President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed the readiness of his administration to bring to a close all pending issues on sons of Ogoni Land, including the consideration of the request for the grant of pardon to the outspoken author and playwright Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other Niger Delta activists.
Saro-Wiwa, Saturday Dobee, Nordu Eawo, Daniel Gbooko, Paul Levera, Felix Nuate, Baribor Bera, Barinem Kiobel, and John Kpuine, executed by hanging November 10, 1995 by the military junta of General Sani Abacha were buried in Port Harcourt Cemetery.
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The President spoke Friday while receiving some leaders and people of Ogoni Land at the State House, Abuja.
“Your Royal Highnesses, distinguished representatives of the people of Ogoni Land, I note the need to ensure completion of segment of the East-West road traversing Ogoni Land, and steps will be taken to ensure delivery under the Infrastructure Development Fund as earlier conceived. We intend to complete this vital artery of Nigeria.
“Furthermore, we are committed to ensuring clemency and national integration as part of this Administration’s bid to lay the foundation for genuine reconciliation and bring closure to the issues of Ogoni Land.
“The unfortunate incidents of the early 1990s leading to the loss of lives of distinguished sons of Ogoni Land and the collateral judicial processes are indelible in our memories.
“Despite the grievous circumstances, the Federal Government will consider the request for the grant of pardon to finally close the Ogoni saga,’’ President Buhari said.
He urged Ogoni leaders to sensitize indigenes on value of protecting national assets like pipelines and other oil installations.
He said willful damages usually created more havoc on their environment and hampered development in the area.
President Buhari, in a statement issued by his spokesman, Femi Adesina, said the Federal Government was committed to the cleaning up of Ogoni Land so that indigenes could regain their lives, return to farms and reactivate economic activities.
The President said bad industry practices coupled with security challenges had resulted in massive spills with attendant environmental degradation of Ogoni, leading to agitations and strife.
The President, however, said the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company Ltd (NPDC), a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), had been granted license to operate OML11, which will stimulate economic activities and integration in the zone.
President Buhari said he was aware of the passage of the Bill on the Federal University of Environmental Technology by the National Assembly and awaits transmission for further necessary action.
In his remarks, the President of the Supreme Council of Ogoni Traditional Rulers, His Majesty King Godwin N.K. Giniwa, thanked President Buhari for various interventions in the area, particularly on clean-up of the environment.
The paramount ruler said the people believed in the unity of Nigeria and the future of every group could only be guaranteed in one nation.