Ken Saro-Wiwa and his eight fellow Ogoni-brothers were executed in 1995 by the Nigerian military government and the real cause of their death is still inflaming fire in the Niger Delta.
What makes Nigeria one of the leading oil producers in the world is Niger Delta, yet the indigenous people who should have counted the resources as blessing are wallowing in abject poverty.
Their ecological system is perpetually been abused by the multinational oil companies, in a way that it cannot be tolerated anywhere in the world.
This was what Ken Saro-Wiwa and his eight colleagues dared to speak out about, and the military government of General Sani Abacha finally had their heads, in 1995.
In the far away New York however, the Royal Dutch Shell Company is about to stand in court for the lawsuit fired against it by the Centre for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and co-counsel from Earth Rights International, for its alleged involvement in the death. It was the last wish of the dying ken, that one day Shell would answerer in the court of law.
Thanks to the constitution of the United States of America which allows foreign nationals to sue a company, for its misconduct in a foreign land, as long as it’s registered in the United States of America. According to some experts on legal matters, Shell could pay millions of pounds if convicted on this highly controversial case, already attracting a lot of attentions all over the world.
The execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa and his eight colleagues obviously dragged the Royal Dutch Shell to a black book and though it claimed to have persuaded the then military government of Nigerian to grant clemency to them, many still believe that the hand of Shell shall never be white again in the Niger Delta, no matter how thoroughly they try to wash it.
In the words of Ken’s son, Ken Saro-Wiwa Jr., “I have always maintained that Shell was complicit in the conspiracy to silence my father along with thousands of other Ogonis… Nigeria’s oil industry has long been the most glaring example of what is called ‘Africa’s Resource Curse’.
In a sense we already have a victory, because one of the things my father said was that Shell would one day have its day in court”.
But according to the company, as reported by Timesonline, “The allegations made in the complaints against Royal Dutch Shell concerning the 1995 executions of Ken Saro-Wiwa and his eight fellow Ogonis are false and without merit. Shell in no way encouraged or advocated any act of violence against them or their fellow Ogonis. We believe that the evidence will show clearly that Shell was not responsible for these tragic events.”
Shell is of course one of the richest companies in the world and getting it to face the justice many Ogonis are clamoring for might not been a very easy task.
However, for those who die fighting for justice, they do not die in for nothing.
Ewanfoh Obehi Peter
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