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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.

Shell later claimed that it worked behind the scenes to advocate for the release of Ken Saro-Wiwa and the other men, yet Amnesty International has seen no evidence of this in the many internal Shell documents from the period. Indeed, one month after the executions, according to a message sent back to

Europe by Brian Anderson, President Sani Abacha complimented Shell on the stance it had taken, referring to the $4 billion natural gas plant that Shell had recently announced was going ahead.

“The HoS [Head of State, Abacha] told S[honekan – a former Shell executive and former head of state] that he was very happy that Shell had remained steady under pressure, and asked him to convey his thanks to me. […] He was particularly happy about the NLNG Project.”

CULPABILITY OF SHELL’S PARENT COMPANY IN THE UK AND THE NETHERLANDS

Internal company documents show that responsibility for Shell’s actions during the Ogoni crisis do not solely rest with staff based in the country. These documents provide a unique insight into the inner workings one of the world’s largest multinational corporations at a time of crisis. They show that at least from the time that Shell appointed UK national Brian Anderson to head its Nigeria operations in early 1994, key strategic decisions were not taken in Lagos and Port Harcourt, where Shell’s Nigeria subsidiary, Shell Petroleum Development Company, was based, but in the corporate headquarters of Royal Dutch/Shell in London and The Hague.

These documents include many faxes, letters and emails sent between these different offices, including the regular “Nigeria Updates” that Brian Anderson sent to his superiors to keep them closely informed. These updates outlined the latest news relating to the Shell’s businesses in Nigeria, detailed accounts of important meetings Anderson had had, as well as summaries of key political, economic and security developments in the country. They demonstrate that 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 ENDS

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