An Ex-prisoner Revealed this.
How Ken Sarowiwa: Died in Prison for the struggle for Ogoni people
BARELY twenty fours years after the late General Sani Abacha led Nigerian government executed an environmental activist and Ogoni leader, Ken Saro- Wiwa and nine leaders of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) on 10 November 1995, fresh facts are emerging on the scenario that played out in Port Harcourt Prison.
Ibrahim Abdullahi who spent over twenty-eight years at the Port Harcourt Prison where Saro Wiwa and the Ogoni nine were hung confirmed dead, said that after they were brutally murdered, he held the left hand of the late Activist while another prisoner held the right-hand side.
According to him, when Wiwa was to be executed, late Yar’Adua expressed shock that late Sani Abacha was going to kill Wiwa and went straight into the prison room, adding that when Wiwa was brought with his legs chained, all the prison wardens were sent out by the Soldiers.
According to Abdullahi who hails from Katsina State, raw Acid was poured on Wiwa and others inside the mass grave, just as he said that one Major Obi supervised the entire process.
Giving a vivid picture of what happened yesterday at the Africa Freedom Foundation, Abdullahi said, “My name is Ibrahim Abdulahi. I was arrested in Akwa Ibom in the course of fighting with a person, the individual’s life was lost in the process. We went to the court and I was sentenced to death. I spent 3 months in a condemned cell.
“When I was in Akwa Ibom prison, I was given life imprisonment and then, transferred on 15 of April 1994 to Port Harcourt Prison.
“In 1995, they brought Yar’Adua, Shehu Sani and Sanusi Mato into the prison. I saw them, we greeted. The following day, they took Shehu Sani to Aba prison and also took Sanusi Mato to Owerri. They left Yar’ Adua in Port Harcourt prison in 1995.
“One day, they brought Ken Saro Wiwa. When Ken Saro Wiwa came there, Yar’ Adua was standing at the gate side. They brought Ken Saro Wiwa from a military barrack and pursued everybody from the whole Prison yard.
“Yar’ Adua said that Abacha wants to hang Ken Saro Wiwa. Do they want to hang him? He was shocked. After that, Yar’adua went back to his cell and sat down.
“After that, they chained Ken Saro Wiwa’s leg and hands. So, they matched him to the condemned cell. Where they locked Ken Saro Wiwa was close to the gallows that they use in hanging people. Four people including a Commissioner of Education, one lecturer in the University of Port Harcourt with another person. Already, 5 people were there in the condemn cell so, they brought them and joined them with Ken Saro Wiwa which makes them nine.
“After that, they brought four of us with General, the Iron Bele, he was the head of the prisoners and Major Obi was leading the military group. They pursued all the warders that were there in the yard.
“They said they do not want warders to be with them apart from soldiers. That particular period, Musa Dauda Komo was the governor of Rivers state. They locked them in one cell. After that, they serviced the gallows, checked everything because the gallows can hang two persons at once. But one of the gallows was spoilt and the other was working.
After that, the Attorney General of the state came with five men, he met them in the cell and read the law for them. He said that the Federal Government has ordered that all of them should be hanged. After giving them the information, the lecturer, started crying and shouting so Ken Saro Wiwa turned to him and said you! are you not happy that you want to die with me?
” He said that his wife gave birth to a new baby and he is observing dry fasting. Ken Saro Wiwa now said that just be happy that both of us are about to die. Later Ken Saro Wiwa said that he did not send anybody to go and kill a person, but the Federal Government want to kill me. I did not send anybody! He now said that until this world ends, peace will never be in Ogoni land.
“Little while, they came and called Ken Saro Wiwa, he stood up and moved to the gallows and somebody was behind him who wore him a black cap that covered his face.
“He moved to the person that hangs, he took the robe and hanged him on the neck and operated the gallows and after operating, you will have to fall inside in a manner that your legs won’t touch the ground. “After they hung him, and we’re sure that he was dead, they brought him out and kept him in the slab. The doctor came and used a cystoscope and tested him to confirm if he was dead.
“Ken Saro Wiwa wore slippers before they hanged him. One of his slippers fell inside the hole where he was hung. It was me who carried the left hand and another person came and carry his leg. “We carried Ken Saro Wiwa up and kept him inside the coffin.
When we kept him there, the cameraman came there and took a few shots of Ken Saro Wiwa. Later, on Cecilia, who gave evidence in the court against Ken Saro Wiwa looked inside the Coffin and asked where Ken Saro Wiwa wristwatch was? “Where is the watch, she asked. From there, a military man came and ordered that we all should be thoroughly searched.
All of a sudden, the Military man pointed at a person and said that it was the person that removed the watch. They searched him and discovered that the watch was in his pocket. “They collected it from him and tied it on the wrist of Ken Saro Wiwa. So, they carried the boy and locked him up in the back cell. He was mercilessly beaten by Major Obi, who locked him up in the back cell.
“We covered the coffin and kept it somewhere. They brought another person, they hanged another person, and we were called to help carry the person. “They bought another when they brought him, he sat in a way and was shouting Jesus! After which he was hanged.
They called us again and so, we carried him. They brought another person, that one had an injury on his leg, he died too. “That was how we did for nine of them. Major Obi, if you want to talk, he will come and ask you what you are talking about, and he will start beating you. “In the situation of Ken Saro Wiwa, they brought an armoured car and kept it in the front of the prison.
After we finished the job, Major Obi ordered that we should line them up in a straight pattern. “The video man who videoed and also the cameraman who took pictures, Major Obi, called the video man and called the cameraman to remove the film and gave him back the camera.
He also called the cameraman, he removed the film and gave the camera back to him. “They brought tipper truck, and we were ordered to load all the dead bodies which we did. They carried them to Bonokiri which has a cemetery. They took them there and used raw acid and poured on all of them. All of them melted and then, we all returned. “They carried yams, drinks and plantains and gave us. They opened a shallow pit and poured them acid. We came back around 7:30 pm and met the whole area quiet. After about 1month, it remained 19 Ogonis. One day Abacha sent a paper which ordered for the release of all of them. It was Justice Ibrahim Auta that judged them and Gani Fayehimi was one of the lawyers.
Ken Saro Wiwa said he never sent those boys to go and kill anybody. “They detained me on the 14th of October, 1989. You can see that all my teeth are gone, and the imprisonment has made me look very old. I was arrested when I was 22years and now, I am 52years.”
Recall that Saro-Wiwa and eight of his kinsmen, who became popularly known as the Ogoni Nine, were sentenced to death by a special military tribunal set up by Abacha who later died on June 1998 inside the presidential villa under mysterious circumstances. Nigeria was suspended from the Commonwealth of Nations for over three years after Mr Saro-Wiwa, 54, and his group were hanged to death. The world was outraged by the execution.