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Most or All Kiobel v. Shell Plaintiffs Are American Citizens

Graphic from the Guardian article “Unloveable Shell, the Goddess of Oil

Dear Editor,

Please run article clarifying the location of Ogoni people in Kiobel v. Shell. This issue was brought up in one recent publication of Nov. 17, 2011, posted or culled to your credible and number one globally read and researched-based Website.

THE ARTICLE: How Suing Shell Could Backfire on Human Rights Activists

Thank you.

Ben Ikari.


I read with interest a publication by Reuters that is published on this esteemed Website: and dated November 17, 2011. As recorded on paragraph nine, lines six and seven. According to Maria LaHood, “Indigenous Ogoni people, most of whom probably live in  villages in rural Nigeria, are challenging one of the most powerful entities in the world.”

Although LaHood meant no harm but well. I wish to state categorically clear for the records that  all members of the  indigenous Ogoni nationality challenging $hell in the Kiobel, et al v. Royal Dutch Shell case, before the United States Supreme Court (USSC) are currently living in the United States of America, though these crimes were committed against them in Ogoni. Most or all of these plaintiffs have been in the United States for more than 12 years.

In short, most if not all of the plaintiffs are American citizens who are law abiding and are actively involved in the socioeconomic and political development of this great country. Meanwhile, one impression the Reuters report I wish to correct, is that the Ogoni movement, MOSOP is a political movement. Another is that this case, which has lasted for 9 years (2002 to 2011) has been ongoing for 15 years.

To remove all doubts, MOSOP is a nongovernmental, nonpolitical, and nonreligious, but cultural, human rights and environmental grassroots organization. Also, the population count of Ogoni, by the report, of  500,000 is not the current figure, rather a 1963 census head count. Ogoni is currently about 2 million people.

Having said the above, it is true as LaHood is credited that “corporations don’t like it.” That is, the fact that Ogonis who came from far away Africa are now in America challenging their misdeeds. This is something that was unheard of decades back…the world is changing fast as these corporations can see. And that international human rights, including, aiding and abetting, torture and genocide, even environmental oilnocide are changing the way we think or do things-governmental operations and business, especially.

Though “they don’t want to be held accountable for how they behave in developing countries,” said LaHood. They have no option but act responsibly or be held accountable for their actions or behavior in these ethnic groups they have been conspiring with national governments to extinct.

Consequently, those analyzing the Kiobel case should therefore endeavor to treat these issues not as affecting some remote Ogonis in Africa, rather as Ogoni-Americans or American-Ogonis demonstrating what those similarly situated went through at home. The common denominator should not be who are those filing this suit?

It should rather, be whether a multinational corporation, $hell known, for its numerous atrocious and unethical business practices for profit, is complicit with the evidence, in the crimes of aiding and abetting. Whether it is liable for torture, wrongful death, arbitrary arrest and detention, among other charges-especially as they fall within the scope of U.S. Alien Tort Statute (ATS) of 1789.

The discussions of the very honorable legal mind Paul Hoffman, attorney for plaintiffs, who also argued Sosa before the Supreme Court, Kyleen Hartman, Chime’ne Keitner and Deirdre Lapin, are sound and relevant, informational and directional to the issues at stake. These are issues that are not new to American courts as Paquete Habana v. United States, Sosa v.  Alvarez-Machain, and Presbyterian Church of Sudan v. Talisman Energy, Inc. shows.

Those who may support deadly corporate methods, so long as oil and other products or goods and services are coming into the Western world for better life may do so to trivializing international corporate crimes against defenseless peoples. One thing I know is clear, is if the owners and employees of these corporations and their supporters were on the receiving end like Ogonis and other oppressed.

If they have a place such as America and other Western countries with such laws prohibiting and seeking justice for victims against these companies.  Or if those corporations from other countries with substantial business presence, such as $hell are also held liable as a way of curbing the fragrant violation of human rights elsewhere with impunity. They will not hesitate applying such laws wherever they could be found. So this case and maybe others that may be ongoing and those that may emerge should be seen with jurisprudential and humane eyes.

Because “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” according to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the need to show sympathy to those living where some of the good things that helps make life better in the west came from. And because laws such as Alien Tort Statute or Act addresses violations of the “law of nations,” which kiobel depends and Wiwa v. Royal Dutch Shell succeeded with. Because who wears the shoes know where they hurt.

It is hoped that reporters and commentators who have been doing incredible job reporting and analyzing Kiobel and Wiwa v. Shell, respectively will do so with justice as the baseline and not whether the Ogoni plaintiffs are in Ogoni, Africa, because they are not.

As mentioned inter alia, most if not all of the bold and brave soldiers of freedom, fundamental human rights and justice, are citizens of the United States of America working hard to sending a clear message to would- be violators. That is, the days of corporate immunity in egregious crimes outside the west (crimes they will not commit at home) are gone.

Finally, can we imagine the recent UNEP report on Ogoni, an environmental catastrophe or time-bomb $hell in collaboration with the Nigerian government wanted to hide? A crime revealed by Ken Saro-Wiwa, who was killed for not withdrawing his campaign against the company. And how $hell is cleaning the valleys in Britain, its home country where it also prospects for oil and the better treatment it gives the Shetlanders, who are also in Britain! Enough environmental racism causing the deaths of innocent Ogonis?

$hell and any corporation involved in these crimes thinking they will hide under the cloak of corporations as individuals or private entities within domestic legal system, should know henceforth that they shall be held accountable if in violation of the law of nations as legal  tradition or precedent in America has also shown.

No corporate liability will be tantamount to more corporate and states’ torture (aiding and abetting) and genocide among other egregious crimes with which $hell is charged. As conscious world citizens, we must not let $hell and others kill again, as we hold them accountable!

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