20 Years On, Nigerians Remember Ken Saro-Wiwa

November 10, 2015

On November 10th 1995, Ken Saro-Wiwa and 8 other MOSOP leaders were executed by Nigerian military personnel.

Their deaths led to a national and international outcry and resulted in Nigeria’s suspension from the Commonwealth Nations for four years.

MOSOP (Movement for the Survivial for the Ogoni People) fought against the unregulated and illegal activities of oil companies such as Shell.

The activities of these oil companies resulted in severe environmental degradation of the Niger Delta region among other things.

 In 1993, Saro-Wiwa and 8 other MOSOP chiefs were arrested and tried for the murder of 4 Ogoni chiefs.

Ken Saro-Wiwa and the other 8 men continuously denied their involvement and 2 years later, while in prison, they were woken in their sleep and hanged.

The secret trial and conviction of Saro-Wiwa and his colleagues, the failure to allow an appeal and the subsequent murders of the 9 men showed the many flaws of our then military-regime.

Today, 20 years later, Nigerians all over the world remember the legend of Ken Saro-Wiwa.

Saro-Wiwa was known as an environmental activist, Ogoni leader, poet and writer who campaigned against the pollution caused by the oil industry in the Niger Delta region. For his heroic activism he was awarded the Goldman environmental prize.

Many are angered by the Nigerian Customs refusal to allow the art piece in honour of Saro-Wiwa into the country.

The Bus memorial to Ken Saro-Wiwa and the other 8 Ogoni men was made by artist Sokari Douglas Camp in 2006.

Saro-Wiwa’s supporters are also calling for a posthumous pardon.

And rightly so!

His son, Ken Saro-Wiwa junior, continues to speak on his father’s legacy.

And today released an article in remembrance.

While the Ogoni people have won 2 landmark cases against Shell, the multinational is yet to clean up Ogoniland and the Niger Delta region.

But because of the great work and heroism of Ken Saro-Wiwa and others, these unfortunate crimes against the Niger Delta people have not gone unnoticed.

Ken Saro-Wiwa (October 10, 1941 – November 10, 1995), a true Nigerian hero.

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