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My Fight for Ogoni Freedom

Time 0:04:41

Transcript:

I ended up being a refugee for 10 years in the republic of Benin as a result of what happened to me in Ogoni from the government of Nigeria. I am ever a disciple of Ken Saro Wiwa, a leader of the people of Ogoni. While alive, he spoke about the environmental degradation resulting from the oil exploration by Shell for several years in Ogoniland. He established the movement for the survival of Ogoni people. (MOSOP)

I joined this crusade by Ken Saro Wiwa and as result of this, I became a threat to the government of Nigeria. I was arrested and detained for several months. My people paid them some money to set me free. Even when I was freed, I did not stop following Ken Saro Wiwa. They started again to threaten me. In the process I went into hiding. I had to find my way into the republic of Benin. It was when I got to Benin that I came to understand that they killed Ken Saro Wiwa, alongside eight others on the 10th of November, 1995. This day is celebrated every year as the day of fallen heros by Ogoni people around the world.

When I got the refugee camp in Benin, I registered with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. In the camp, we were living in abject poverty. No money to buy soap, to buy food, to buy anything. I didn’t see my parents for so many years. When they passed away, I wasn’t able to be there for their burial. I continued to pray for direction, for patience, for wisdom. The Beninoise would tell me that Nigeria is their big brother. They wouldn’t be part of anything that would anger Nigeria. So it took ten years for me to be able to come over to Canada from that camp.

I arrived in St. John’s in 2008. Everybody said there were no jobs in St. John’s. I couldn’t pay my bills. So I went to Windsor. But I couldn’t pay my bills there. I couldn’t pay back the money that I owed the Canadian government for my plane ticket. I slipped into a depression. God told me, this is because you disobeyed me – this is not where I sent you. So I went back to St. John’s. My life here is absolutely full of beauty.

I left my people of Ogoni in the refugee camp in west Africa. To this day they are still there. I have to think about how to help them. Maybe this story I am telling now will go a long way to do good things for the people of Ogoni.

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