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CONSTRUCTION OF PRISON, CEMETERY IN OGONI

…MOSOP Warns On Projects

…Demand Clemency For Slain Leaders

Ogoni activists have rejected the ongoing construction of a Federal Prison and Cemetery projects in Ogoni land by the FederalGovernment twenty five years after renowned environmental activist and former leader of the apex Ogoni cultural organization, Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) and others were killed by the Military Government of General Sani Abacha.

According to the MOSOP Coordinating Committee at a memorial lecture in honour of late Ken Saro Wiwa and the other Ogoni leaders, the construction of a prison and cemetery in the area was a ploy to further incarcerate and kill Ogoni people over their continued agitation for the control of their resources.

Dr. Gbenemene Kpae and Comrade Celestine Akpobari said the Ogoni people were not consulted in the decision to build the prison and cemetery project in the area, insisting that the original plan to establish a research centre in the area has now been converted into a prison and cemetery project.

“We demand for justice and equity. Ogoni land should not be used for the implementation of criminal justice system in Nigeria. The prison and cemetery project is to continue to annihilate and imprison Ogoni people.  We say no to prison and cemetery in Ogoniland” they stated.

Ogoni people, they added, will continue to oppose all forms of oil exploitation and exploration in the area until Ken Saro Wiwa and the eight other murdered Ogoni leaders are exonerated from the alleged crime against them.

They called for accelerated implementation of the cleanup of the devastated Ogoni environment in line with the United Nations recommendation emphasizing that the Ogoni people desire to breath fresh and unpolluted air after twenty five years of continued struggles.

Civil society organizations and other human right activists have also demanded for environmental audit of the entire Niger Delta region.

Rising from the 25th memorial environmental summit put together by various groups; including the Environmental Rights Actiions/Friends of the Earth, Nigeria (ERAFEN), Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) held in honour of the late environmental activists in Port Harcourt, the groups declared that an urgent environmental audit of the Delta region should be undertaken and the late Ken Saro Wiwa and his 8 Ogoni compatriots should be officially exonerated of any convicted crimes.

They demanded that the federal government should pay the Ogoni nation compensation for decades of injustice including, environmental pollution, displacements and deprivations from the benefits of the resources in their land adding that a judicial panel of inquiry should be instituted to review the circumstances of the gruesome murder of Ken Saro Wiwa and other leaders.

They also called for the immediate release of the Ken Saro Wiwa Memorial bus seized by the Nigerian Custom Services.

Other demands of the summit included; that the Rivers State Government should take necessary steps to remove the names of the late military head of state, Gen. Sani Abacha and other actors responsible for the miscarriage of justice and killing of the Ogoni leader in 1995, from all edifices and archives of the state.

They urged the federal government to halt the growing cases of suppression of the rights of the Niger Delta people and peaceful protesters in the country.

The event which had the theme; “The Nigerian Environment and Lessons Learnt,” was attended by prominent environmental rights activists and groups including Dr. Nnimmo Bassey, Director of HOMEF, coordinator of oil watch, Togo, Kwami Kpondoz, South Africans, Patrick Bond and Bobby Peak of Groundwork and Steve Kriesemann of the United nations. 

The 25th anniversary event held in Bori, Khana Local Government featured the unveiling of the Ken Saro Wiwa Memorial Park built in Bane, the hometown of the late environmental activist.

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