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SHELL CONTINUES TO EVADE JUSTICE FOR COMPLICITY IN OGONI 9 MURDERS 

Dr. Barinem Kiobel was one of the “Ogoni Nine” executed by a despotic Nigerian regime after a rigged trial. His widow, Esther Kiobel, holds Shell responsible for his murder on trumped-up charges and has been seeking justice for the last 22 years.

By John Donovan

Since 1996, various Kiobel family members have been pursuing litigation in the USA relating to Shell’s conduct in Nigeria. This fact is confirmed from the screenshot of listed court cases filed in the USA and blocked by Shell. Only one related application is still open and it is on the way to being closed as a result of a decision by a U.S. Appeals Court yesterday. The remaining case is described by the three Appeal Court judges as “extraordinary, and possibly unique.” read more

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SHELL IN OGONILAND: TORTURE AND ILL-TREATMENT

Two Ogoni fishermen have described how they were arrested by members of the police unit seconded to guard Shell personnel and installations (known as the Supernumerary or SPY police) on 22 June 1994. In a letter faxed to journalists after their release
from prison in October 1998, Kagbara Bassee and Blessing Israel said that the police arrested them at Benson Beach, Akwa Ibon State. They said that the police officers, who were accompanied by Shell staff, beat them with batons, knocking Blessing Israel unconscious.

Extracts from pages 27, 28 & 29 of an Amnesty International document headed: “A CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE? SHELL’S INVOLVEMENT IN HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN NIGERIA IN THE 1990s”

In July 1994, the Dutch ambassador told Shell Nigeria’s then chairperson Brian Anderson that the army had killed some 800 Ogonis.

EXTRACT BEGINS

TORTURE AND OTHER ILL-TREATMENT OF DETAINEES

During this time, numerous people – mostly from Ogoniland – were detained and held in military-run camps and subjected to torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. Many were arbitrarily arrested and detained without charge for varying periods in 1994 and 1995 at either Bori Military Camp, in Port Harcourt, or the military detention centre set up in what used to be the police station in Kpor, in Ogoniland.102

Two environmentalists (Oronto Douglas and Nick Ashton-Jones) who went to visit Ledum Mitee, the MOSOP vice-president, in detention in the Bori Military Camp, on 26 June 1994, have described how they were detained, flogged and threatened with execution, on Paul Okuntimo’s orders.103 Nick Ashton-Jones described his experience: read more

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“I will fight to my last breath” – Esther Kiobel on her 22-year battle to get Shell in court

Esther Kiobel poses with a picture of her beloved late husband, Dr. Barinem Kiobel, one of “Ogoni 9” executed by Nigeria’s military government after a peaceful uprising against Shell in 1995. Photograph: Amnesty International

29 June 2018

Esther says Amnesty activists have given her the strength to carry on fighting for justice

A year ago today, Esther Kiobel stood on the steps of the Palace of Justice in The Hague. It had taken over twenty years to get there, but she had just filed a landmark case against the oil giant Shell over what she says is its role in the 1995 execution of her husband Dr. Barinem Kiobel. Dr Kiobel, a former government official, was hanged by the Nigerian military government in connection with widespread protests against oil pollution in the Niger Delta. read more

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HISTORICAL OVERVIEW: ARREST OF MOSOP LEADERS, MORE VIOLENCE IN OGONILAND

It is not known how many people died during the raids, which lasted until August 1994, when the military claimed to have successfully “restored peace” to Ogoniland. In July, the Dutch ambassador told Shell Nigeria’s then chairperson Brian Anderson that the army had killed some 800 Ogonis.

Extracts from pages 25, 26 & 27 of an Amnesty International document headed: “A CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE? SHELL’S INVOLVEMENT IN HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN NIGERIA IN THE 1990s”

EXTRACT BEGINS

ARREST OF MOSOP LEADERS AND FURTHER VIOLENCE IN OGONILAND

On 21 May 1994, four of the traditional Ogoni leaders, who had fallen out with Ken Saro-Wiwa the previous year, were attacked while they were holding a meeting in Giokoo, Ogoniland. Because of serious flaws in the investigation and subsequent trial, and because prosecution witnesses gave conflicting accounts of what happened, the key facts surrounding the killings have never been fully established. According to the version put forward by the prosecution, the attack was carried out by a mob of hundreds of men.82 The prosecution said that these attackers beat the four traditional leaders to death and then set fire to their corpses. The victims were Chief Edward N. Kobani, who had resigned as MOSOP Vice-President in 1993, Albert T. Badey, Chief Samuel N. Orage and Chief Theophilus B. Orage. read more

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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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