadu Buhari.
The President last Wednesday announced pardon and amnesty to some convicted Nigerians including the former civilian Governor of Bendel State, Professor Ambrose Alli and former federal commissioner for information and first republic politician, Chief Anthony Enahoro.
Speaking to The Vortex, the Interim Chairman of MOSOP National Transitional Council (MNTC), Chief Keeper Gbamanor described the president’s action as unfortunate and discouraging.
The chairman stated that Ogoni people are not happy that the demand the Ogoni ethnic nationality that the name of the late, Ken Saro Wiwa be cleared of any crime which resulted in his conviction and subsequent hanging has been ignored by the president.
According to him, the execution of the rights’ activist was a wrong and heinous act that global condemnation and wondered why the President could grant pardon and amnesty to some Nigerians and not include Ken Saro Wiwa.
“We thought he should have used the opportunity of such presidential action to attend to the demands of the Ogoni people. We do not know yet why he decided to continue to ignore the Ogoni people and their demands:” the Mosop leader stated.
Chief Gbaranor who became the interim chairman of the Transitional National Council of Mosop in Jan, 2020, replacing the former President of the body, Legborsi Pyagbara lamented that the late activist never engaged in violent actions against the Nigerian state but was convicted and hanged for no offence committed.
He said the offence purported to have been committed by Late Saro Wiwa cannot be compared to that of former Biafran leader Odumegwu Ojukwu who took arms against the state but was later pardoned by the civilian administration of President Shehu Shagari.
On the pending suit at the Supreme Court of Nigeria seeking to exculpate Ken Saro Wiwa, Chief Gbaranor explained that the case was not instituted by the entire Ogoni people but the group known as Conscience of Ogoni people led by Chief Gani Toba.
He recalled that there were assurances received during the public sitting of the defunct Oputa panel on Human Rights that the late Saro Wiwa could be granted pardon in their recommendation but stated that such expectations never happened.
The transitional chairman expressed worry that the suit at the Supreme Court instituted by the Gani Toba-led group may have hindered the possible consideration of the demands by the Ogoni people.
However, Leader of the conscience of Ogoni people chief Gani Toba in his reaction on phone, said the issue of pardon or amnesty must not be associated with the name of the late Ogoni leader, emphasizing that what the Ogoni people are demanding is the total clearance of his name from the conviction.
“It is an insult to talk of granting pardon or amnesty to Ken. Don’t you know this matter is pending in the Supreme Court of Nigeria? Pardon or amnesty can only be given to those who have committed an offence. Ken did not commit any offense and his name must be cleared of any crime. That is the position of the Ogoni people.” The Ogoni conscience leader declared.
Ken Saro Wiwa a renown environmental and human rights activist was arrested and sentenced to death by hanging in 1985 by the military junta headed by General Sanni Abachi over the crises that took the life of several prominent Ogoni people.