An eyewitness, Ibrahim Abdullahi, who was a prisoner when the murdered environmental rights activist, Ken Saro-Wiwa, was killed in 1995 by the dictator, Gen. Sani Abacha, on Thursday, gave his account of how the late Ogoni leader and eight others were killed and buried.
Abdullahi, who was granted a state pardon last June by Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade, told journalists, “I was in the cell one day in 1995 when they brought the late Gen. Shehu Musa Yar’Adua (retd.), Senator Shehu Sani and Sanusi Mato.
“Sani and Mato were transferred to Aba and Owerri prisons respectively on the following day but they left Yar’Adua in Port Harcourt.”
“One day in 1995,” he continued, “soldiers brought Saro-Wiwa and three others from the military barracks and chased away everybody who was not a prisoner.
“Saro-Wiwa, who was chained in the legs and hands, was marched to the condemned cell which was directly opposite the gallows where he and others would be hanged. They met the five others who were already in the cell.”
Explaining further what happened, Abdullahi said, “One Major Obi, who led the operation, made sure that no warder witnessed the execution. They serviced the gallows which could execute two people at a time. The attorney-general of Rivers State then came with a file which contained the charges preferred against the Ogoni leaders.
“The AG went straight to their cell and read the charges to them and went back. One of them, a lecturer at the University of Port Harcourt, was crying, lamenting that his wife had just given birth to a new baby and that he was observing a dry fast on that day.
“Saro-Wiwa maintained that he did not ask anybody to kill anyone but that the federal military government just wanted to kill him. He then said there would never be peace in Ogoni land forever because of the innocent souls that Abacha wanted to sacrifice. After this, the soldiers marched him to the gallows.”
After their execution, Abdullahi said of Saro-Wiwa, “They brought out his corpse and put him in a slab and they invited a medical doctor who certified him dead. They called four of us to take his corpse.
“That was how they executed them one after the other. One of them was even calling the name of Jesus until he was pushed to the gallows.
“After the execution, Major Obi collected the films of the hanging from the photographer and the tape from the video man and asked us to put all the corpses inside a tipper which was used to covey them and four of us to the bush where they were buried.
“The soldiers then poured acid on Saro-Wiwa and others when we got to the place called Bolokiri and their bodies melted instantly inside a single pit where they put all of them.”
SaharaReporters, New York