Nigerian widows of murdered environmentalists accuse Shell

This 29 June 2017 Amnesty International video says about itself:

Nigeria: My husband was executed – Esther Kiobel

One woman is squaring up to Shell. Stand with her.

Nigeria’s Esther Kiobel is taking on one of the world’s biggest oil companies – Shell – in a final fight for justice over her husband’s killing. She’s pursued them for 22 years, accusing Shell of colluding in her husband’s 1995 execution.

Shell’s quest for oil has devastated the once fertile land in the Niger Delta. Communities have been left destitute from decades of pollution. Oil spills have ravaged farmland and rivers, contaminating their water and putting their health at grave risk. In the 1990s, Shell seemingly would stop at nothing to make sure they were turning a profit.

The company urged Nigeria’s military government to deal with environmental protests – knowing full well what that could mean. The military killed and tortured people in a brutal crackdown that culminated in the 1995 sham trial and hanging of nine Nigerian men, including Esther’s husband, Dr Barinem Kiobel.

Losing her husband tore Esther’s world apart. Fearing for her life, she fled Nigeria with her children. She never stopped struggling to have her husband’s name cleared. This month, Esther is taking Shell to court in the Netherlands in what will be a tense David vs Goliath face-off. Shell wants to belittle her claims and keep her complaints out of the public eye.

But Esther won’t let them make her feel small. Neither should we. Tell Shell you’re with Esther. Send us your message and we will make sure Shell gets it – and that Esther knows you’re standing with her.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Shell made me a widow living in poverty’

It was an important day for four Nigerian widows who filed a lawsuit against Shell. Their husbands were executed in 1995 by the then regime in Nigeria. The widows also hold Shell responsible for this. “Shell came into my life and made me a widow living in poverty,” said an emotional Esther Kiobel during the session.

Widow Kiobel asked this afternoon why Shell ‘tries to avoid a court case’. “If Shell really has nothing to hide, why do not they just show that during a trial?” The other two widows were not present today because they could not get a visa.

Influence on the regime

According to the lawyers of the widows, there were links between Shell and the secret service of the regime. The regime acted harshly against the local population who protested [against pollution by Shell] and, according to the lawyers, Shell only encouraged that. “The requests for intervention by Shell resulted in arrests, deaths and injuries, but that did not prevent Shell from continuing to ask for regime action.”

Ten years ago, the family of one of the Ogoni leaders received compensation of $ 15.5 million from Shell, but the corporation emphatically did not admit guilt. …

The court will decide on the case on 8 May.

Hannah-Jones, the principal spokesperson for the [New York Times] “1619 Project,” appeared on a platform sponsored by Shell Oil, which is implicated in massive crimes against the human rights of the Ogoni people in Nigeria: here.

12 thoughts on “Nigerian widows of murdered environmentalists accuse Shell

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