Seventeen years today, precisely on November 10, 1995, the Abacha Military Junta under the instrumentality of the Ogoni Civil Disturbances Tribunal hanged Ken-Saro-Wiwa and 8 other Ogoni activists after a kangaroo trial for alleged murder of four Ogoni leaders. The hangings which was best described by then British Prime Minister, John Major as “… judicial murders” remain the saddest event in the history of our struggle for environmental and social justice in Nigeria.
As we commemorate this important day in the history of our struggle, the Council of Ogoni Professionals (COP International USA)seizes this special opportunity to declare as follows:
Reaffirm MOSOP’s position that Shell remains “persona non-grata” in Ogoniland. No form of oil exploration or exploitation will take place in Ogoniland until the demands enshrined in the Ogoni Bill of Rights (OBR) have been addressed.
Reiterate that Shell must own up to its responsibilities to the Ogoni people by collaborating with the Hydro-Carbon Pollution Restoration Project (HYPREP) to clean up all hydro-carbon polluted areas in Ogoniland; provide other infrastructures such as pipe-borne water, electricity, health facilities, educational and economic opportunities to the impoverished citizens of the area.
Restate our demand that the Nigerian National Assembly create Bori State because it is not only economically viable but a practical way of addressing the developmental challenges facing the Ogoni people and other ethnic nationalities in the proposed state. We also ask that the National Assembly abolish the Land Use Decree that expropriates the land and its resources from the Ogoni people and other nationalities in the Niger-Delta, during the ongoing Constitutional Amendment exercise.
Invite all lovers of freedom and justice, environmentalists, human rights defenders and organizations to join the Council of Ogoni Professionals in its campaign to exonerate Ken Saro-Wiwa and 8 others of the murders they were wrongly executed for as well as accord other departed Ogoni leaders such as Mr. Albert Badey, Chief Edward Kobani, Chief Samuel Orageand others the honor they rightly deserve in Nigeria.
Salute the courage of the Ogoni people and all our supporters for the peaceful conduct of our struggle for human rights and environmental justice in Nigeria.
“Lord take my soul, but let the struggle continue” Ken Saro-Wiwa, November 10, 1995.
Anslem D. John-Miller
(Chairman, Caretaker Committee)
COUNCIL OF OGONI PROFESSIONALS
(COP INTERNATIONAL, USA)