Shell Played A Direct Role In Ogoni Bloodshed – Amnesty International
Amnesty International has accused oil giant, Shell Petroleum of playing a critical role in the 1995 execution of a human rights activist, Mr Ken Saro-Wiwa among several others.
The group is, therefore, calling on the Federal Government to thoroughly probe the company alleging that the perceived activities 22 years ago were crimes against humanity.
In a statement signed by its media manager, Mr Isa Sanusi, the group’s Director of Global Issues, Mr Audrey Gaughran stated that the company collaborated with the military in silencing the people of the region.
He said, “The evidence we have reviewed shows that Shell repeatedly encouraged the Nigerian military to deal with community protests, even when it knew the horrors this would lead to – unlawful killings, rape, torture, the burning of villages.”
“In the midst of this brutal crackdown Shell even provided the military with material support, including transport, and in at least one instance paid a military commander notorious for human rights violations. That it has never answered for this is an outrage.
“It is indisputable that Shell played a key role in the devastating events in Ogoniland in the 1990s, but we now believe that there are grounds for a criminal investigation. Bringing the massive cache of evidence together was the first step in bringing Shell to justice. We will now be preparing a criminal file to submit to the relevant authorities, with a view to prosecution.”
Sanusi stated furthere that the Nigerian government’s campaign against the Ogoni people culminated in the execution, 22 years ago, of nine Ogoni men, including Ken Saro-Wiwa, the writer and activist who led the protests.
The executions followed a purportedly unfair trial and sparked a global outcry. In June 2017 the widows of four of the men filed a court order against Shell in the Netherlands, accusing the company of complicity in their deaths.
It read in part: “An individual or company can be held criminally responsible for a crime if they encourage, enable, exacerbate or facilitate it, even if they were not direct actors.
“For example, knowledge of the risks that corporate conduct could contribute to a crime, or a close connection to the perpetrators, could lead to criminal liability. Amnesty International’s new report “A Criminal Enterprise?” makes the case that Shell was involved in crimes committed in Ogoniland in this way.
“In the 1990s Shell was the single most important company in Nigeria. During the Ogoni crisis, Shell and the Nigerian government operated as business partners and had regular meetings to discuss the protection of their interests.
“Internal memos and minutes from meetings show Shell lobbying senior government officials for military support, even after the security forces had carried out mass killings of protesters.
“ They also show that on several occasions Shell provided logistical or financial assistance to military or police personnel when it was well aware that they had been involved in murderous attacks on defenceless villagers.”
The group further accused the company of continually denying its involvement in human rights violations, adding that there has never been an investigation into the allegations.
It is not the first time Anesty International has accussed Shell of complicity in the Ogoni bloodshed bu the company has maintained its innocence over the years.