Oct 30, 2008

Ogoni: MOSOP Urges Apology From Former Official

Sample ImageRemarks by a former Federal minister calling the hanging of Ken Saro-wiwa “deserved” have sparked a rapid response calling for a prompt retraction. 

Below is an article written by Jimitota Onoyume and published by The Vanguard: 

The Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) has told former Federal Capital Territory Minister, Lt-General Jeremiah Useni to apologise to the Ogoni for saying the late Ken Sarowiwa deserved to be hanged.

In a statement MOSOP reaffirmed that the late Saro wiwa was a man of peace who was murdered by a military cabal because of his firm position against naked exploitation. The statement signed by information officer of the body, Mr Bariaria Kpalep reads:  

“The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) has vehemently condemned the reported comments on our Hero, Ken Saro Wiwa by Lt. General Jerry Useni (rtd) and called him to publicly apologise to the Ogoni people. General Useni was quoted by the media to have said that Ken Saro Wiwa was a “threat to Nigeria and killed in national interest.” 

MOSOP is not surprised at these malicious and unguarded assertions of Useni who was a major player in the murderous military junta of General Sani Abacha that murdered the innocent Ogoni leader in cold blood. We would like to make it very clear that Wiwa was never guilty of Useni’s false allegations but was cruelly framed up to provide the grounds for his elimination. The Useni position not only betrayed his questionable role in the Saro Wiwa saga. 

Some sinister motive, which should be investigated by relevant security agencies and brought to justice. For, we do not see how only Useni could have been right in a matter that had global unanimity in condemnation, followed with international isolation. It is only in Nigeria that those that inflict injustice on people pose no threat to national interest but those that non-violently demand their legitimate rights are seen as security risk and killed. 

Whilst we would have ordinarily ignored the report but for its potential of confusing and misleading the unsuspecting public, MOSOP considers Useni’s stance as a demonstrable desperation of a man deliberately distorting facts to hide a badly condemned past. 

This position is no doubt insensitive, mischievous, infantile, callous and unfortunate, and which, of course, cannot in anyway water down the towering status of the former MOSOP president. Whatever motive that may have informed this ignoble approach is bound to fail. 

Coming at a time when efforts are being made to heel wounds imposed on our people, we are afraid that such reckless utterances could incite tension and restiveness that may adversely affect the fragile peace in the Niger Delta. Useni ought to have recognized the importance of reconciliation and unity to national security and thus employ restraint in responding to such sensitive issue. 

However, we would like to enlighten the Democratic People’s Party (DPP) chairman that Ken Saro Wiwa was a globally acknowledged man of peace and had prior his demise won several peace awards with MOSOP including the Live Livelihood Award (an alternative Nobel Prize). 

He favoured civilize standards in seeking justice, which abhorred violent approach to issues. This avowed non-violent disposition remains the cardinal principle of MOSOP and the just Ogoni struggle for justice. 

We find it difficult therefore to understand how he could have sponsored or participated in the torture or killing of his people that he relentlessly campaigned for their emancipation. We thus challenge Useni to produce credible evidences relating to his wild allegations. 

MOSOP is aware that the Ogoni martyr was killed to generate fear into other communities that would have followed the Ogoni step. His offence we are further aware, was that he courageously. 

The Abacha military junta and their cohorts who parasitically depended on our oil for their survival were uncomfortable with Saro Wiwa’s mobilization abilities and international reach and thus eliminated him to ensure uninterrupted oil flow. However, we are delighted that what the Ogoni Hero lived, worked and died for has become so accepted even at the back yard of Useni. 

Since Lt. General Useni has rather than show remorse for the heinous crime and had instead unmindfully resorted to brazen hatred for our people, we therefore call on all Niger Deltans especially the Ogoni people to distance themselves from him particularly withdrawing their membership of the Democratic People’s Party, which he heads.