In 2017, Esther Kiobel and three other widows of the Ogoni 9, brought a new legal case against Shell in the Netherlands for complicity in murdering their husbands. And today was judgement day in the Hague. A day for hope. A day of dreams. However, those dreams were to be shattered. But this is not the end of the fight.
The UK Supreme Court has ruled that two Nigerian communities – of more than 50,000 people – can bring their legal claims for clean-up and compensation against Royal Dutch Shell and its Nigerian subsidiary in the English courts.
Tomorrow evening, our colleagues at PlatformLondon will be hosting an online global arts event in collaboration with MOSOP (Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People), Shake! And Virtual Migrants, to not only celebrate the Ogoni 9, but also for people to hear from other frontline environmental defenders from key battles against the oil industry. It promises to be an inspirational evening.
Amnesty International is calling for an investigation into Shell’s complicity in “murder, rape and torture in Nigeria” in the nineties.
The decades’ long struggle for social and environmental justice in the Niger Delta continues, largely unseen by the wider world.
Of course Shell knew about climate change too. As Ken Saro-Wiwa once noted, instead of acting responsibly, Shell chose to inflict “genocide” against the people of the Niger Delta, instead. It has continued that path ever since, by continuing to burn oil and gas. And the rising waters of the Niger Delta are part of that crime.
Some twenty one years after the murder of Ken Saro-Wiwa and other Ogoni activists, there is some hope that finally, finally, the oil polluted Ogoniland in the Niger Delta will begin to be cleaned up from decades of exploitation.
The serial offender Shell is being sued. Again. The oil giant finds itself in a court in London today for the second time in five years for its ongoing chronic pollution problems in the Niger Delta.
Every year today is the one day that I dread. Even now twenty years on, today does not feel like any other day. It is not a normal day. It was twenty years ago today that the world watched in horror when the Nigerian junta murdered the writer and activist, Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogoni.