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26 years after, Buhari mulls pardoning Ken Saro-Wiwa, 8 other Ogoni activists



26 years after, Buhari mulls pardoning Ken Saro-Wiwa, 8 other Ogoni activists

President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed interest in granting a posthumous presidential pardon to Ken SaroWiwa and eight other Ogoni activists.

Mr. Saro-Wiwa and eight of his parents, known as Ogoni Nine, were sentenced to death on November 10, 1995 by a special military court set up by the Nigerian government headed by General Sani Abacha.

Buhari gave the indication on Friday when he received some of the land chiefs led by the Chairman of the Supreme Council of Ogoni Traditional Chiefs, His Majesty King Godwin NK Giniwa, at the State House, Abuja.

He said: “Despite the dramatic circumstances, the federal government will consider the request for pardon to finally bring the Ogoni saga to a close.

“In addition, we pledge to ensure leniency and national integration as part of this administration’s attempt to lay the groundwork for true reconciliation and end the problems of the Ogoni land.

“The unfortunate incidents of the early 1990s which resulted in the deaths of distinguished sons of Ogoni Land and the collateral legal proceedings are indelible in our memories,” President Buhari noted.

The president urged Ogoni leaders to work for the protection of national assets such as pipelines and other oil facilities, saying that intentional damage usually wreaks more havoc on their environment and hinders development in the region.

He noted that the federal government is committed to clearing the Ogoni land so that the natives can regain their lives, return to the farms and reactivate economic activities.

“You will need to educate the people of Ogoni Land and the region more that when pipelines are broken the damage is done more to the surrounding environment and to the people. The majority of farmers and fishermen are struggling because the fish are now moving to deep water, ”he said.

The president said bad industry practices coupled with safety concerns had resulted in massive spills with accompanying environmental degradation of Ogoni, leading to unrest and conflict.

He said the government would put an end to all outstanding issues regarding the sons of the land Ogoni.

“Your Royal Highnesses, distinguished representatives of the people of Ogoni Land, I note the need to ensure the completion of the segment of the east-west road crossing Ogoni Land, and steps will be taken to ensure delivery within the framework of the Infrastructure development fund as previously designed. We intend to complete this vital Nigeria artery.

According to the president, the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company Ltd (NPDC), a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), had obtained a license to operate the OML11, which will stimulate economic activities and integration in the region.

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