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Ken Saro-Wiwa Jr, journalist, author, and son of the late environmental activist Ken Saro-Wiwa is dead.

He is reported to have passed on following a brief illness. His family has said that he died after suffering a stroke. He was aged 47.

Saro-Wiwa worked as a journalist and also served three government administrations; the variety of engagements he had with the media and presidents in his lifetime saw him contribute lucid commentaries and provide useful insights into the workings of society and the environment. Although the memory of his father dominated much of the public’s perception of him, he was an accomplished man in his own right. His works were featured in the UK Guardian, where he helped develop content for its online version. He also wrote for The Washington Post, The New York Times and National Geographic.

In 2006, he was appointed as special adviser on peace and conflict resolution by former president Olusegun Obasanjo, a role which harked back to the troubles in the Niger Delta and his father’s struggle to call the world’s attention to them. He was also adviser to President Umaru Yar’Adua on international affairs and continued in that capacity under Goodluck Jonathan until the former president’s exit from Aso Rock in 2015.

Although Mr. Saro-Wiwa didn’t directly square off against the government as his father did, he still openly expressed some dissatisfaction with the situation in the Niger Delta. The BBC’s report on his death quotes an opinion piece he wrote for the UK’s Guardian in 2015, in which he said that there was “little evidence to show that it sits on one of the world’s richest deposits of oil and gas”.

Reactions have poured in from government officials and senior members of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) which Ken Wiwa’s father, Ken Saro-Wiwa, headed while he was alive. They have expressed shock at his passing on and described his death as a loss to Nigeria.

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This article was first published on 19th October 2016


Ikenna Nwachukwu holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He loves to look at the world through multiple lenses- economic, political, religious and philosophical- and to write about what he observes in a witty, yet reflective style.

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