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16th anniversary: Rivers standstill as Ogoni mourn Saro-Wiwa, others

By George Onah
Port Harcourt— Thousands of Ogoni elders, men, women and youths, turned out, Thursday, at Bori, Khana Local Government Area, Rivers State, to mourn Ogoni leader and environmental rights activist, Mr. Ken Saro-Wiwa and 12 others on the 16th anniversary of their death.

Vanguard gathered that businesses were shut, as youths, dressed in black clothes with picture of Saro-Wiwa on their T-shirts, thronged the All Saints Anglican Cathedral, Bori, for a church service as part of activities for the ceremony.

Bishop of Ogoni Diocese, Rt. Rev. Solomon Gberegbara, in his sermon, called on Ogoni people to arise and unite in the actualisation of the struggle for their survival, to remove oppression from their lives.

Leaders of Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People, Mr. Ledum Mitee, said Ogoni would never forget the sacrifice of Ken Saro-Wiwa, Chief Edward Kobani, Albert Badey, Chief Samuel Orage, John Kpuinen, Chief Theophilus Orage, Dr. Barinem Kiobel, Daniel Gbokoo, Baribor Bera, Paul Levura, Nordu Eawo, Felix Nuate, Saturday Dobee and several others in the their struggle for justice.

Mitee said: “The murder of the Ogoni 13, whom we refer to as our martyrs, were no doubt the darkest period in our struggle for justice. But I do assure that despite the challenges, our darkest days are over.

“When we had our trial before the dreaded military tribunal, our leader, Ken Saro-Wiwa was prophetic when he said ‘I and my colleagues are not the only ones on trial. Shell is here on trial and was represented by counsel said to be holding a watching brief.

The company had indeed ducked this particular trial, but its day will surely come. On trial also is the Nigerian nation, its present rulers and all those who assist them.’

“True to the prediction, in the recent past our nation has gone through enormous trials and throes whilst Shell’s days in court have just begun.”


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