Saro-Wiwa has last laugh with message in a nappy

Ken Saro-Wiwa, the Nigerian writer and environmental activist who was executed by his country's military regime last November to tremendous international outcry, wrote a satirical account of the circumstances leading up to his death while he was in prison.

The manuscript was smuggled out of his cell in the nappy of his one-year- old nephew a month before he died, revealed Ken Wiwa, the late activist's son.

The short piece, a part-fictional, part-allegorical account of a man in prison who knows he is to be executed, bears obvious similarities with Mr Saro-Wiwa's own situation. He savagely satirises both the Nigerian establishment and the Shell oil company, which he believed was polluting his native Ogoni lands. It was his agitation against Shell Oil's operations that invited his government's ire and ultimately led to his almost summary execution.

The manuscript is being dramatised by the Contact Theatre Company in Manchester next Saturday. Entitled On the Death of Ken Saro-Wiwa by Ken Saro-Wiwa, the production is completely faithful to the original. "The writing has such spirit and depth that we are not adapting or altering it at all," said Kerry Michael, the producer. "It is a sensitive and politically charged piece of writing."

Mr Ken Wiwa, who lives in Britain, got hold of the manuscript last December. Though it was in the form of a computer printout, Mr Wiwa has no doubt about its authenticity.

"The style is consistent with his other writings. Nobody else could have written that piece," said Mr Wiwa. His father did have a computer in his cell for a while, he said.

Towards the end of the piece, Mr Saro-Wiwa "reports" on his own death, laughing at Nigeria's culture of awarding contracts for anything and everything: "The coffin had to be no more than five feet long and one foot wide ... Poor Ken was squashed into this contraption. And being used to protesting injustice, his corpse squeaked and screamed. The officer who had won the contract for putting Ken in the coffin ran for his dear life. So the Military Administrator had to do the job himself. He duly cancelled this aspect of the contract and demoted the officer for cowardice."

In the final lines he cocks a snook at the Nigerian government by predicting the worldwide condemnation that would follow his death.

n Nigeria has told the United Nations it will amend legislation under which Mr Saro-Wiwa and eight other activists on behalf of the Ogoni people were convicted and hanged last November, Reuter reports from New York.

It has also agreed immediately to review all cases of detention without trial under a 1984 decree, and to examine whether ecological and environmental problems affect the oil-producing Ogoni region.

Nigeria's consent to these and some other recommendations of a recent UN fact-finding mission was contained in a letter to the Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali from Auwalu Hamisu Yadudu, special adviser on legal matters to the Nigerian Head of State, General Sani Abacha.

The letter was an interim response to the UN mission's report, given to Abacha earlier this month by UN emissary Lakhdar Brahimi. Both documents have been sent to the president of the General Assembly, which last December overwhelmingly condemned Nigeria's "arbitrary execution, after a flawed judicial process" of Mr Saro-Wiwa and his colleagues.

News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete tomorrow
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Arts and Entertainment
Gay and OK: a scene from 'Pride'
filmsUS film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
Life and Style
Magic roundabouts: the gyratory system that has excited enthusiasts in Swindon
motoringJust who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
Kim Jong Un gives field guidance during his inspection of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167
newsSouth Korean reports suggest rumours of a coup were unfounded
Arts and Entertainment
You could be in the Glastonbury crowd next summer if you follow our tips for bagging tickets this week
music
News
i100
Sport
footballSporting Lisbon take on Chelsea as Manchester City host Roma
News
people
Travel
Bruce Chatwin's novel 'On the Black Hill' was set at The Vision Farm
travelOne of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
Arts and Entertainment
Mystery man: Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike in '‘Gone Girl'
films
News
businessForbes 400 list released
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie performs during her Kiss Me Once tour
musicReview: 26 years on from her first single, the pop princess tries just a bit too hard at London's O2
News
peopleSwimmer also charged with crossing double land lines and excessive speeding
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

MANCHESTER - SENIOR COMMERCIAL LITIGATION -

Highly Attractive Pakage: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - A highly attractive oppor...

Senior Marketing Manager - Central London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (Campaigns, Offlin...

Head of Marketing - Acquisition & Direct Reponse Marketing

£90000 - £135000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Marketing (B2C, Acquisition...

1st Line Service Desk Analyst

£27000 - £30000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client who are...

Day In a Page

Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy