Why we could not save Ken Saro-Wiwa – Mitee

Former President of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People, Ledum Mitee, has said no one could have saved Ken Saro-Wiwa from being hanged because    “a hardhearted” Gen Sani Abacha had made up his mind that the renowned environmental activist should die.

Saro-Wiwa was killed alongside eight other Ogoni people in 1995 after being tried by a special military tribunal for allegedly masterminding the killing of Ogoni chiefs at a pro-government meeting.

 

 The approval of his killing by then-Head of State Abacha (deceased) sparked international outrage and resulted in Nigeria’s suspension from the Commonwealth of Nations.

Mitee lamented that despite the public outcry against the ruling that Saro-Wiwa and others should not be hanged Abacha approved their killing.

Some believe Saro-Wiwa was killed by the Abacha government for fighting for the rights of Ogoni people.

Speaking with The PUNCH on Monday, Mitee said the Commonwealth and world leaders, including Nelson Mandela, begged that Saro-Wiwa and the eight others should not be killed.

The ex-MOSOP boss pointed out that all entreaties to the military junta fell on deaf ears, recalling that the appeal from the spouses of those convicted did not make any difference.

He said, “Ogoni people, the entire world, the Commonwealth, Nelson Mandela and many other persons tried to put pressure to see that Ken Saro-Wiwa and others were freed.

“So, it was not a  lack of pressure that made them (military junta) to do what they did. From Ogoni people’s point, obviously, we did everything. I  drafted the appeal. We had 30 days to appeal the ruling against Ken-Saro Wiwa and others.

“We also appealed on behalf of their spouses. So, there was a legal appeal and there was an oral appeal from all over the world.

 

“Every person tried all they could to ensure that they were freed. The world already knew the character of Abacha as a hardhearted despot that came at a time.”

Mitee, however,  said he was more worried about the fact that those who played roles, leading to the killing of the Ogoni Nine were promoted.

He said, “Beyond that; because he (Abacha) is dead, what worries people like me is that some of those people, who played despicable roles in those days, have not only survived the system, but have, in fact, been promoted to the highest echelon of their respective professions.

“Therefore, it is not just about an Abacha that has died, we still have many Abachas within our system or those who can even be worse than him.”

Credit: Punch Reports