The Environmental rights Action and Friends of the Earth, Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has honoured nine activists including Ken Saro-Wiwa who were executed by the military regime of late Sani Abacha while fighting for environmental justice, the clean up, compensation and remediation of Ogoniland from Shell Oil Company’s operations in Niger Delta region of Nigeria.
In a statement released in Benin City, Dr Godwin Uyi Ojo, Executive Director, ERA/FoEN, said that the struggle for environmental justice in Ogoniland and the entire Niger Delta and Nigeria and beyond, lives on.
Ojo stressed that the issues that triggered the struggle in Ogoniland and the people of Niger Delta region 25 years ago are yet to be addressed, lamenting that 60 years the Nigerian government exploited oil and gas resources in the Niger Delta region, the livelihood of the people particularly lack of safe drinking water.
The killing of Ken Saro-Wiwa shall not be in vain, according to him, the Niger Delta environment still groans under the severe weight of environmental despoliation and poverty remains widespread with little or no change on the welfare and livelihoods of the people.
Recall that in 2011, the United Nation Environment Programme documented the devastating long term impact of the oil industry in Nigeria’s Ogoniland, setting the urgent recommendations for a clean-up, and emergency relief measures that was sidelined.
However, the systematic failure of oil companies and the Nigerian government to clean up has left hundreds of thousands of Ogoni people facing serious health risks, struggling to access safe drinking water and unable to earn a decent living.