The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria, has said it would institute legal actions against the Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, over the continuous seizure of Ken Saro-Wiwa’s memorabilia.
The memorabilia, a customized bus, was sent by European friends of the late environmentalist, Ken Saro-Wiwa, to the people of Ogoni in 2015 to mark the 20th memorial anniversary of the activist and Ogoni nine, but has since been held up by Customs till date.
Speaking on the development, the Acting Executive Director of ERA, Barr. Chima Williams, called on the Comptroller General of Customs to release the memorial bus with immediate effect.
Williams assured that ERA will take up the matter, while wondering why Customs has continued to seized up the memorabilia, when it was not a contraband or illegal commodity.
He also called for the exoneration and immortalization of Ken Saro Wiwa as the hero of the struggle for environmental justice.
“We are calling on the Comptoller General of Customs to release the memorial bus of Ken Saro-Wiwa immediately.
“Efforts have been made to pay the demurrage, but if the Customs refuse to release that bus, ERA will mobilized and support the people of Ogoni to take every legal steps to ensure that bus is released.
“Customs has no business seizing any commodity which is not illegal. The Ken Saro Wiwa memorial bus is an artefact, which within the Customs rules is not supposed to be seized.
“ERA is taking up this matter now on a full scale. It has been over five years now, ERA will engage Customs to ensure that bus is released.
“The bus was an opportunity to bring to fore what Ken stood for, which is environmental justice. The bus was not smuggled, it was officially shipped and that is why Customs have access to it.
“The Nigerian state has been trying to be wicked to Ken; how can the NCS hold on to Ken’s memorial bus since 2015? Even when the people of Ogoni and friends of Ogoni are ready to pay Customs duties for it, assuming it was not paid?” ERA queried.