Friday, April 22, 2011

Of Ken Saro Wiwa, Earth Day, and hope for the future of environmentalism. Onwards!!

Poster speaks for itself, innit?
The/ An Ogoni demonstration

Saro Wiwa in trial

A poster commemorating his 10 year anniversary

Ken Saro Wiwa

Kenule “Ken” Beeson Saro Wiwa was hanged on 10th November, 1995.
Like a dog, he was hanged. See here.
Let the bloody finger be pointed at Shell (Royal Dutch Petroleum). Let the bloody finger be pointed at the Nigerian traitors who sold over their own kith and kin to foreigners for the love of money.
Let the bloody finger be pointed at those Nigerians and Africans who sat back unconcerned or too self-loving to be involved in the struggle to preserve a legacy that never belonged to individuals and was the right and responsibility of the entire land – the environment and natural resources. See here for the story of dirty dealings.

Shell, since striking oil in the Niger Delta of Nigeria, has extracted millions of dollars worth of oil, and planted in its place ravaged environment, laid waste by oil spillages and the negative effects of crude oil drilling. The battered community at the heart of this destruction was Ogoniland, a community of almost 600,000 people back then, who farmed and fished.

Ken Saro-Wiwa was the son of Ogoni, who decided to lead the fight for his people to save and preserve the only heritage they had. But he was messing up the financial plans of President Sani Abacha and his blood-sucking, greedy cohorts in the military then. He was causing serious setbacks in the corrupt deals they had cut with Shell for the oil. The destruction of the lives and environment of Ogoniland was nothing to pay for the millions they were getting … the millions that made a one-way journey into their private pockets.

When Ken led half the people of Ogoni to a non-violent march for their share of the monies coming from the oil, to set up an environmental fund and to compensate them for the past years of damage, the response he got was imprisonment and death by hanging.

His crime? Murdering 4 Ogoni chiefs. The proof? None. The Accuser? Sani Abacha and the military.
He was hanged.
Hanged like a dog.
Those who had sat twiddling their thumbs in nonchalance … those who helped implicate him falsely … those who gave false testimony in court … the lawyers who gave up on him … those who connived to make that false case against him … the petroleum companies who would kill entire tribes and whole nations to get at this liquid … the governments who will sell their own mother, much less their entire country for some large bags of money … GUILTY!

Today, on Earth Day 22nd April, I bow my head in a moment of silence for the main and only environmentalist I have ever known in West Africa (and Africa) who made a selfless decision to stand for his environment, and lost his life in the process.
I respect you, Ken Saro Wiwa.
I respect that your family also never stopped the fight for the truth to be shown the whole world. See here and here.
I am glad that your efforts were greatly recognized, though saddened that it has to be by a foreign  award body (Goldman), and not an African, nay … Nigerian … even more befitting, … a Dutch body.
I am glad to see young Nigerian icons like Nneka  adding their voices to the fight to ensure that your sacrifice does not go to waste, nor go unnoticed.

Today on Earth Day, I add my own voice to this fight for an environmentally-conscious and sustainability-focused Africa … and Ghana …and I share with the world your memorable quote:
“In my innocence of the false charges I face here, in my utter conviction, I call upon the Ogoni people, the peoples of the Niger delta, and the oppressed ethnic minorities of Nigeria to stand up now and fight fearlessly and peacefully for their rights. History is on their side. God is on their side. For the Holy Quran says in Sura 42, verse 41:"All those that fight when oppressed incur no guilt, but Allah shall punish the oppressor. Come the day."

… Come the day.
That day is near.
Long live Ken Saro Wiwa! Long live Renewable Energy development for Ghana!!

Yours in persistence,


  1. Long live Ken Saro Wiwa and long live renewable energy development for Africa! Love this post G

  2. Thank you for taking the time to tell his story and keep history alive.

    I just learned that the judge who sentenced the men to death was elevated to Chief Justice this past month.

    How sad it that? I hope others like you continue to share his story so that things like that won't happen again.

    I wrote about Ken Saro-Wiwa on my website where he is listed as "Hero of the week." You can read it here if you are interested. Moral Heroes: Ken Saro-Wiwa

  3. Hey Moral Heroes!
    Thank you too for taking time to read it. And understanding the impact of it. It's always a 2-way street.
    I am not aware of the situation of the judge, but I am certainly going to research into that now. It is a shame when law and justice gets away with perverting and subverting itself. I will definitely check your post out ...

    Let's talk again.