‎Widows of Ogoni leaders killed by Abacha sue Shell in Netherlands

epa05113059 (FILE) A file photo dated 30 July 2015 showing a company flag flying infront of the head office of Royal Dutch Shell in The Hague, The Netherlands. Royal Dutch Shell plc on 20 January 2016 reported a sharp fall in profits for the last quarter of 2015 as low oil prices hit earnings and the company restructured to reduce costs. Shell said it expected fourth-quarter earnings to be between 1.6 billion and 1.9 billion dollars, down from 4.2 billion dollars in the fourth quarter of 2014. Full-year earnings, including the impact of lower prices on the company's oil inventory, are expected to total 10.4 billion to 10.7 billion dollars, about 45 per cent lower than the 19 billion dollars reported in 2014.  EPA/JERRY LAMPEN [Photo Credit: Financial Times]
epa05113059 (FILE) A file photo dated 30 July 2015 showing a company flag flying infront of the head office of Royal Dutch Shell in The Hague, The Netherlands. Royal Dutch Shell plc on 20 January 2016 reported a sharp fall in profits for the last quarter of 2015 as low oil prices hit earnings and the company restructured to reduce costs. Shell said it expected fourth-quarter earnings to be between 1.6 billion and 1.9 billion dollars, down from 4.2 billion dollars in the fourth quarter of 2014. Full-year earnings, including the impact of lower prices on the company's oil inventory, are expected to total 10.4 billion to 10.7 billion dollars, about 45 per cent lower than the 19 billion dollars reported in 2014. EPA/JERRY LAMPEN [Photo Credit: Financial Times]

The widows of four of nine men executed by Nigeria’s military regime in 1995 have filed a civil lawsuit seeking compensation and an apology from Royal Dutch Shell.

The widows are Esther Kiobel, Victoria Bera, Blessing Eawo and Charity Levula.

According to a writ filed in a court in The Hague, the widows are seeking compensation from the company for alleged complicity in a military crackdown, leading to the deaths of their husbands.

The Nigerian military cracked down heavily on local opposition to oil production by a Shell joint venture in the Niger Delta region in the early 1990s.

The suit filed by the four widows alleged that Shell provided support to the military in the crackdown that ultimately led to the executions of the men, known as the Ogoni 9.

But Shell, the largest oil producer in Nigeria, has repeatedly denied any involvement in the executions or the government’s response to the unrest.

A statement by the multinational said the company did not collude with the military, adding that it believed in dialogue.

“We have always denied, in the strongest possible terms, the allegations made by the plaintiffs in this tragic case,” the statement said Wednesday.

“SPDC (Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria) did not collude with the authorities to suppress community unrest and in no way encouraged or advocated any act of violence in Nigeria. In fact, the company believes that dialogue is the best way to resolve disputes.”

In 2009, Shell agreed in an out-of-court settlement in the United States to pay $15.5 million in damages to a group of relatives of the nine.

The four widows’ civil case, according to Reuters News agency report, was filed by human rights lawfirm Prakken d’Oliveira with the support of Amnesty International.

“Shell and the military regime formed an alliance in the events leading to the deaths of the Ogoni 9,” the writ said.

“Their relationship was one of mutual dependence: the Nigerian state was dependent on the income from oil that Shell generated; in turn, Shell was dependent on the benevolence and protection of the regime to pursue its activities in Nigeria and in this way realise a substantial part of its turnover.”

The writ however did not specify how much compensation they were seeking.

Earlier, Kiobel had taken a lawsuit to the United States, but the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2013 that the case could not be heard because the country did not have jurisdiction.

A number of groups have pursued in recent years cases against Shell in courts in the United Kingdom, the United States and the Netherlands over claims related to oil spills and environmental damage, claiming they cannot get a fair hearing in Nigeria.

The Ogoni Nine were a group of nine activists from the Ogoni region of Nigeria. They were led by outspoken author and playwright Ken Saro-Wiwa, who had previously been a critic of the Royal Dutch Shell oil corporation, and had been imprisoned for a year prior to the executions in November 1995.

Others are Saturday Dobee, Nordu Eawo, Daniel Gbooko, Paul Levera, Felix Nuate, Baribor Bera, Barinem Kiobel, and John Kpuine.

They were executed by hanging in 1995 by the military dictatorship of Sani Abacha and buried in Port Harcourt Cemetery.

The executions provoked international condemnation and led to the increasing treatment of Nigeria as a pariah state until Mr. Abacha’s death in 1998.


DOWNLOAD THE PREMIUM TIMES MOBILE APP

Now available on

  Premium Times Android mobile applicationPremium Times iOS mobile applicationPremium Times blackberry mobile applicationPremium Times windows mobile application

TEXT AD:DIABETES Is CURABLE! Don't Let It Threaten You! To NORMALIZE Your Blood Sugar In 21Days For Life, Click Here!!!.


All rights reserved. This material and any other material on this platform may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, written or distributed in full or in part, without written permission from PREMIUM TIMES.


  • emmanuel

    Mohammadu Bokohari was a key and caucus member of that murderous Abacha regime that saw bombings here and there for the very first time on Nigerian streets. Yours truly narrowly escaped one of those detonated at Ojuelegba in those days. He, Bokohari, regardless of his life support status, should be charged along with Shell as partners in crime.

  • Frank Bassey

    This is not an easy case. Can the widows prove Shell’s complicity in the deal? It is a shame. Up till now Ogoni people cannot hold annual event, like the Yoruba would do, in memory of the brutal murder of their kinsmen by the agents of Northern oligarchy who are more interested in their oil and gas than their welfare. They are at home fighting Jonathan, Wike and non-indigenes. This case is likely to achieve NOTHING.