25 years after the hanging of Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight others

“Shell, take responsibility for pollution and murder of nine Nigerians”

On the 10th of November 2020, actions will be organised throughout the Netherlands in memory of the nine Nigerians who were murdered 25 years ago because of their resistance against Shell in the Ogoni region. The action groups demand that Shell take responsibility for complicity in the murder of the Nigerians – known as the Ogoni 9 – and start reparations of the human rights violations and pollution in Nigeria caused by Shell’s operations.

There will be memorial actions in nine different places in the Netherlands for the Nigerians, who were hanged on the 10h of November 1995 because they were resisting the extreme pollution of their land caused by oil spills. One of them was the well-known Nigerian writer and poet Ken Saro-Wiwa. The actions can be followed on instagram, facebook and twitter.

“In the Netherlands, Shell is presenting itself as a socially responsible and green company, with wind mills and happy children,” says Hanneke van Houten, spokesperson for organisor Shell Must Fall. “But these nine men, most of them fathers of young children, were murdered because it was in Shell’s benefit. This is Shell’s true face. Even now, because the human rights violations and pollution are continuing on a large scale.” (1)

Shell is responsible for large-scale pollution of Ogoniland and played an important role in the suppression of the resistance and unlawful arrest, imprisonment and execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other members of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP). In the 90s, Shell repeatedly encouraged the Nigerian regime to stop the protests against its oil production, even though the oil multinational knew which ‘methods’ the army would be using: murder, rape and burning down villages, as research by Amnesty International shows (2). A few weeks after Shell spoke to the Nigerian president about ‘the problem of the Ogonis and Ken Saro-Wiwa’, the nine were arrested. According to Saro-Wiwa’s brother, Shell offered to release Saro-Wiwa if he promised to stop his protests against Shell. Ken Saro-Wiwa refused. On the 10th of November 1995, the nine men were hanged after a trial that was internationally condemned as a sham trial (3).

In 2009, Shell has settled with some of the families of the Ogoni 9 for a total amount of USD 15.5 million. However, the oil multinational has never taken responsibility for its role in the execution of the Ogoni 9. A court case in The Hague, brought by four widows of the murdered men, is investigating the complicity of Shell in the murders. (4) In addition, several other court cases against Shell are ongoing, concerning pollution and human rights violations in Nigeria. (5) (6) The groups taking action on Tuesday want Shell to clean up polluted areas in Nigeria immediately and to provide reparations to the Ogoni, as well as to all communities worldwide affected by fossil fuel extraction.

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