Ogoni group accuses Nigeria Customs of seizing Saro-Wiwa memorabilia

Ken Saro-wiwa memorial bus
Ken Saro-wiwa memorial bus

A memorabilia donated to the Ogoni people to mark the 20th anniversary of the death of the writer and environmental activist, Ken Saro-Wiwa, has been seized by the Nigeria Customs Service, the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People has alleged.

The group said Customs claimed the souvenir had “political value”.

Mr. Saro-Wiwa was executed by a military tribunal set up by the Sani Abacha-led junta on November 10, 1995.

In a statement published on Wednesday on the website of the People Advancement Centre, a civil society group that specialises in Niger Delta affairs, MOSOP said the memorabilia, a sculptured bus donated to the Ogoni by the Platform, a UK based group, and made in remembrance of the struggles of Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogoni environmental rights activists, had been seized.

MOSOP said the bus, which has the names of Mr. Saro-Wiwa and eight others executed inscribed on its side, was seized by the customs on September 8, after it arrived at the Lagos port from the UK.

Customs reportedly claimed the bus had political value because a quote made by Mr. Saro-Wiwa – “I accuse the oil companies of practising genocide against the Ogoni” – was also inscribed on its side.

The spokesperson for the Nigeria Customs Service, Wale Adeniyi, did not respond to our request for comment. He did not answer or return calls, and did not respond to text messages to his phone.

“The Bus calls attention to the environmental degradation and economic deprivation, in which the Ogoni people live, despite being naturally blessed with enormous deposits of crude oil,” MOSOP said in its statement.

“After being on display at various places in the United Kingdom for 9 years, at the request of Nigerian partners, the Bus was shipped from London to Nigeria via Lagos Port.”

According to MOSOP, all efforts made by the Ogoni people to have the bus released have been futile and there have been no explanations on the seizure of the memorabilia.

MOSOP added that a different box containing flyers and reports to mark the 20th anniversary of Mr. Saro-Wiwa’s death, also sent by the platform through DHL, was likewise seized “for no justifiable reason” by the State Security Services.

“We have submitted letters of appeal to the Customs Boss Col Hameed Ali (Rtd).

“It is of note that he was the only military member of the tribunal that sentenced Ken Saro-Wiwa and the 8 others to death on November 10, 1995. Upon receipt of the letter by his Personal Assistant, we were assured that the Bus would be released. That has not yet happened.

“We are concerned about this hostile attitude of the Nigerian government towards the Ogoni people and the suppression of the memorial to Ken Saro-Wiwa. We are concerned that 20 years after the killing of Ogoni leaders and the widespread attacks, which killed thousands of other Ogonis and sent many into exile, the Nigerian government seems to be maintaining this attitude of belligerence towards the genuine activities of the Ogoni people.

“We are concerned that after killing Ken Saro-Wiwa and the Ogoni 8, and dumping their bodies in an unmarked grave, the Nigerian government is bent on erasing every memory of Saro-Wiwa and his struggles for justice, including making sure that a “Living Memorial” – the Bus made in his memory and in solidarity with his people – is never delivered to them.

The organisation threatened to protest if the bus and the box were not released wihin five days.

“We shall mobilize the Ogoni people and other interest groups and friends to begin a series of mass actions and protests until the Bus is released. We regret that these mass actions will seriously disrupt economic activities in the Ogoni areas of the Niger Delta,” the statement read.


DOWNLOAD THE PREMIUM TIMES MOBILE APP

Now available on

  Premium Times Android mobile applicationPremium Times iOS mobile applicationPremium Times blackberry mobile applicationPremium Times windows mobile application

TEXT AD:DIABETES Is CURABLE! Don't Let It Threaten You! To NORMALIZE Your Blood Sugar In 21Days For Life, Click Here!!!.


All rights reserved. This material and any other material on this platform may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, written or distributed in full or in part, without written permission from PREMIUM TIMES.


  • DecodeDaRiddle

    The former leaders ignored signpost as this and Boko began. The new customs have done a good job by flagging the materials in all. They will have to come with their leaders, sign undertaking that any drama that happens as a result of the release will be properly sanctioned as incitement against the state. Nigeria is presently pursuing peace, any form of disturbance will not be tolerated.

  • Very Proud Oily IZON Redeemer

    One of the key witnesses due to testify was Boniface Ejiogu, Lt-Col Okuntimo’s orderly in the Internal Security Task Force, a coalition of army, navy and police. Mr Ejiogu testified to standing guard as victims were raped and tortured while Lt-Col Okuntimo was in command. Asked if he ever saw his commander receive money from Shell, he said he witnessed it on two occasions.

    Mr Ejiogu described in detail how, just days before the Ogoni elders were murdered, he drove with Lt-Col Okuntimo to Shell’s base in Port Harcourt, where the officer received seven large bags of money. “I was there when other soldiers were carrying the Ghana Must Go bags,” he testified. The bags were so heavy the soldiers had difficulty carrying them, and one fell open. “The thing opened,” Mr Ejiogu said. “I saw it was money in bundles. He said, wow, this is money. I say, yes man, it is money.”

    On another occasion, Mr Ejiogu witnessed four bags being given by a Shell security official to Lt-Col Okuntimo at the official’s house late at night.

    Another witness, Raphael Kponee, also due to testify, was a policeman working for Shell. On a different occasion, he saw three bags being loaded into Lt-Col Okuntimo’s pick-up truck by his driver and another driver in front of the security building at the Shell base. Shell officials have admitted that money was paid to the officer, but purely as field allowances for his men, who were protecting Shell property in Ogoniland.

    MrEjiogu also offers compelling evidence as to who may have murdered the four Ogoni elders at a meeting on 21 May 1994. Saro-Wiwa was due to speak but was turned away by the military. Mr Ejiogu said he heard Lt-Col Okuntimo tell his task force commander to “waste them… in the army you waste them is when you are shooting rapidly”.

    Within 24 hours Saro-Wiwa was arrested and charged with the murders. It was implied that he had had the elders killed because of their moderate stance on Ogoni issues. Despite an international outcry, he was hanged in November 1995, following a sham trial described by the then British prime minister, John Major, as “judicial murder”.

    A Shell spokesman said yesterday: “Allegations concerning Okuntimo and Shell are not new. There is a lack of any credible evidence in support of these allegations. Shell Petroleum Development Corporation and Shell at the time spoke out frequently against violence and publicly condemned its use.”

  • Very Proud Oily IZON Redeemer

    There are Compelling evidence to suggest the Present Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Customs Service, Rtd Col Ali and the Nigerian Military were part of the team that killed four Ogoni elders whose murders led to the execution of the playwright and activist Ken Saro-Wiwa in 1995. Col Ali also participated in the panel that sat to find Ken Saro Wiwa guilty and thus hanged him at the Port Harcourt Prisons.

    Now the same man who supervised the cold-blooded murder of Ken Saro WiWa, has been picked by General Buhari who was the executive Chairman of PTF under late General Abacha when Ken Saro Wiwa was hanged. Col Ali has blood dripping down his evil soul. That is why he had to erase anything that will remind him and Buhari of the Late Civil Right ACTIVIST who was hanged by Buhari, Abacha and Col Ali. Hence the need to seize the said items by the Customs.

    The evidence equally revealed that the notorious military commander Lieutenant-Colonel Paul Okuntimo, whose troops were implicated in murder and rape of Ogonis, was in the pay of Shell at the time of the killings and was driven around in a Shell vehicle most of the time in Port Harcourt.

    Since the time of Saro-Wiwa’s death, Shell has insisted that it had no financial relationship with the Nigerian military, although it has admitted paying it “field allowances” on two occasions. It has consistently denied any widespread collusion and payments. However, The Independent Newspaper of London has gained exclusive access to witness accounts that were to be used in evidence in the case of Wiwa vs Shell, brought by Ken Saro-Wiwa’s family. The case was settled last May for $15.5m, just days before it was due to start in New York. The settlement meant the testimonies were never made public.

    The current evidence also provide fresh insight into Shell’s financial and logistical involvement with the Nigerian military and with Lt-Col Okuntimo from the South East as the arrow head of the plot to hang Ken Saro wiwa.

  • Burning spear

    The Buharimice–will soon delete us again—-scared of being exposed like hell–Pls leave the OGONIS ALONE to celebrate the life and works of Ken Saro Wiwa–who knew he was going to be killed by the Fulanis long before Abacha with Buhari hanged him- Why was Buhari there when Kudirat–Abila was assassinated–there with Col Ali when Ken Saro wi wa was hanged—-There when Abiola was arrested by Abacha————-why?

  • emmanuel

    Wetin these people day talk, do they expect a snake to give birth to Rabbit?
    This is Buhari APC, Fulanis are cruel and vindictive.
    If they say they love Amaechi, they should ask him to talk to his political benefactor who pulls the strings for now.

  • benojibola

    Obtain 3XCement at an affordable factory price of #1OOOper 50kg bag, we deliver to any location of your choice above 100 bags. Contact the head of sales manager Madam ROSE on O8o33853717 for delivery’

  • Bejim

    The coalition of interests that murdered Saro-Wiwa is still in power at the highest levels.

  • let my ppl go-so sayeth d lord

    Buhari is an oligarch who does not believe in equality before the law. The way he jailed Lateef Jakande, Jim Nwobodo, Ambrose Ali, Pa Adekunle Ajasin, Chief Ayo Ojewumi on cases that had no foundation and allowed Awwal Ibrahim, the then Niger State governor, who was arrested in Heathrow Airport in London with 14 million pounds sterling and several millions of Niara and dollars to be under house arrest is my evidence. He also allowed Shehu Kangiwa, Sokoto State Governor who conducted and supervised the famous Bakolori Massacre of poor peasant farmers whose land were appropriated without compesation to remain under house arrest.

    1(a) Ayo Ojewumi became blind as a result of his imprisonment over false charges and died shortly after.

    1 (b) Prof. Ambrose Alli also became blind as a result of this false imprisonment. When he died, he had only one undeveloped plot of land to his name.

    1© Pa Adekule Ajasin was never the same after his eventual release and remained sickly for the rest of his life. Whe he died, he never had any property anywhere in the world except the one he had built from his sweat as long term teacher and school principal in Owo township.

    2. He put in place a retroactive law that killed three men, innocent men in my book, by public execution. He left untouched an alleged well known drug baron in Ibrahim Babangida who later overthrew his government.

    3. He jailed Ndukar Irabor and Tunde Thompson of the Guardian on stories that were factually true under Decree 4. He had told the Nigerian journalists then that it did not matter whether the story reported was true or not, if his regime did not like it, the writer would go to jail.

    4. He supervised the smuggling of 53 suitcases filled with cash througth the MMA against the protests of General Tunde Idiagbon and ironically, Abubakar Atiku, the then Director General of the Customs who later became the Vice President and a compromised politician himself. This smuggling of the suit cases were supervised by his ADC, Col. Mustapha Jokolo.

    5. He jailed Fela Anikulapo -Kuti on trumped up charges under emergency law which prompted the sentencing judge to confess that he was ordered to do so and apologised to the late musician. It was Buhari’s administration that said it has “decided to deal with this Fela problem once and for a

    • Höly Wähala

      Sayeth which Lord… your Jiso of Okrika abi na Wicked Wike? Dat bus is full of “emotional explosives” and should not be allowed into the Niger Delta. Why didn’t this ogogoro group import the bus when Dr. Dumbo was President since they calim they’ve been driving it around the UK the past 9yrs? Troublesome animals. After Nnamdi Kanu, the UK seems to be a breeding ground for Nigerian radicals bent on destabilizing One Naija… maybe, it’s time Prsident Buhari considers classifying those Brits as terrorists and the UK as terrorism training grounds. Nonsense!

      • Very Proud Oily IZON Redeemer

        @wahala the main Buharimice on d loose from the National Zoo in Katsina state—-again with his janjaweed thoughts against the SS-Was Radio Biafra not on Air when Jonathan was in power? Did he attempt to stop your Director of Radio Biafra WHO IS NOW IN BUHARIS GULAG—from Insulting him on air for one second? U cannot kill the spirit of Ken Saro-Wiwa in Rivers state and the Niger Delta as a whole—Never—Did u ever dream in your entire rotten life–while the Ogonis were bonded to the Eastern regional government under Zik that that one day the Ogonis will import a bus into the country to celebrate the murder of Ken Saro Wiwa? That Buhari would appoint the officer who sat on the panel Rtd Col Ali that found Ken guilty of Murder—-as the Comptroller General of the Customs Department’?—May be u are not aware Lt Col Paul Okutimo, is also an Ibo man–Who confessed to the world that he has been trained in more than 500 ways to kill Ogonis ati Ijaws by the Fulanis- Today in Rivers state we have more educated Ogonis in the nooks and crannies of the world, than any sane human from the former eastern region who use to call the Ogonis names can think–of—————————Animals

  • let my ppl go-so sayeth d lord

    There are Compelling evidence to suggest the Present Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Customs Service, Rtd Col Ali and the Nigerian Military were part of the team that killed four Ogoni elders whose murders led to the execution of the playwright and activist Ken Saro-Wiwa in 1995. Col Ali also participated in the panel that sat to find Ken Saro Wiwa guilty and thus hanged him at the Port Harcourt Prisons.

    Now the same man who supervised the cold-blooded murder of Ken Saro WiWa, has been picked by General Buhari who was the executive Chairman of PTF under late General Abacha when Ken Saro Wiwa was hanged. Col Ali has blood dripping down his evil soul. That is why he had to erase anything that will remind him and Buhari of the Late Civil Right ACTIVIST who was hanged by Buhari, Abacha and Col Ali. Hence the need to seize the said items by the Customs.

    The evidence equally revealed that the notorious military commander Lieutenant-Colonel Paul Okuntimo, whose troops were implicated in murder and rape of Ogonis, was in the pay of Shell at the time of the killings and was driven around in a Shell vehicle most of the time in Port Harcourt.

    Since the time of Saro-Wiwa’s death, Shell has insisted that it had no financial relationship with the Nigerian military, although it has admitted paying it “field allowances” on two occasions. It has consistently denied any widespread collusion and payments. However, The Independent Newspaper of London has gained exclusive access to witness accounts that were to be used in evidence in the case of Wiwa vs Shell, brought by Ken Saro-Wiwa’s family. The case was settled last May for $15.5m, just days before it was due to start in New York. The settlement meant the testimonies were never made public.

    The current evidence also provide fresh insight into Shell’s financial and logistical involvement with the Nigerian military and with Lt-Col Okuntimo from the South East as the arrow head of the plot to hang Ken Saro wiwa.

    • Very Proud Oily IZON Redeemer

      20 years after the death of Ken Saro Wiwa, the Ghost of the environmental activist haunts Col Ali the current Comptroller General of Customs who supervised the murder of Ken in Port Prisons

  • Julius

    Watch them, they might try to sell it. Na so our Customs Service be oooo !!

  • let my people go

    There are Compelling evidence to suggest the Present Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Customs Service, Rtd Col Ali and the Nigerian Military were part of the team that killed four Ogoni elders whose murders led to the execution of the playwright and activist Ken Saro-Wiwa in 1995. Col Ali also participated in the panel that sat to find Ken Saro Wiwa guilty and thus hanged him at the Port Harcourt Prisons.

    Now the same man who supervised the cold-blooded murder of Ken Saro WiWa, has been picked by General Buhari who was the executive Chairman of PTF under late General Abacha when Ken Saro Wiwa was hanged. Col Ali has blood dripping down his evil soul. That is why he had to erase anything that will remind him and Buhari of the Late Civil Right ACTIVIST who was hanged by Buhari, Abacha and Col Ali. Hence the need to seize the said items by the Customs.

    The evidence equally revealed that the notorious military commander Lieutenant-Colonel Paul Okuntimo, whose troops were implicated in murder and rape of Ogonis, was in the pay of Shell at the time of the killings and was driven around in a Shell vehicle most of the time in Port Harcourt.

    Since the time of Saro-Wiwa’s death, Shell has insisted that it had no financial relationship with the Nigerian military, although it has admitted paying it “field allowances” on two occasions. It has consistently denied any widespread collusion and payments. However, The Independent Newspaper of London has gained exclusive access to witness accounts that were to be used in evidence in the case of Wiwa vs Shell, brought by Ken Saro-Wiwa’s family. The case was settled last May for $15.5m, just days before it was due to start in New York. The settlement meant the testimonies were never made public.

    The current evidence also provide fresh insight into Shell’s financial and logistical involvement with the Nigerian military and with Lt-Col Okuntimo from the South East as the arrow head of the plot to hang Ken Saro wiwa