The Executive Director of the Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre, Fyneface Dumnamene, says that the federal government has continued to attack peaceful protesters 25 years after the Sani Abacha regime murdered nine Ogoni men who were peacefully demonstrating against the pollution of their land.
Dumnamene, who spoke at the 25th Memorial Environmental Summit to mark the killing of the Ogoni Nine, said successive governments had failed to learn that crushing peaceful agitators gives birth to violent ones.
“25 years after Ken Saro-Wiwa, the Nigerian State has not still learnt that killing peaceful and nonviolent agitations like the one led by Ken Saro-Wiwa would bring about violent agitations, like the Avengers, Niger Delta Militants and most recently, the #EndSARS protesters that took their demands to the streets and were hijacked,” Dumnamene said.
“25 years after Ken Saro-Wiwa, the Ogoni and Niger Delta environment is still polluted, and the Nigerian state has yet to see the reason for holistically addressing the demands of Ken Saro-Wiwa and the Ogoni people as enshrined in the Ogoni Bill of Rights to heal the wounds of the Ogoni and Niger Delta Indigenous Peoples.”
He asked the federal government to recognise that it was wrong to kill Saro-Wiwa and the eight others and do so by immortalising them.
“The federal government should immortalise Ken Saro-Wiwa by renaming Eagle Square Abuja after Ken Saro-Wiwa as “Ken Saro-Wiwa Eagle Square’ to promote the message of peace, peaceful and nonviolent agitations in Nigeria as exemplified by Ken Saro-Wiwa and other Ogonis.”
Dumnamene also asked the Buhari administration to release the Ogoni people, the Ken Saro-Wiwa Memorial Bus confiscated by the Nigerian Customs Service in 2015.
This year’s memorial, which was organised yearly by Environmental Rights Action/ Friends of the earth, was themed “25 Years After Ken Saro-Wiwa: The Nigerian Environment and Lesson Not Learnt.”