Ken Saro-Wiwa declaration before his death in 1995

My lord, since my arrest on the 21st of May, 1994 I have been
subjected to physical and mental torture, held incommunicado and
denied food for weeks and medical attention for months.
My seventy-four year old mother has been whipped and arrested,
my wife beaten and threatened with detention, the three telephone
lines to my office and residence cut and the they remain cut to this
day, my office and home have been ransacked on three different
occasions and personal and family property, official files and
documents taken away without documentation.
I have been calumniated in the press and on satellite television
before the whole world by a Rivers State government anxious to
prejudice the mind of the public and to convince that public of my
guilt even before trial. Only recently, before the United Nations
Committee for the Eradication of Racism and Discrimination in
Geneva, an official delegation of the Federal Government which
included the Special Adviser on Legal Affairs to the Head of State,
Professor Yazudu, declared me responsible for the murders which
are the subject of this Tribunal, even before Tribunal has found
against me or anyone else.
The fact that a case of homicide is being charged before a Tribunal
set up under Decree No. 2 of 1987 speaks for itself. I am aware of
the many strictures laid against the decree and this Tribunal by
local and international observers. All the same, I have followed the
proceedings here with keen and detailed interest, not only because
I am charged before this Tribunal, but also because, as a writer, I
am a custodian of the conscience of society. I regret that the legal
counsel I freely chose, Gani Fawhimi, the human rights hero and
pride of this country, was forced to withdraw. His withdrawal has
denied credibility to this
With the permission of the Tribunal, I would now like to make a
filmic representation which will graphically demonstrate all that I
have said here and amplify the details thereof.
My lord, we all stand before history. I am a man of peace, of ideas.
Appalled by the denigrating poverty of my people who live on a
richly-endowed land, distressed by their political marginalization
and economic strangulation, angered by the devastation of their
land, their ultimate heritage, anxious to preserve their right to life
and to a decent living, and determined to usher to this country as a
whole a fair and just democratic system which protects everyone
and every ethnic group and gives us all a valid claim to human
civilization, I have devoted all my intellectual and material
resources, my very life, to a cause in which I have total belief and
from which I cannot be blackmailed or intimidated.
I have no doubt at all about the ultimate success of my cause, no
matter the trials and tribulations which I and those who believe
with me may encounter on our journey. Nor imprisonment nor
death can stop our ultimate victory.
I repeat that we all stand before history. I and my colleagues are
not the only ones on trial. Shell is here on trial and it is as well that
it is represented by counsel said to be holding a watching brief.
The company has, indeed, ducked this particular trial, but its day
will surely come and the lessons learnt here may prove useful to it
for there is no doubt in my mind that the ecological war the
company has waged in the delta will be called to question sooner
than later and the crimes of that war duly punished. The crime of
the company’s dirty wars against the Ogoni people will also be
On trial also is the Nigerian nation, its present rulers and all those
who assist them. Any nation which can do to the weak and
disadvantaged what the Nigerian nation has done to the Ogoni,
loses a claim to independence and to freedom from outside
I am not one of those who shy away from protesting injustice and
oppression, arguing that they are expected from a military regime.
The military do not act alone. They are supported by a gaggle of
politicians, lawyers, judges, academics and businessmen, all of
them hiding under the claim that they are only doing their duty,
men and women too afraid to wash their pants of their urine. We
all stand on trial, my lord, for by our actions we have denigrated
our country and jeopardized the future of our children.
As we subscribe to the sub-normal and accept double standards,
as we lie and cheat openly, as we protect injustice and oppression,
we empty our classrooms, degrade our hospitals, fill our stomachs
with hunger and elect to make ourselves the slaves of those who
subscribe to higher standards, pursue the truth, and honour justice,
freedom and hard work.
I predict that the scene here will be played and replayed by
generations yet unborn. Some have already cast themselves in the
role of villains, some are tragic victims, some still have a chance to
redeem themselves. The choice is for each individual.
I predict that a denouement of the riddle of the Niger delta will
soon come. The agenda is being set at this trial. Whether the
peaceful ways I have favoured will prevail depends on what the
oppressor decides, what signals it sends out to the waiting public.
In my innocence of the false charges I face here, in my utter
conviction, I call upon the Ogoni people, the peoples of the Niger
delta, and the oppressed ethnic minorities of Nigeria to stand up
now and fight fearlessly and peacefully for their rights. History is
on their side, God is on their side. For the Holy Quran says in Sura
42, verse 41: “All those who fight, when oppressed incur no guilt,
but Allah shall punish the oppressor.” Come the day.

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  1. Good

  2. Alright

  3. Ok good

  4. So painful

  5. Eiyah

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