Reps re­ject one-minute hon­our for Ken Saro-wiwa

Seek fol­low-up on Ogoni clean-up

The Guardian (Nigeria) - - NEWS - From Otei Oham, Abuja

MEM­BERS of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives yes­ter­day kicked against a pro­posal by a mem­ber, Kings­ley Chinda (PDP, Rivers), to ob­serve a minute si­lence for late en­vi­ron­men­tal­ist, Ken Saro-wiwa, 22 years af­ter he passed on.

Con­sid­er­ing the mo­tion by Chinda urg­ing them to rise for a minute in re­spect of the late en­vi­ron­ment crusader, who was killed along­side eight oth­ers by the mil­i­tary gov­ern­ment of late Sani Abacha on Novem­ber 10, 1995, the law­mak­ers said it would be in­ap­pro­pri­ate to grant SaroWiwa the hon­our be­cause his ex­e­cu­tion was ‘duly con­sid­ered and en­dorsed by the gov­ern­ment.’

They, how­ever, agreed that 22 years af­ter, the en­vi­ron­men­tal sit­u­a­tion in the Niger Delta, where the late en­vi­ron­men­tal­ist can­vassed for en­hance­ment, has not im­proved.

The law­mak­ers, there­fore, urged the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment to de­clare Ogo­ni­land an eco­log­i­cal dis­as­ter zone and in­vest re­sources aimed at tack­ling the dev­as­ta­tion in the area and the en­tire Niger Delta.

They also man­dated the House Com­mit­tees on En­vi­ron­ment and Pe­tro­leum to fol­low up and mon­i­tor the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Ogo­ni­land cleanup ex­er­cise.

A law­maker, Ben­jamin Wayo (APC, Benue), said: “While I agree that the en­vi­ron­men­tal sit­u­a­tion in Niger Delta is pitiable, we have to be care­ful in adopt­ing the prayer in the mo­tion, call­ing for one- minute si­lence for the late en­vi­ron­men­tal­ist.

“Sec­tion 33 (1) of the Nige­rian con­sti­tu­tion says every per­son has right to life. It’s only per­mis­si­ble to be taken through con­sti­tu­tional means, just as it was done in this case. “There­fore, it will be out of or­der to ob­serve a minute si­lence for him (Saro-wiwa) un­der this cir­cum­stance.”

Also, Ali Madaki (APC, Kano), who sup­ported the re­jec­tion of the mo­tion, ap­pealed to mem­bers to be wary in or­der not to breach pro­ce­dures re­gard­ing gov­ern­ment’s pro­nounce­ments.

But Onye­maechi Mrak­por (PDP, Delta) said ob­serv­ing one-minute si­lence for the late en­vi­ron­men­tal­ist or not does not change the nar­ra­tive that the pol­lu­tion and in­fras­truc­tural de­cay in Niger Delta have not abated.

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