June 12: Rivers Youths beg Buhari to immortalise Saro-Wiwa

A Rivers youth group, Ogoni Youth  Federation has on Friday begged President Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to bestow a national honour and also clear the name of the renowned human and environmental rights activist, Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogoni martyrs who were extra-judicially executed by late General Sani Abacha on November 10, 1995.

The youths through a statement released on Friday and signed by its President, Legborsi Yamaabana, said it was pertinent for Buhari to also address the issue of the Ogoni genocide as well as the Ogoni Bill of Rights after addressing the clamour of the Yoruba in recognising June 12 as Nigeria’s Independence Day in honour of the late Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola.

The youths also urged the President to, in the spirit of democracy, order the immediate release of Saro-Wiwa’s memorial bus artifact which was made in the United Kingdom by a Nigerian artist, Sokari Camp and sent to Nigeria, but was impounded at a Lagos port by the Nigeria Customs Service.

“It is also worthy to note that allies of the Ogoni people and Ken Saro-Wiwa in the United Kingdom (UK) led by an artist, Sokari Doughlas Camp created a bus in Living Memory of Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight of his lieutenants. After being on display at various places in the United Kingdom for nine years, the bus was shipped from London to Nigeria via Lagos Port.

“On arrival in Lagos, it was impounded by the Nigerian Customs on the orders of the Controller General of Custom, Col. Hamid Ali (rtd), who was a member of the kangaroo tribunal that sentenced the renowned Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight others, otherwise known as Ogoni nine to death by hanging.

“All efforts by Ogoni Youths and other pressure groups to get the bus released to Ogoni people have  proved abortive.”

Speaking on behalf of the youths, Yamaabana said the process of national healing and reconciliation will not be complete until the Nigerian Government bestows a national honor on the late Ken Saro-Wiwa and also clear his name and that of the Ogoni Nine of wrongdoing.

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