By Charles Nwabardi
The Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to exonerate late playwright and environmental activist, Ken Saro-Wiwa, alongside eight other Ogoni leaders, who were killed during the regime of late Gen. Sani Abacha in 1995.
In a statement by its National Chairman, Senator Emmanuel Essien, PANDEF President Buhari should forgo the idea of pardoning the nine Ogoni leaders and work towards exonerating them instead.
The elders group insists that there has been no better to exonerate the slain activists of Ogoni, who were only fighting for better conditions for their people.
The statement reads, “PANDEF strongly supports the calls for their exoneration, not pardon, and therefore, urges President Muhammadu Buhari to jettison the consideration of granting pardon to the Ogoni icons.
“There is no better time for the President to make that pronouncement, than now, on the 26th memorial of the sadistic killing of the innocent men.
“It must be accentuated that Ken Saro-Wiwa, and the eight others did not commit any crime against the Nigerian State. They were patriots, heroes, who, through peaceful and non-violent processes, highlighted the injustices and wrongs perpetrated against the region, in tandem with the demands of the Ogoni People.
“Like several other innocent Niger Deltans, who have been killed by state actors, all they wanted was improved and better living conditions for their people – a safe, peaceful, and developed Niger Delta Region.
“Exonerating Ken Saro-Wiwa, and the eight others, at this time, will lessen the agonising memories of the sad events in the hearts of their families, the Ogoni people, and the entire Niger Delta people, as well as lovers of truth, justice and peace across the world.”