BENIN—As Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria, ERA/FoEN, marks the 16th anniversary of the hanging of Ogoni leader and environmental rights activist, Mr. Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogoni kinsmen in 1995, it flayed the Federal Government for giving in to oil firms’ insatiable appetite for new oil fields.
The rights group warned that the development would only aggravate the environmental challenges in the Niger Delta and instigate more of the kind of tension that led to the hanging of the Ogoni leaders 16 years ago.
ERA/FoEN said this in a statement in Benin to commemorate the death the Ogoni leaders.
The event coincided with the release of a new report by Friends of the Earth International, FoEI, in renewal of its commitment to the struggle for justice for communities that suffer the consequences of extractive industries.
The FoEI report, entitled Memory, Truth and Justice for Heroes in the Resistance Against Mining Oil and Gas, exposes the murders of many human and environmental rights activists all over the world.
The Ogoni nine were executed on November 10, 1995 by the Gen. Abacha regime for mobilising and speaking out against the impact of oil companies’ activities in the Niger Delta.
ERA/FoEN Executive Director, Mr. Nnimmo Bassey, said: “Ken Saro-Wiwa died because of the world’s addiction to fossil fuels. His words still ring true in our ears today. This is why we set November 10 as a day of remembrance of the victims of mining, oil and gas.
“We demand that those who have orchestrated the murder of people for the sake of profits should be held to account. We also demand environmental justice and an end to fossil fuels: be it crude, tar sands or coal.
“Three months after the submission of the United Nations Environmental Programme assessment, UNEP, of Saro-Wiwa’s homeland, there is nothing to show that government will compel Shell to clean up its mess. This is simply outrageous.”
Romel de Vera, coordinator of the Resisting Mining, Oil and Gas programme of FoEI, said: “We condemn the fact that many governments favour and protect the interests of extractive industry corporations instead of the right of communities to land and resources.
“The list of community rights defenders, environmentalists and social activists killed in the course of their struggle against mining, oil and gas continues to grow even longer.
“On November 10, remembrance actions are held all over the world to commemorate their heroism and celebrate their lives and struggles, as well as to condemn the culture and cycle of death forced upon us by the extractive industry.”