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SHELL SPONSORED MILITARY RULE AND DEEPENING VIOLENCE IN OGONILAND

“Shell operations still impossible unless ruthless military operations are undertaken for smooth economic activities to commence.” Security forces led by Okuntimo shot at thousands of people who were peacefully demonstrating outside Shell’s main compound at Rumuobiakani in Port Harcourt. One eyewitness told Human Rights Watch that he heard Major Paul Okuntimo order his soldiers, “Shoot at anyone you see.” According to Human Rights Watch: “The troops began throwing canisters of tear gas, shooting indiscriminately…”

Extracts from pages 23 & 24 of an Amnesty International document headed: “A CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE? SHELL’S INVOLVEMENT IN HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN NIGERIA IN THE 1990s”

EXTRACT BEGINS

MILITARY RULE AND DEEPENING VIOLENCE IN OGONILAND

In November 1993, General Sani Abacha, a man intolerant of dissent who was prepared to use violence to suppress opposition, seized power in a coup.74 Abacha banned all political activity, replacing civilian governors with military administrators, and jailing and executing opponents.75 By early the next year, the military administrator of Rivers state

Lieutenant-Colonel Musa Dauda Komo had put in place a new plan to deal with MOSOP, creating the Internal Security Task Force (ISTF), under Major Paul Okuntimo.76 Almost immediately the ISTF engaged in excessive use of force and other human rights violations in response to community protests in the Niger Delta. For example, on 21 February 1994, security forces led by Okuntimo shot at thousands of people who were peacefully demonstrating outside Shell’s main compound at Rumuobiakani in Port Harcourt. One eyewitness told Human Rights Watch that he heard Major Paul Okuntimo order his soldiers, “Shoot at anyone you see.”77 According to Human Rights Watch: “The troops began throwing canisters of tear gas, shooting indiscriminately, beating demonstrators with the butts of their guns, and making arrests. P, a community elder, still has a scar on his head from the brutal beating to which he was subjected. Five people were shot, and more than ten people were arrested.”78 read more

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AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL CASTIGATES SHELL

The manager of Shell’s eastern division, J.R. Udofia, faxed the Commissioner of Police in Rivers State specifically requesting the intervention of the Mobile Police (also known as MOPOL), a paramilitary unit. According to a subsequent judicial enquiry, the villagers had not in fact attacked Shell installations, but conducted a peaceful protest demanding that the oil company compensate them for damage caused by pollution from oil spills. Over the course of the next two days, the Mobile Police attacked the village, “like an invading army that had vowed to take the last drop of the enemy’s blood”, the inquiry found. The Mobile Police, using guns and grenades, killed 80 people, throwing many corpses into a nearby river, the survivors testified.

Extracts from pages 19 to 23 of an Amnesty International document headed: “A CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE? SHELL’S INVOLVEMENT IN HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN NIGERIA IN THE 1990s”

EXTRACT BEGINS

LOCAL PROTESTS AND MILITARY CRACKDOWN

In November 1990, just over two years before the Ogoni protests gathered pace, a violent crackdown by armed police in Umuechem community (some 30km from Ogoniland), showed how high the stakes were for anyone protesting in the oil-producing region. Following demonstrations by villagers, Shell warned the government of an “impending attack.”32 The manager of Shell’s eastern division, J.R. Udofia, faxed the Commissioner of Police in Rivers State specifically requesting the intervention of the Mobile Police (also known as MOPOL), a paramilitary unit.33 read more

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Nigeria draft oil reforms seek to establish powerful industry regulator

FILE PHOTO: The Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) headquarters are seen in Abuja, Nigeria December 5, 2017. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde/File Photo

For decades, communities in the Niger Delta oil heartland have complained that spills and pollution have destroyed their land and killed off wildlife. Rights group Amnesty International accused international oil majors Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Eni SpA in March of negligence when addressing spills in Nigeria. read more

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HISTORICAL OVERVIEW OF THE OGONI CRISIS BY AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

On 10 November 1995, nine men from Ogoniland, a small area within Nigeria’s oil-producing Niger Delta region, were hanged by the military authorities, after a blatantly unfair trial. Their bodies were then dumped in unmarked graves. One of them was the outspoken and acclaimed writer Kenule (Ken) Saro-Wiwa… The other men executed that day were Dr Barinem Kiobel, a former government official, and seven members and supporters of MOSOP… 

Extracts from pages 17, 18 & 19 of an Amnesty International document headed: “A CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE? SHELL’S INVOLVEMENT IN HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN NIGERIA IN THE 1990s”

EXTRACT BEGINS

On 10 November 1995, nine men from Ogoniland, a small area within Nigeria’s oil-producing Niger Delta region, were hanged by the military authorities, after a blatantly unfair trial. Their bodies were then dumped in unmarked graves. One of them was the outspoken and acclaimed writer Kenule (Ken) Saro-Wiwa, who had gained worldwide recognition for his leadership of a campaigning organization, the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP). This had drawn attention to the ecological devastation caused by decades of oil production, and the lack of economic development, in Nigeria’s oil-producing areas. The other men executed that day were Dr Barinem Kiobel, a former government official, and seven members and supporters of MOSOP: Saturday Dobee, Paul Levula, Nordu Eawo, Felix Nuate, Daniel Gbokoo, John Kpuinen and Baribor Bera. read more

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Amnesty International: Is Shell a criminal enterprise?

This report examines the role of the oil company Shell in the violations and crimes committed by the Nigeria security forces. It focuses specifically on the potential criminal liability of Shell and/or individual Shell executives. The governments of Nigeria and Shell’s home states, The Netherlands and The United Kingdom, should investigate, with a view to prosecution, Shell and/or individuals, who were formerly in decision-making or supervisory positions within the company, for potential involvement in crimes linked to human rights violations committed by the Nigerian security forces in Ogoniland in the 1990s.

Extract from page 13 of an Amnesty International document headed: “A CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE? SHELL’S INVOLVEMENT IN HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN NIGERIA IN THE 1990s”

Under Executive Summary. Follows on from: COMPLICITY IN THE MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE AND EXECUTION OF THE OGONI NINE

EXTRACT BEGINS

CONCLUSION

That Nigeria’s government was responsible for grave human rights abuses during its campaign to crush the largely peaceful Ogoni protests during the 1990s is not in doubt. These human rights violations were carried out in response to community protests, and many occurred during armed attacks on defenceless Ogoni villages. Most of the violations of international human rights law detailed in this report also amount to crimes, potentially including murder or other unlawful killing, torture, a range of crimes related to physical assault, rape and destruction of property. read more

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Shell, Eni Wrongly Blames 89 Oil Spills In Nigeria On Theft, Sabotage, Says Amnesty International

London based rights group, Amnesty International (AI), says Royal Dutch Shel and Italian oil multinational, Eni, might have wrongly attributed 89 oil spills in Nigeria’s Delta to theft and sabotage. According to AI, 46 of the pollution incidents were triggered by Shel and 43 by Eni. “Amnesty International researchers have identified that at least 89 spills may have been wrongly labeled as theft or sabotage when in fact they were caused by ‘operational’ faults,” the London-based group said in a report released yesterday.

BY SAHARAREPORTERS, NEW YORK MAR 16, 2018

London based rights group, Amnesty International (AI), says Royal Dutch Shel and Italian oil multinational, Eni, might have wrongly attributed 89 oil spills in Nigeria’s Delta to theft and sabotage.

According to AI, 46 of the pollution incidents were triggered by Shel and 43 by Eni.

“Amnesty International researchers have identified that at least 89 spills may have been wrongly labeled as theft or sabotage when in fact they were caused by ‘operational’ faults,” the London-based group said in a report released yesterday. read more

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Selection of Shell related news stories 16 March 2018

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AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL ACCUSE SHELL OF COMPLICITY IN THE EXECUTION OF THE OGONI NINE

…at all times, Shell’s directors based in The Hague and London were fully aware of what was happening in Nigeria and what the staff of Shell Nigeria were up to. The evidence also makes clear that staff in London and The Hague were not passive recipients of this information. A clear directing role is evident.

Extract from page 12 of an Amnesty International document headed: “A CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE?SHELL’S INVOLVEMENT IN HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN NIGERIA IN THE 1990s”

Under Executive Summary.

BEGINS

COMPLICITY IN THE MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE AND EXECUTION OF THE OGONI NINE

The culmination of the Nigerian military government’s campaign to crush the MOSOP protests was the execution of the Ogoni Nine on 10 November, 1995. Shell knowingly provided encouragement and motivation to the military authorities to stop the MOSOP protests, even after the authorities repeatedly committed human rights violations in Ogoniland and specifically targeted Ken Saro-Wiwa and MOSOP. By raising Ken Saro-Wiwa and MOSOP as a problem, Shell was reckless, and significantly exacerbated the risk to Saro-Wiwa and those linked to MOSOP. Shell knew full well that the government regularly violated the rights of those linked to MOSOP and had targeted Saro-Wiwa. Following the arrests and during the blatantly unfair trial, the nature of the danger was clear. However, even after the men were jailed, being subjected to torture or other ill-treated and facing the likelihood of execution, Shell continued to discuss ways to deal with the “Ogoni problem” with the government, and did not express any concern over the fate of the prisoners. Such conduct cannot be seen as other than endorsement and encouragement of the military government’s actions. read more

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Nigeria: UK court deals a blow to oil spill victims and corporate accountability

Responding to a Court of Appeals judgement that two Niger Delta communities cannot have their case against oil giant Shell heard in the UK because the parent company cannot be held liable for the actions of its Nigerian subsidiary, Joe Westby, Amnesty International’s Campaigner on Business and Human Rights, said:

“With this ruling the court has struck a blow not only to the Ogale and Bille communities, who live everyday with the devastating consequences of Shell oil spills, but with victims of corporate human rights abuses all over the world. This ruling sets a dangerous precedent and will make it more difficult to hold UK companies to account. read more

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Shell’s team of undercover officers in Nigeria

Shell managed a large force of police officers, which provided security for the company’s personnel and property. The records show that this force included a team of undercover officers, which received training from the security services. 

Extract from pages 11 & 12 of an Amnesty International document headed: “A CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE? SHELL’S INVOLVEMENT IN HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN NIGERIA IN THE 1990s”

Under Executive Summary.

BEGINS

SHELL LENT MATERIAL SUPPORT AND ASSISTANCE TO THE ARMED FORCES

Shell provided the security forces with logistical support and payments as a matter of routine during the 1990s. Former Shell Nigeria chairperson, Brian Anderson explained that this was standard practice in relation to the military:

“In reality, any operational contact with the government requires financial and logistical support from Shell. For example to get representatives of the Department of Petroleum Resources to view an oil spill we often have to provide transport and other amenities. The same applies to military protection.” (emphasis added) read more

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AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL SAYS SHELL SOLICITED AND ENCOURAGED INTERVENTION BY THE NIGERIAN SECURITY AND MILITARY FORCES

…Brian Anderson had another meeting with General Abacha. Despite being aware that Ken Saro-Wiwa and scores of others were now in detention and that many Ogonis had been killed in raids by the ISTF, Anderson’s own notes of the meeting do not refer to these issues at all.

Extract from pages 9, 10 & 11 of an Amnesty International document headed: “A CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE? SHELL’S INVOLVEMENT IN HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN NIGERIA IN THE 1990s”

Under Executive Summary.

BEGINS

SHELL SOLICITED AND ENCOURAGED INTERVENTION BY THE NIGERIAN SECURITY FORCES AND MILITARY AUTHORITIES

Despite knowing that serious human rights violations were almost inevitable, Shell encouraged and solicited the intervention of the Nigerian security forces and the military authorities. In 1993, Shell repeatedly asked the Nigerian government to deploy the army to Ogoniland to prevent protests from disrupting the laying of the pipeline. This resulted in the shooting and injuring of eleven people at Biara on 30 April and the shooting to death of a man at Nonwa on 4 May. According to an internal Shell document, Shell executives even advised the Nigerian military not to release protestors it had detained unless the military received commitments from their community to stop protests, thereby directly soliciting a violation of the human rights of the detainees. read more

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AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL SAYS SHELL KNEW ABOUT HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN OGONILAND

Throughout 1994 and 1995 when many of the events described in this report occurred, Shell and the government were also in negotiations over a $4 billion dollar liquefied natural gas project, at the time one of the largest investments in Africa. Shell announced that this joint venture project was going ahead just five days after the execution of the Ogoni Nine. 

Extract from page 9 of an Amnesty International document headed: “A CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE? SHELL’S INVOLVEMENT IN HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN NIGERIA IN THE 1990s”

Under Executive Summary.

SHELL KNEW ABOUT THE HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN OGONILAND

From mid-1993, as the violence increased in Ogoniland, it is inconceivable that Shell was not aware of the worsening human rights situation. The involvement of the armed forces was widely reported on at the time, both in Nigeria and internationally. Organizations, including Amnesty International, published numerous documents, drawing attention to specific incidents, such as the detention of Ken Saro-Wiwa and extrajudicial executions of Ogoni residents by the security forces. read more

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AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL SAYS SHELL UNDERSTOOD THE RISKS OF CALLING FOR MILITARY INTERVENTION IN THE NIGER DELTA

The police officers, using guns and grenades, killed 80 people…

Extract from pages 8 & 9 of an Amnesty International document headed: “A CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE? SHELL’S INVOLVEMENT IN HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN NIGERIA IN THE 1990s”

Under Executive Summary.

SHELL UNDERSTOOD THE RISKS OF CALLING FOR MILITARY INTERVENTION

There is irrefutable evidence that Shell knew that the Nigerian security forces committed grave violations when they were deployed to address community protests. The company knew the risks since at least 1990, when Shell called for the assistance of a paramilitary police unit to deal with peaceful protestors at Umuechem village, also in the Niger Delta. According to an official enquiry, the police descended on the community, “like an invading army that had vowed to take the last drop of the enemy’s blood.” The police officers, using guns and grenades, killed 80 people. read more

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SHELL AND THE NIGERIAN GOV. HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES IN OGONILAND 1993-6

Extract from pages 7 & 8 of an Amnesty International document headed: “A CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE? SHELL’S INVOLVEMENT IN HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN NIGERIA IN THE 1990s”

Under Executive Summary.

SHELL AND THE NIGERIAN GOVERNMENT: HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES IN OGONILAND 1993-6

HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES IN OGONILAND 1993-6

In January 1993, Shell withdrew from Ogoniland citing security concerns for its staff. These concerns had some basis: Shell staff had been subjected to intimidation and physical attacks on several occasions. Shell sought to blame these attacks on MOSOP, but MOSOP and Ken Saro-Wiwa had always underlined the peaceful nature of the movement and had actively tried to stop those in the community who engaged in violence. read more

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SHELL KNEW MOSOP HAD A LEGITIMATE GRIEVANCE SAYS AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

Extract from pages 6 & 7 of an Amnesty International document headed: “A CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE? SHELL’S INVOLVEMENT IN HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN NIGERIA IN THE 1990s”

Under Executive Summary.

SHELL AND THE NIGERIAN GOVERNMENT: “SHELL KNEW MOSOP HAD A LEGITIMATE GRIEVANCE”

SHELL KNEW MOSOP HAD A LEGITIMATE GRIEVANCE

While framing the Ogoni protests as a largely economic problem, Shell downplayed the community’s concerns about the environment and other issues.

In public statements Shell denied that its operations had caused environmental problems. This was completely false. Internal documents reveal that senior staff were highly concerned about the poor state of Shell’s ageing, inadequately maintained and leaky pipelines. In November 1994, the head of environmental studies for Shell Nigeria, Bopp Van Dessel, resigned over the issue, saying that he felt unable to defend the company’s environmental record “without losing his personal integrity.” Van Dessel went public with these allegations in a TV interview in 1996 stating: read more

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SHELL AND THE NIGERIAN GOVERNMENT: “INEXTRICABLY LINKED” SAYS AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

Extract from page 6 of an Amnesty International document headed: “A CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE? SHELL’S INVOLVEMENT IN HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN NIGERIA IN THE 1990s”

Under Executive Summary.

SHELL AND THE NIGERIAN GOVERNMENT: “INEXTRICABLY LINKED”

In the 1990s Shell was the single most important company in Nigeria and in 1995 pumped almost one million barrels of crude oil a day, roughly half of Nigeria’s total daily oil production. Nigeria’s oil exports made up 95.7% of the country’s foreign earnings so were vital to the economy.

The country and the company had a shared interest in ensuring that the oil kept owing. Shell and the government were business partners, running the highly pro table Nigerian oil felds as a joint venture. The two entities were in constant contact. As the chairperson of Shell Nigeria from 1994-7, Brian Anderson, conceded, “The government and the oil industry are inextricably entangled.” read more

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