Shell on trial about Saro-Wiwa murder

This video from Nigeria is called The Burial of Ken Saro-Wiwa (Shell on Trial May 26th 2009).

From British daily The Independent:

Shell on trial

Oil giant in the dock over 1995 murder of activist who opposed environmental degradation of Niger Delta

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Royal Dutch Shell will revisit one of the darkest periods of its history tomorrow as a potentially groundbreaking court case opens in New York.

The oil giant stands accused of complicity in the 1995 execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa, a Nigerian environmental activist.

The world’s boardrooms are watching the case, which is seen as a test of whether transnational companies owned or operating in the US can be held responsible for human rights abuses committed abroad. …

Mr Saro-Wiwa was hanged in November 1995 after being convicted by a military tribunal in which he was denied proper legal representation or appeal. Shell subsequently faced a storm of protest and Nigeria was suspended from the Commonwealth. The British prime minister John Major called the execution “judicial murder”.

Tomorrow’s proceedings will see the Dutch-based energy giant charged with collaborating with Nigerian authorities in the execution of Mr Saro-Wiwa and eight other members of his ethnic Ogoni group on “trumped-up charges”. …

The suit also alleges that the company consistently conspired with military authorities to violently put down peaceful protests by the Ogoni people, hundreds of thousands of whom Mr Saro-Wiwa had helped to mobilise.

“I have always maintained that Shell was complicit in the conspiracy to silence my father along with thousands of other Ogonis,” said his eldest son, Ken Wiwa Jnr.

Nigeria‘s oil industry has long been the most glaring example of what is called Africa’s “resource curse”.

While Nigeria is Africa’s largest oil producer, the peoples of the river delta where the crude is extracted have seen their homelands turned into a wasteland. The millions of dollars of oil revenue accrued every day have done nothing for the 70 per cent of Nigerians who live on less than $1 a day.

In the Niger Delta, farmlands and fish stocks have been destroyed amid environmental degradation brought on by oil spills, deforestation and the notorious practice of gas flaring, which continues despite being banned.

Ken Saro-Wiwa, an accomplished writer and businessman, had warned that Shell‘s actions in Nigeria would return to haunt them: “I and my colleagues are not the only ones on trial … There is no doubt in my mind that the ecological war that the company has waged in the Delta will be called into question sooner than later and the crimes of that war duly punished.”

The campaigner’s death proved to be a turning point in the Delta and many of his darker predictions have since been borne out. …

Shell has been active since 1958 in the Delta, which contains most of Nigeria’s energy reserves, estimated at 36 billion barrels of oil and 187 trillion cubic feet of gas.

The plaintiffs in the case allege that, although the Nigerian government tortured and executed the claimants and their relatives, “these abuses were instigated, orchestrated, planned, and facilitated by Shell Nigeria” and that the company “provided money, weapons, and logistical support to the Nigerian military, participated in the fabrication of murder charges, and bribed witnesses to give testimony.”

See also here. And here. And here. And here. And here.

ShellGuilty Rallies in NYC and London Today! Here.

The oil giant Shell has agreed to pay $15.5m (£9.7m) in settlement of a legal action in which it was accused of having collaborated in the execution of the writer Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other leaders of the Ogoni tribe of southern Nigeria: here.

Oil giant Shell has been forced to pay out millions of pounds to the families of murdered Nigerian activists in an out-of-court settlement which campaigners claim confirms the multinational’s complicity in the 1995 killings: here. And here.

11 thoughts on “Shell on trial about Saro-Wiwa murder

  1. Blood for oil in Nigeria: Military launches massive attack on Niger

    May 21, 2009 — The Nigerian military has been accused of killing
    hundreds, maybe thousands, of civilians in the oil-rich Niger Delta. The
    military offensive began eight days ago (May 13, 2009) but has received
    little international attention. We go to Nigeria to speak with Denzil
    Amagbe Kentebe of the Ijaw National Congress. We’re also joined by Sandy
    Cioffi, director of the new documentary Sweet Crude about the Niger
    Delta. The village of Oporoza, where much of the film was shot, has just
    been burned down.

    * Read more


  2. Nigeria: The video Shell does not want you to see

    June 1, 2009 — A pre-trial conference scheduled in the potentially
    landmark lawsuit brought by Nigerian plaintiffs against oil giant Royal
    Dutch Shell has been delayed until June 3. The conference was announced
    following the decision by the presiding judge in the US Southern
    District Court in New York to delay indefinitely the actual trial. Jury
    selection in the trial itself had been meant to start April 27, but was
    put off the day before. No new date was set. Shell is accused of
    complicity in the 1995 hanging of Ken Saro-Wiwa, a renowned writer and
    activist, and other leaders of a movement protesting alleged
    environmental destruction and other abuses by Shell against the Ogoni
    people in the Niger Delta.

    * Read more


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