I think it’s worth a Thread.
It shows that Saro-Wiwa was also human like any of us but he was exceptionally courageous and dogged in spite of his human flaws.
He wrote a popular play which was adapted for TV when we were younger “Basi and Company”.
He was from Ogoni - an oil-producing area in Rivers State which has several villages.
He rallied the Ogonis alongside Edward Kobani to support the federal side and in the 70s became a Regional Commissioner in Rivers State.
IBB appointed him to work in MAMSER which was like a social mobilisation or propaganda outfit in 1989 and Saro-Wiwa left the following year.
Saro-Wiwa got involved with the pro-Democracy movement and added that to his cause so by 1993, he went all out against the IBB regime.
1993 was declared the International Year of the World’s Indigenous People by the UN.
So Saro-Wiwa fixed January 4th 1993 as the date for a mass rally for the Ogonis to bring world attention to their plight.
Some Ogoni youths symbolically took over an oil-field in an area called Bomu which Shell had abandoned once the protest was announced.
Several of them were subsequently invited by the SSS including Edward Kobani and the MOSOP President Garrick Leton.
The Elders capitulated to the IBB regime and issued a press statement promising that there would be no more protests in Ogoni but the youths who supported Saro-Wiwa debunked them.
Soldiers opened fire on the crowd: 1 or more killed, 11 injured.
The elections to be held on June 12 of the same year found Saro-Wiwa calling for a boycott but Kobani insisted the Ogonis participate fully.
Allegations of intimidation by Saro-Wiwa’s NYCOP followed as Edward Kobani claimed the youths had surrounded his house all day to prevent him from going out to vote.
IBB therefore had Saro-Wiwa arrested.
IBB relented and released him. Saro-Wiwa later wrote a memoir on it called “A Month and A Day”.
The worst was however yet to come for the Ogonis who had become radical in keeping oil companies out of their land.
Claude Ake’s panel also confirmed the same and the Prof even wept when he saw how devastating the military had been.
“Wasting targets cutting across communities and leadership cadre’s especially vocal individuals … Wasting operations coupled with psychological tactics of displacement/wasting as noted above”.
The military regime’s solution was to kill as many people as stood for the protection of the Ogoni environment.
Okuntimo’s RSISTF would then step in under the guise of peacemaker and kill more Ogonis.
Her name is Geraldine Brooks and you can read her story if you google it.
Okuntimo once forced an Ogoni Chief at gunpoint to confer a title on him.
Back to Wiwa and Kobani though: the schism in MOSOP though kept growing wider and got worse with the Shell/Wilbros incident mentioned earlier where one person was killed.
Before he got back, MOSOP leaders had settled with Shell/Wilbros for 1m whereas the initial demand had been 7.9m.
Wiwa even claimed that he had negotiated with Shell abroad for
This announcement won him more followers and he labelled the Elders as “vultures” who had sold the Ogonis cheaply under the guise of needing money for burial funds for the dead victim.
In a letter written to Kobani and seen by Father Matthew Kukah, Wiwa was quite rude to the man.
He was at this time being addressed by the youths as “Your Excellency” while the Elders were referred to as “vultures” by the youths.
Alhaji Mohammed Kobani managed to escape death that day but watched his brother killed.
The mob asked the Gberemene to make the necessary libation so they could go and drag Mohammed out but the king refused to do so.
Being asthmatic, he tried to use his inhaler but the mob suspected the device to be a metaphysical object and broke his fingers.
They refused to act because they were waiting for orders from above.
He was first to inform Wiwa of the killings and Wiwa reportedly responded “Oh My God! They have finished me!”
The prosecution was led by Joseph Dauda.
Okuntimo imposed himself on the trial and routinely had Falana and Douglas beaten up anytime they came to see Wiwa for client briefing.
Eventually, the lawyers pulled out.
Mohammed Kobani and many Ogonis testified against Wiwa as having invited the youths against the elders on various occasions.
On November 8, Abacha’s PRC met to review the verdict.
End of thread.
(Would like to discuss the Mandela/South Africa angle and debunk rumours of how he died but I’m bored and tired.)
Saro-Wiwa wasn’t perfect and had many huge flaws.
By killing him though, the state turned him into a martyr than is revered by many today as a symbol of resistance to dictatorial Governments.
The families of the Ogoni 9 brought a lawsuit against Shell which was settled out of court with $15.5m paid as compensation to the families in 2009, 13 years after the case was filed and few days before the trial was to commence.
Ledum Mitee showed sagacity by asking that the settlement should also be extended to the families of the Ogoni 4.
I should tie this issue to the present Govt with the lies on Ogoni clean-up but...tired.
Make the connection.
Amina Mohammed lied about Ogoni CleanUp.
Metaphysical minds may make a connection between that and the discovery of her Corruption on the 22nd anniversary of his Translation to Glory.