The stupidity of the Nigerian junta is unfathomable. Like many dictators in
Africa they have turned a blind eye not only to world opinions, but also to
justice and good governance. It's time we echo our outrage and force
dictators such as the one in Nigeria, Ethiopia, and others in the
continent back to the barracks or to jail.
Many journalists are also brutally persecuted by the minority ethnic regime
in Ethiopia. Unfortunately, the regime in Ethiopia is slick and very
sly in covering its human rights violations. So the West including
people like Randal Robinson of TransAfrica are oblivious or duped by the
regimes few junkets etc.
On Mon, 13 Nov 1995, David Lush - MISA wrote:
> PRESS RELEASE
> NOVEMBER 13, 1995
> ISSUED BY THE MEDIA INSTITUTE OF SOUTHERN AFRICA (MISA)
> MISA CALLS FOR ISOLATION OF NIGERIAN REGIME FOLLOWING EXECUTION OF WRITER
> KEN SARO-WIWA
> Following the decision of the heads of government meeting New Zealand to
> suspend Nigeria from the Commonwealth for two years, the Media Institute of
> Southern Africa (MISA) calls on African governments to take a united stand
> to ensure the complete isolation of the despotic Nigerian regime of General
> Sani Abacha.
> As the execution of writer Ken Saro-Wiwa on Friday again proves, the
> current illegitimate Nigerian government has no qualms whatsoever about
> wantonly abusing the fundamental human rights of the Nigerian people. In so
> doing, General Abacha's government is displaying the same brutal tendencies
> of apartheid regimes in South Africa of old; regimes which also had little
> regard for freedom of expression and other internationally-recognised
> This is ironic considering the role Nigeria played in international
> campaign against apartheid. Like past minority regimes in South Africa, the
> Nigerian government seems to care little about international opinion.
> Otherwise, why should the Nigerian government have ignored the worldwide
> call for the life of Saro-Wiwa and his colleagues to be spared, and have
> carried out their execution to coincide with the Commonwealth conference?
> The time for diplomacy and negotiations are over. There is now a need to
> isolate General Abacha's regime, and force it to submit to the democratic
> will of the Nigerian people, in the same way that apartheid South Africa
> was forced to change. African nations must take a lead in isolating
> Nigeria, just as we did in the campaign against apartheid.
> In the memory of Ken Saro Wiwa, and in solidarity with oppressed Nigerian
> journalists and media organisations, MISA calls on media workers throughout
> Africa and beyond to continue highlighting to the best of their
> professional ability the human rights abuses currently taking place in
> Nigeria. MISA further urges its chapters throughout southern Africa to
> protest against the execution of Saro-Wiwa by demonstrating at Nigerian
> diplomatic missions in the region, and to put pressure on their respective
> governments to sever all diplomatic ties with Nigeria.
> Nigerian author and minority rights activist Ken Saro-Wiwa was sentenced to
> death on October 31 1995 after being convicted - together with eight others
> - of inciting the murder of four Ogoni leaders. They were tried by three
> members of a military-appointed tribunal which fell far below international
> standards of law.
> Saro-Wiwa and his co-accused were executed on Friday (November 10). Little
> evidence was presented during the trial to support the charges against
> Saro-Wiwa. Two of the prosecution witnesses have since stated in sworn
> affidavits that they were bribed to make statements against the writer. It
> is widely believed that Saro-Wiwa was given the death penalty because of
> his political activism within the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni
> People (MOSOP) . Saro-Wiwa was in his home in Port Harcourt at the time the
> four Ogoni leaders were murdered on May 21, 1994. One of those murdered was
> Saro-Wiwa's brother-in-law.
> In the early hours of May 22 1994, Saro-Wiwa was dragged from his house by
> members of the military, severely beaten and jailed. He was subsequently
> held without charge for nine months, during which time he was repeatedly
> beaten, denied medical attention, and spent 65 days in chains. His trial
> began earlier this year. As Saro-Wiwa himself said on many occasions, the
> verdict was a foregone conclusion, decided on in advance by the Nigerian
> government as a response to his environmental campaigning.
> Saro-Wiwa was a prominent member of the Ogoni tribe which lives, fishes and
> farms on oil-rich lands in the River Niger delta. For more than 30 years,
> the Anglo-Dutch Shell oil company has extracted billions of dollars of oil
> from Ogoniland, much of which still lacks electricity and running water,
> and has just one hospital to serve the region's half-a-million people. In
> the early 1990's, Saro-Wiwa helped found MOSOP, a pressure group demanding
> that pollution in the delta be cleaned up, and the Ogoni people be
> compensated for the degradation of their lands.
> Fellow Nigerian writer, Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka, has criticised
> governments which take a diplomatic approach to Nigeria. "You do not
> compromise with evil," says Soyinka.
> FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT MISA ON TEL. +264 61 232975, FAX. 248016,
> E-MAIL: [log in to unmask]
> David Lush
> Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA)
> Private Bag 13386
> Windhoek, Namibia
> Tel. +264 61 232975, Fax. 248016
> e-mail: [log in to unmask]