Norwegian ambassador visits Saro-Wiwa’s home amidst emotions

Norwegian Ambassador to Nigeria, Jens-Petter Kjemprud
Norwegian Ambassador to Nigeria, Jens-Petter Kjemprud

The Norwegian Ambassador to Nigeria, Jens-Petter Kjemprud, Friday, made a stop-over visit to the Port Harcourt home of the late environmental activist and Ogoni leader, Ken Saro-Wiwa.

Mr Saro-Wiwa, together with eight of his kinsmen, was executed by Sani Abacha-led military regime on November 10, 1995, under controversial circumstances.

A section of the late activist’s home, located at 24 Aggrey Road, Port Harcourt, Rivers state, now houses a hub and a foundation named after him.

The ambassador was in Rivers State to view the ongoing Ogoni cleanup operation by the Nigerian government.

He was taken round the foundation, the hub, and the private office of late Mr Saro-Wiwa by the younger brother to the late activist.

When the visiting delegation entered late Mr Saro-Wiwa’s office everyone, including Mr Kjemprud, was said to have felt sober and could not hold back tears.

Mr Saro-Wiwa’s brother, who ushered his visitors to the door for them to step out, stayed behind the office. He placed his two palms upon his late brother’s table, lowered his head down for some minutes and began sobbed quietly, a member of the delegation told PREMIUM TIMES.

“He was wiping his tears when he led us outside,” Fyneface Dumnamene, an indigene of Ogoni, who accompanied Mr Kjemprud on the visit said.

“For me, it was a sober moment to see where a hero, someone that gave all he had for the people, used to sit. As a younger generation of Ogoni, I only was able to see him once when he came to campaign in Eleme in 1993,” Mr Dumnamene said.

“Walking into an office I have never been to before and his younger brother leading us and the ambassador to the desk, said ‘this is where he used to sit’. He said ‘that chair you see over there is his chair, this is his table. All that you see on the table are his personal effects.”

Mr Dumnamene said the struggle led by Mr Saro-Wiwa has brought some achievements but not as much as the Ogoni people would have wanted.

The struggle, he said, was against the pollution of Ogoniland, the economic deprivation and political marginalisation of the people.

He said out of these three, it is only the environmental issues that is about to be addressed, but that even the Ogoni cleanup is poorly handled.

He said the key components of the clean-up project such as the provision of potable water for the people have not yet been implemented by the project handlers.

A renowned environmental activist, Nnimmo Bassey, told PREMIUM TIMES in 2018 that the controversy over the death of Mr Saro-Wiwa would remain unresolved until the Nigerian government exonerates him of the “false” charges.

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“His death remains a matter that is yet to be resolved because the state necessarily has to exonerate him of the false charges and the kind of kangaroo judgment that was given by that tribunal,” Mr Bassey said.

“Besides, the state has to apologise to the victims and to the Ogoni people for executing them when the appeal period had not even elapsed.”



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