Last Friday, in an historic judgement, Shell’s day finally came. A Dutch court ordered that Shell’s Nigerian subsidiary pay compensation for oil spills in the Niger Delta that stretch back decades. Do not underestimate this moment.
On November 10, 1995, Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogoni activists — Saturday Dobee, Nordu Eawo, Daniel Gbooko, Paul Levera, Felix Nuate, Baribor Bera, Barinem Kiobel, and John Kpuine — were hanged by the Nigerian dictatorship in Port Harcourt. Their only crime? Exposing the devastating impact that Shell Petroleum Development Company’s extraction of fossil fuels from the Niger Delta had on the Ogoni land, lives, and livelihoods.
To do anything less than stopping all public money to fossil fuels dishonors the memory and sacrifices of Saro-Wiwa, the Ogoni 9, and countless others who have risked and lost their lives to defend their lands and communities.
Why does the fight for justice take so long? Why is it so difficult to hold Big Oil to account? Why does it take years even decades to drag oil executives, kicking and screaming, into a court-room?
Despite our climate emergency and the massive demand reduction caused by COVID-19, American oil executives say it would be “folly” for them to switch to renewables.
Divesting from fossil fuels and ending environmental racism goes hand-in-hand with defunding the police in the fight for racial justice and reinvestment in Black and Brown communities.
For years Big Oil has repeated the dirty tactics of Big Tobacco. And once again it has been found doing so again.
Shell, a company often vilified for being complicit in human rights abuses in Nigeria, of rampant pollution and ignoring the risks of climate change for decades, belatedly wants us to believe it is central to the climate fight.
At the end of the day, Shell still cares more about its shareholders than it does about society. It cares more about profit than it does people. It cares more about cash than a safe climate.
In an historic judgement yesterday, a Dutch court issued an interim ruling that it does have jurisdiction to hear the legal case bought by four widows of the Ogoni 9, who were murdered by the Nigerian military back in 1995.