Update on Ogoniland

8 June 2007

Pastor Barry Barinaadaa Wuganaale is the project coordinator of Ogoni Solidarity Forum, an organization floated through Ogoni exiles in Africa that are fighting to carry on the mantle and original vision of the late Ken Saro Wiwa..

Apart from having background in marketing, Barry Wuganaale is a trained pastor with specialization in discipleship. From 1999, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees stopped considering Ogonis as persecuted activists in the tiny country that depends largely on Nigeria for its economic leverage; Pastor Barry became instrumental to the formation of campaign front that had been fighting to put pressure on the UNHCR.

His background as a pastor helped in the coordination of an exiled community of Ogonis in Ouidah, the ancient capital of the country. He formed a non-denominational refugee prayer fellowship that still runs in the makeshift refugee camp in Benin Republic and the fellowship had created positive impact upon the exiled Ogoni community. He has been arrested and tried for exposing the corruption at UNHCR severally; following threats to his life, the Ogoni community in Ouidah mandated him to relocate to South Africa, where he is currently cultivating an international campaign platform for the refugees in Benin and the Ogoni struggle broadly.

Pastor Barry has spoken on the Ogoni issue at forums in and out of South Africa. As the Project Coordinator of the Ogoni Solidarity Forum, he works fulltime on voluntary basis and says he is not worried about getting another job because Ogoni struggle is life long vocation. As part of his devotion to the cause of liberation for the Ogoniland he also decided to donate all his written works to the cause. On the 28th of July, three of his books would be launched in Cape Town.

Despite Pastor Barry’s busy schedule (he will participate in the forcoming International Book Fair in Cape Town and launch his books in July), Peter van Heusden of Cape Town Indymedia recently caught up with him to speak about the Ogoni struggle, against the background of the Mathew Kukah’s recent visit to Cape Town and General Olusegun Obasanjo handing over of the presidency in Nigeria (on the 29th May).

Handover to Yar’Adua: the second time that Obasanjo is setting a stage for anarchy

Peter: Can you briefly sketch the background to the Ogoni situation in Nigeria, the events leading up to the MOSOP struggle and finally the execution of Ken Saro Wiwa and the others of the Ogoni Nine?

Pst. Barry: The Ogoni ethnic minority in the Niger Delta is one out of the estimated 250 ethnic groups that was grafted by the colonial masters to form the Nigerian nation state. It has been discovered since after the Nigerian flag independence that the country was fabricated for the imperial interest by the British government and their allies. This has haunted the country because its federal and multi ethnic composition continue to lead to agitations and political miasma.

Ken Saro Wiwa raised this issue as far 35 years ago after the civil war, but he was ignored. He argued endlessly that a country with multi ethnic composition cannot be ruled as a unitary state. He decried the fact that peoples’ ethnic backgrounds was the sole ticket for accessing education, public services, basic services, political appointments and in most cases the power to loot the resources that are tapped from the small ethnic groups.

Ken argued that there was no basis for some people to be treated as inferior and internal slaves because they are small in population or because another group happens to be more in number. He revisited the histories of the ethnic nations that make up Nigeria before the advent of slavery and colonialism. He also discovered that if there is no crude oil there is no Nigeria. Yet, on the same stroke, the people from whose lands the oil are being drilled are held in paradoxical enslavement through: one, Obnoxious decrees and criminal acquisition of the oilfields from the indigenous peoples, two, the protracted militarize of the Nigerian politics, by this l mean, both full fledge military and disguise military and military surrogates and politicians. The third factor is the pseudo and perfidious operation of constitutional provisions to oppress the minorities. This is linked to aristocratic/criminal economic web that totally disregard the local and indigenous communities because of the delirium of pomposity by trans-national companies, in the case of the Ogoni, Shell Petroleum Development Company.

Ken decided to mobilize his own people to break this jinx. The Ogonis were a litmus test of ending imperialism that had been ingrained in Nigeria. Even though others were suffering the same fate as the Ogonis, he used his own people because the Ogonis were for years the weeping child of the Niger Delta region. We were held in some proverbial and legendary impish status, for decades our neighbors believed that we belonged to unenviable ebb. This unfortunate situation made it that even the best of idea coming from Ogoni could not be embraced by other tribes.

The other contrast in history is that the Ogoni ethnic nation is one of the richest oil producing communities in the quasi Nigeria. But the most unfortunate thing around the geo-histo-political background of the Ogoni people is that despite producing about 30,000 barrels of crude oil a day as against about 300, 000 barrels a day when oil was first discovered in 1958, 90% of the whole Nigeria had never heard of the Ogonis before 1990. While those who had managed to hear about them, only believed that Ogoni was a place to go and get people for domestic and demeaning jobs at slave rate. Shell Petroleum Development Company, the oil stronghold that operated in Ogoniland for 33 years, admits that in those years the Ogoniland has produced about 680 million barrels of crude oil. Yet, Ogoniland and its people have within these years suffered chronic deprivations in the Nigerian status quo.

Peter: You mean all these facts are instrumental to the formation MOSOP?

Pst. Barry:Yes, this background gave birth to the philosophy that is the bedrock of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) by Ken Saro-Wiwa in 1990. To me, the words “Movement” and “Survival” are both epiphany words for the Ogoni people. I feel proud to have been born in the generation that this great epiphany took place, l feel happy that l suffered this marginalization and also partook in the “Movement” to move out of where the world placed us. I feel happy that l can paint the picture of Ken through what l saw and knew of him to my children and grand children, if, l am alive to see them.

Peter: What was the method that MOSOP used in achieving its great mobilization?

Pst. Barry:MOSOP mobilized the Ogoni people into a non-violent resistance against internal and external oppression and imperialism. The organization highlighted the plights of the land and became the megaphone that exposed the evil political practice of modernized slavery through manipulated state apparatus. MOSOP, through her nine affiliate bodies, recruited thousands of activists for the purpose of ensuring fairness in the management and distribution of the Nigerian national wealth that is mainly obtained from the small tribes that are located in the Niger Delta.

The Ogoni, under the coordination of MOSOP, became the first ethnic nationality that submitted their people motivated socio-cultural and political demands christened the Ogoni Bill of Rights (OBR). By the Bill, the Ogoni people are demanding reparation, royalty, compensation, and environmental rights, implementation of true federalism or confederalism and protection of the minorities.

Peter: How did Ken influence all these process?

Pst. Barry:Ken was the ideologue of the struggle, the symbol of freedom for us and he was a methodical person as well because the elementary stage of the mobilization was done through political education conducted in cell groups, and later expanded to village and kingdom levels; information was disseminated according to layers and strata. Knowledge was reduced to its applicability level as much as possible. The ordinary Ogoni farmers and fishermen were told that oil spill was inimical to their occupation because crude oil contained dangerous “chemical” and “acid” that destroyed the potency of their farmlands, streams and rivers. And that this is what resulted in low productivity of the environment, and that it logically means that Shell was the source of their poverty despite living in an environment of plenty. That their children are getting out of schools since they could not pay the fees and their children would remain peasants and unable to access better living. That is if the children do not become paupers by the time Shell is done and gone.

Peter: What was the effect of the execution of the Ogoni Nine on MOSOP and the people of Ogoniland? What happened next?

Pst. Barry:The killing of Ken Saro Wiwa and the eight others was a lynch pin approach and the government and Shell certainly did their homework very well. They knew that without Ken, there would be no mobilizer, no funder, no international town crier, no pen to craft and expose their dirty acts and mostly the struggle would have no soul.

I tell you, the Ogonis where not prepared for the sudden exit of Ken, it is a shock, a set-back. The government and Shell did passed a knife through the hearts of the Ogoni people by that singular action. By my private investigation, a young man who was in prison the day that Ken was being hanged told me that prisoners would have revolted but the government knowing what they wanted to do, made sure that all cells were properly locked on that day.

I can tell you that if given the chance, even 1, 000 Ogonis would have volunteered their lives for Ken to be free and liberate the land. He is the first man that showed that the people can trust him after Paul Timothy Birabi who first organized the Ogoni people died in a mysterious circumstance that is not divorced from the need to liberate the Ogonis. I would have been one of such people that would have happily died for Ken to be free. You see, a soul is soul and we are all equal before God, but the life and times of Ken is the hub and puzzle that makes the Ogoni to fall into place and without him the whole place is fragmented. Ogoni would hardly have come to the same level that he put us. Apart from internationalizing our plights, the Ogonis had never been united the way they did under Ken. The whole kingdom chauvinistic politics that used to tear us apart disappeared. Everybody, Gokana, Khana, Eleme, Tai became just Ogoni and nothing more or less.

Peter:In June 1998, the Nigerian dictator, Sani Abacha died, and after an interim period under Abdulsalem Abubakar, Olusegun Obasanjo won the presidential elections, inaugurating a new era of democracy in Nigeria. How would you characterize this transition to democracy, and how has it affected the Ogoni and the other people of the Delta region?

Pst. Barry: First, Olusegun Obasanjo that goes out of power today, the 29th of May, is the real Satan on the Niger Delta peoples. He was the man that promulgated the Land Use Decree in 1978 as a military head of state. The Decree striped the indigenous peoples’ of their right to the ownership of their lands, almost akin to what the former apartheid government did to the blacks, colored and Indians in South Africa.

He was the choice of the military at a very turbulent time in the politics of Nigeria, a compromise and pacification to the Yoruba ethnic group in particular, because of the annulment and murder of Chief MKO Abiola1. An ambassador friend of mine informed me that the decision of Obasanjo to become the president of Nigeria post-Abacha was reached by international interests that transcend Nigerian domestic politics. When l look at the kind of accolade that the man had got for doing nothing, how he had soared on international wing, debts cancelled to fool the Nigerian people and the branding of Obasanjoism, it add up in the light of what my friend told.

Assured in his ululating fanfare politics he created the platform that gave rise to the militia movements. The intention of Obasanjo and the oil moguls is to force the region into a full scale war that would allow them to drill under war just like what has happened on the diamond fields in places like Congo and Liberia. The arms being used in the Niger delta, some were bought by the Obasanjo government to use against opposition but the situation slipped out of his control. There are also those that bought their own arms for genuine causes and there those that had found the situation as an opportunity to help themselves.

Peter: Today, he is handing over to another civil government?

Pst. Barry:It is not the first time; l would no bother with the fact of the fraud of the election but l can tell you the Buhari, Babangida and Abacha2 governments are the bye-product of the handover that he did in 1979. He gave government to Shehu Shagari, a stooge against the chief Obafemi Awolowo who presume winner of that election. What followed is a series of military dethronement and the institutionalization of corruption. By putting Yar’Adua Musa and Goodluck Jonathan, he has set the stage for anarchy for the second time. Yar’Adua lacks the support of his own people; Goodluck lacks the acceptability of the Niger Delta.

There are a lot of people who believes that they, the controversial president and his vice, are not supported in the country; more still some of these people are very influential. They are the kind of people that motivate for military intervention. If the military takeover Nigeria, nothing would happen. As long as the western world is sure of their oil supply, nothing would happen. Nigeria is not Togo or Sae Tome and the Principe, you are talking of a country that supplies 2.5 million barrels of crude oil to the world market. Yar’Adua would love to coerce some of these powerful people and they would toss him and his vice around. Goodluck would try to hold the Niger Delta together for the sake of his political career and by the first and the second year, they would be busy trying to keep their house in order and compromising so that their government would gain credibility. Under these circumstances, anything can happen. I pity Jonathan and Yar’Adua they have been cowed into cleaning the mess of old man.

Peter: Since 1995, MOSOP and the Ogoni struggle to some extent faded from international attention, and were replaced in prominence (for a while) by the formation of the Ijaw Youth Council and the publication of the Kaiama Declaration in 1998. As an outside observer, some aspects of the Ijaw struggle seem similar to that of the Ogoni, i.e. an ethnic group, long ignored in Federal Republic of Nigeria, stands up and voices its concerns about oil revenue and the impact of oil exploitation on the people and the environment. In response, there are armed attacks, killings and a general climate of threat. What is your feeling about the Ijaw struggle, and its relation (positive or negative) to the Ogoni struggle?

Pst. Barry: The Ijaw people have the history of fighting against capital imperialism and marginalization, oppression and external domination like the Ogoni people. The Ijaw first struggled against pre-colonial authorities that came to the Niger Delta region for trading on raw produce like palm oil and timber. After that era, we had Isaac Adaka Boro, whom Ken Saro Wiwa have a lot of respect for, going by his account in his Nigerian civil war diary, “On the Darkling Plane”. The Ijaw people are the biggest ethnic group in the Niger Delta and the fourth largest in Nigeria; oil was first extracted in commercial quantities in Oloibiri in Ijaw land. Sadly, these wonderful history and antecedence was lost on them because of their involvement in the Nigerian mainstream politics post-Nigerian civil war.

The Ijaw got highly involved into the ultra-right politics and forgot the warrior and resistance element of their ethnic nationality. The Ogoni struggle helped them to rediscover the need to fight to regain their ethnicity which had been compromised. The Ijaw ethnic nationality and the Ogoni people had a lot in common, in the past and even now. Ogoni fishermen are still in places like Member, Brass and other remote fishing settlement. To my knowledge, the Ijaw people had never attacked the Ogonis living in their areas or the other way around. Most of Ken’s closest friends were Ijaws. When Alamesieghe became the governor of Bayesa; one of his PA was Mr. Sunday Nwidor, an Ogoni. Oronto Douglas had done a lot of work on Ogoni struggle and l can go on and on to tell you of working relationship between us and them.

The Kaiama declaration is not accidental; the plan had been there before the killing of Ken. l recall that l was the General Secretary of the Ogoni Community in Kaduna in 1993. On the occasion that l was sent to Ken’s office in Port Harcourt to pay some money in support of MOSOP, l met the then NYCOP president, Mr. Goodluck Diigbo and from discussions, he told me that he was going to attend a rally later that day to address some Ijaw groups in a suburb of Port Harcourt. Some Ogonis like Patrick Naagbantor played prominent role in the Kaiama Declaration. The idea before the killing of Ken was that each ethnic group in the Niger Delta was going to mobilize themselves and decide what they wanted and that we shall all meet at a conference to put collective pressure on the federal government, Shell and their imperial associates.

The Ogoni Bill of Rights was the first demand that came from the region, but it is largely a reflection of the broad situation that every ethnic group in Niger delta is passing through and a prototype of their political and economic aspirations. That is why, the OBR says, “what the Ogoni people demand for themselves; namely, autonomy, they also asked for others.” So the relationship is in many ways similar, but the difference is that the Ijaw struggle seems to be graduating too fast into arms struggle.

The reason for this is that Obasanjo went to wake the sleeping dog by the heartless massacre of the Odi village3. I do not know what the government would pay to the Ijaw people in exchange for the souls that Obasanjo killed in that land. He asked God and Nigerians to forgive him two days ago, yes, God can forgive, but the Ijaw people are humans. The Ijaw people have a history of arms struggle, they are warriors, they know how to fight, they have been through it many times, the topography of their area allows for that kind of guerilla war, but in Ogoniland, one cannot start that kind of struggle. We are also concerned about the fact that the federal government libeled Ken Saro Wiwa as being violent when he was not, hence, anything that we do in the direction of violence would lend credence to the propaganda of the government. Therefore, between the Ogoni struggle and the Ijaw’s, it is basically the same thing but different tactics.

Peter: Most recently, the non-violent struggles of MOSOP and the IYC have been seemingly been replaced by the armed struggle of groups such as the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta. Is this assessment accurate? How do you now see the way forward for the struggles in the Delta?

Pst. Barry: First, even though l do not subscribe to violence, l do not have anything against the people who claim to be militants or those who believe that they want to use arms to regain their freedom. The people of Niger Delta had tolerated a lot. In June of 2000, the Nigerian embassy sent a team of diplomats to broker negotiation with me on behalf of the Ogoni activists; the team was lead by one John Onuha and I. A Paragalda. l asked Paragalda, who is a northern, “if oil was found in the north, could l as an Ogoni man have the right to come and drill it?” I once asked a Yoruba Pastor friend of mine that same question and he could not answer it. What has happened in the Niger Delta, even some angels cannot tolerate it.

It is not done anywhere, that you just come and start scooping resources in someone’s house, take everything away and leave the people with nothing for five decades; if the people rise up, you ask soldiers paid with money that accrues from the oil you stole from these people to shoot at them. I have told my friends from other parts of the country that the Ogoni people and other Niger delta peoples had contributed to sustain the country for 50 years and it is now time for us to care for ourselves. The Hausas, Yorubas4 and other groups that have not contributed should also try as much we have tried. Therefore, given the circumstances, the taking of hostage is concomitant to the fact that the peoples of the Niger Delta had been held at hostage for a long time. But my fear is that the use of arms could always be infiltrated by agents of the government as it is. Arms struggle need a lot of organization and time for it to mature, it need a lot of maturity and clear definition. I am afraid that the MEND does not strike me as an organization that is coordinated for that task. I would prefer them making it impossible for the oil companies to continue operations and leaving human beings out of the show.

Peter:In your recent article for Pambazuka, the Ogoni Solidarity Forum and yourself confronted Reverend Mathew Kukah on the question of the Nigerian elections and situation in Nigeria today. Could you clarify who Reverend Kukah is and what is the Oputa Panel that you mentioned while protesting this meeting?

Pst. Barry:Rev. Fr. Mathew Kukah is the Secretary of the Catholic Church in Nigeria, he shoot into prominence as a cleric that believes in social justice. He has done a lot of work on balancing Christian religion with politics. He is from a minority ethnic group in the north, the first time that l knew of him was in 1992 when his people killed Moslems and Hausa people in Zango Kataf. The first time that he said something about the Ogoni struggle was in 1993, when he said that Ken Saro Wiwa is over emphasizing the issue of the Ogoni people. He is practically, like the Desmond Tutu of South Africa, but he lacks the kind of credibility that Tutu has. Maybe, in wanting to market himself into that kind of image, he jumped at the offer to serve on a Human Right Violation Commission headed by retired justice Chwukwudifo Oputa. And that is why the commissioned was christened Oputa Panel. The panel looked at about 10, 000 petitions of human right abuses in the country from 1966; the cases of the Ogoni people alone took 80% of the total petitions. Before l go on, think of a panel that covered from 1966 to 1996, but what the Ogonis suffered from 1993 to 1996, out numbered the whole country. After the panel’s seating, a friend came all the way from Nigeria to meet in Benin Republic to apologize to me, saying that when l use to cry and talk about the terrorization of our land she use to think that they were exaggerations and propaganda.

The panel ended and not every body had the opportunity to present their petition; over 30, 000 families that were affected by the waterfront massacre like the South African Soweto of 1976 were not included. The panel closed its work without saying that Ken Saro Wiwa and the eight others were not murderers; it jumped to say that the Ogoni 45 and Ogoni 96 are all heroes, but who murdered them?

Since then, the government of Obasanjo thereafter went on to say that the issues of the violation of the Ogoni people is solved: that includes women who were forced into premature delivery and abortion due to multiple rape and that were traumatized. Their issues were opened on national television with no forms of compensation, no traumatic counseling and no prosecutions. The cases are closed; there is now “peace”. The next thing is how to bring back Shell to start operations. The Peace and Reconciliation Committee set up by the government portend that the Ogoni and Shell are having a problem, exonerating itself, without talking about the Land Use Decree or the Ogoni Bill of Rights. Summarily, on the 14th of May 2007, Kukah and the government were in Ogoniland to hold a spiritual cleansing when their phony environmental cleaning failed through the resistance of the people. He flew to Cape Town to tell journalists that it was fine and brag about how he had been the messiah of the Ogoni people.

Anger boils in me to hear this man talk as if without him the Ogoni people do not know what they wanted. This is a man that lives in the north and did not know how the Ogoni people were mobilized, today, Ken is death and he wants to posit himself to be the political messiah of Ogoni people. In the 1950s, the Ogonis had Birabi, not Kukah, in 1966/7, we had Ken in his early twenties directing our people, why do Kukah think that in 2007, we have suddenly slipped backward that we cannot talk or articulate our demands. Kukah has a lot of troubles in Kataf where he comes from. l have met someone from his family and l know that he is not as popular in his family as he is on the pages of the newspaper.

Peter: Kukah made various accusations against Ledum Mittee, implying that he had misused money meant for the Ogoni people and development in Ogoniland. How do you feel about these accusations?

Pst. Barry: Kukah was talking to me that day, as if l was a representative of MOSOP; he kept saying, your “president”. The first thing is that, if l represents MOSOP l would not form the Ogoni Solidarity Forum. I would operate MOSOP South Africa. After the meeting, l went to Kukah to deliver a petition; he said, “every where l go in Ogoniland, people say Ledum is a thief, he is the problem and he is this and he is that, but why have people not removed him?” If Kukah says Mitee is anything, l would not deny; what Kukah says about Mitee is only a fragment of what the Ogoni people think of Ledum.

Since Ledum imposed himself to be the president of MOSOP, apart from the day that he ran back to Nigeria without the agreement of his comrades, he has not been able to call a rally that brings ten thousand Ogoni people together. MOSOP now runs as a Government Owned Non Government Organization (GONGO), Ledum believes so much in negotiating without taking the mandate of the people. He tells the government and Shell what he thinks is “right” for the Ogoni people and not what the Ogoni people tell him to say. MOSOP is so bureaucratized that the ordinary Ogoni people do not know what is happening again. During the time of Ken, there was no sophisticated MOSOP office but everybody knew where we were going, when the next rally would hold, when the next blockade of the pipeline would take place. People gave their vehicles, time, bicycles and anything that they can give for the struggle.

Today, MOSOP does not present the Ogoni Bill of Rights to the government whenever the opportunities are given: Ledum and his staff members are always writing proposals for boreholes, repairs of schools, amendment of roads, painting of maternity, training of 10 to 15 girls to learn how to bake cake or do hair. Let us put it this way, Ken Saro Wiwa had the money that could have sent not less than one hundred thousand Ogoni people to learn trades, craft and even go to universities. So if that is what he wanted to achieve for the Ogoni people, why did he spend the money on MOSOP and then allowed himself to be killed?

You see, Ledum Mitee may be a good lawyer but he is not an activist, he is not the political figure that the Ogoni need, he lacks what it takes to steer the people politically. He would have done well to be by the side and always wait for court cases when MOSOP has one. But with what he has done, l am afraid that he might have also taken bribes if given the chance, to defend activists against Shell and the government. I therefore did not feel anything; l did not feel worried because of what Kukah said. It is simple, if Mitee is for the people, government officials would be not comfortable with him, Peter Odili7 would not be at his private function, Ledum is a great compromiser, a misfit for the struggle and a disappointment to his education and the present generation of Ogoni. He lacks the boldness of the Ogoni people, he is too jelly to lead MOSOP. l’d prefer a lowly educated and radical person that can take us forward rather than Mitee. He though that Ken was too vociferous and too aggressive in his approach so he wanted to adopt a sanctimonious activism, he prefers pacification, but even in churches where people are supposed to preach peace and love your enemies, we preach fire for fire nowadays; even the orthodox churches have joined the train of fire for fire. Gone are the days that you eat with devil using a long spoon, now, the devil is an enemy, no more no less.

Peter: Finally, how do you see the way forward for the Ogoni struggle, and how could this relate to other struggles (both inside Nigeria and outside)?

Pst. Barry: What l call the second chapter of the Ogoni struggle will definitely start very soon, it is not for me to go into details here but the Ogoni struggle will start soon. The first victory is that we have succeeded in keeping Shell away from our land and they have been denied approximately 540 million barrels of crude oil for 14 years. And never in life again would Shell enter Ogoniland; that should get into their head, the Ogoni people are busy looking for a leader and it is not for the want of idea that we are not in the trench. We need a good commander to take over from Mitee, we thank him for all he has done, but let him rest, he is now 50, weak and afraid to die. He wants to look over his children, but there are a lots of people whose blood is pumping and yearning for real action.


1. MKO Abiola (born. 1937, died. 1998) was a Nigerian businessman, publisher and politician who stood as a Presidential candidate in the elections of 1993. Observers widely agree that Abiola won the election, but the results were annuled by the regime of the then military dictator, Ibrahim Babangida. In the wake of Babangida’s annulment of the elections, power was first handed over to Chief Ernest Shonekan, and then seized by Sani Abacha. After Abiola led protests on the anniversary of the annulled election, he was arrested and charged with treason. He remained in prison till he died (just one month after Abacha) in 1998. While MKO Abiola was a prisoner, his wife, Alhaja Kudirat Abiola, was murdered during a demonstration demanding his release.

2. Muhammadu Buhari, Ibrahim Babangida and Sani Abacha were all military dictators that ruled Nigeria from 1983-85, 1985-1993 and 1993-1998 respectively.

3. The Odi massacre was an attack carried out by the Nigerian military on the (mainly Ijaw) village of Odi in the Delta region, in November 1999.

4. The Hausa and Yoruba are two of Nigeria’s biggest ethnic groups, and since independence (in 1960) those who have controlled the Nigerian state have largely come from these two groups.

5. The Ogoni 4 were four prominent pro-government Ogoni chiefs (Edward Kobani, Samueal Orage, Theophilus Orage and Albert Badey) murdered on 21 May 1994. It was for their murder that Ken Saro Wiwa and the others of the Ogoni 9 were falsely accused and hanged.

6. The Ogoni 9 were nine prominent Ogonis who were accused of murder (of the Ogoni 4) by Sani Abacha’s regime, tried by a military court, and hanged on 10 November 1995. They were: Ken Saro Wiwa, Saturday Dobee, Nordu Eawo, Daniel Gbooko, Paul Levera, Felix Nuate, Baribor Bera, Barinem Kiobel, and John Kpuine.

7. Peter Odili was the governor of Rivers State in Nigeria (where Ogoniland is situated) from May 1999 to May 2007. He is a member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), in other words, Obasanjo’s party, the ruling party in Nigeria.


One Response to “Update on Ogoniland”

  1. I nwidum joseph neebee say ogoni must free

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