Nigeria’s number one man, President Muhammadu Buhari has revealed that he may grant state pardon to the late environmental activist, Ken Saro-Wiwa and others executed at the height of the Ogoni crisis in the 1990s, according to Tribune.
The President gave the indication when some leaders and people of Ogoniland visited him at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Friday, Tribune reports.
The activists, who became known as Ogoni 9, were from the Ogoni region and had opposed the operating practices of the Royal Dutch Shell oil corporation.
They were author and playwright Ken Saro-Wiwa, Saturday Dobee, Nordu Eawo, Daniel Gbooko, Paul Levera, Felix Nuate, Baribor Bera, Barinem Kiobel, and John Kpuine.
They were executed in 1995 by the military dictator, General Sani Abacha.
President Buhari noted that despite the gravity of the circumstances, the Nigerian Government will consider the request to grant them a pardon and bring closure to the case.
He said: “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 Ogoniland.
“The unfortunate incidents of the early 1990s leading to the loss of lives of distinguished sons of Ogoniland 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 urged the Ogoni leaders to sensitise indigenes to the importance of protecting national assets like pipelines and other oil installations.
According to him, deliberate damages usually wreak more havoc on their environment and hamper development.
He also noted that his regime is committed to cleaning up Ogoniland so that indigenes can return to farms and reactivate economic activities.
A statement issued by Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity further quoted the president as saying, “Your Royal Highnesses, distinguished representatives of the people of Ogoniland, I note the need to ensure completion of a segment of the East-West road traversing Ogoniland, 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.”
According to him, the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company Ltd (NPDC), a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), had been granted a license to operate OML11, which will stimulate economic activities and integration in the zone.