Posted by News Express | 11 November 2017 | 1,996 times
The Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr Dakuku Peterside has described Ken Saro-Wiwa and all those who lost their lives during the Ogoni non-violent struggle as “harbingers of selflessness and forerunners of Niger Delta emancipation.”
Saro-Wiwa and nine others were executed by the Federal Government 22 years ago following their years of demand better life for the people of Ogoni and indeed, the Niger Delta who are blessed with oil resources that Nigeria largely depends on.
Peterside, who came out with this in Abuja, said the killing of Saro-Wiwa and several others in controversial circumstances during the General Sani Abacha-led military junta, represented “one of the darkest periods in Nigeria’s history” and one that would continue to "hunt all those who conspired to kill the illustrious Ogonis."
He stressed that the ultimate sacrifices made by the fallen heroes had helped shaped the course of discourse in the Niger Delta and given prominence to the region all over the world.
The NIMASA boss, who related closely with Saro-Wiwa and several Ogoni leaders at the time, said that athough the Niger Delta might not have gotten all that it desired from the Federal Government, he argued that significant progress had been made in the realisation of their dreams.
Listing the cleanup of Ogoni land as one of the issues that topped the Ogoni Bill of Rights, he noted that progress had been made regarding the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) Report and the commitment of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to do sufficient justice to its implementation.
The former House of Representatives member also linked the eventual Presidency of Dr Goodluck Jonathan, the creation of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and Ministry of Niger Delta, and the dualisation of the East/West Road among several other policies and programmes as fruits of the Ogoni struggle.
“The Ogoni heroes laid down their lives for the good of the Niger Delta, and today, some of their dreams have become manifest. We may not have gotten all that we want, but progress is being made gradually.
“The struggles of the fallen heroes will never be in vain. We must stay the course and ensure we continue to advocate for the good of the Niger Delta. Government at all levels must continue to put the issue of Niger Delta development on the front burner. We must pursue the matter of Ogoni clean up and the entire Niger Delta to a logical point.
“Government should continue to give attention to the Niger Delta as it is a gauge to check the conscience of Nigeria and how the country treats its minorities
“Importantly too, is the commitment of more funds to the development of the Niger Delta and the need for the region to constructively engage the Federal Government in attracting more. The Buhari-led administration is doing good in this direction, and we can only get better with time,” he summed up
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