4 widows of Ogoni leaders killed by Abacha drags Shell to court over alleged involvement in 1995 execution

4 widows of Ogoni leaders killed by Abacha drags Shell to court over alleged involvement in 1995 execution

- It's been twenty-two years after the death of activist Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogoni leaders

- The leaders of the oil-rich Ogoni land were executed for opposing Shell and the military government in 1995

- Four out of the nine widows of the executed activists are suing shell for alleged complicity

Four out the nine widows of the late Ogoni leaders executed by the Late Sani Abacha military regime in 1995 have dragged Royal Dutch Shell company to court.

NAIJ.com gathered that the four widows are Esther Kiobel, Victoria Bera, Blessing Eawo and Charity Levula.

They filed a civil lawsuit seeking compensation from the company for alleged complicity in a military crackdown, that led to the execution of their husbands.

In a writ filed in a court in The Hague by the four widows, they alleged that Shell supported the Abacha-led military regime in the crackdown that ultimately led to the executions of the men, known as the Ogoni 9.

Shell has repeatedly denied any involvement in the executions or the government’s response to the unrest which was as a result of opposition it faced from the 9 leaders of Ogoni land.

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A statement by the multinational said the company did not collude with the military, adding that it believed in dialogue.

The statement released by Shell on Wednesday, June 28 reads: “We have always denied, in the strongest possible terms, the allegations made by the plaintiffs in this tragic case.

“SPDC (Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria) did not collude with the authorities to suppress community unrest and in no way encouraged or advocated any act of violence in Nigeria. In fact, the company believes that dialogue is the best way to resolve disputes.”

In 2009, Shell agreed in an out-of-court settlement in the United States to pay $15.5 million in damages to a group of relatives of the nine.

The new case by the four widows was filed by human rights lawfirm Prakken d’Oliveira with the support of Amnesty International, according to Reuters News agency report

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The writ claims: “Shell and the military regime formed an alliance in the events leading to the deaths of the Ogoni 9.

“Their relationship was one of mutual dependence: the Nigerian state was dependent on the income from oil that Shell generated; in turn, Shell was dependent on the benevolence and protection of the regime to pursue its activities in Nigeria and in this way realise a substantial part of its turnover.”

The writ however did not specify how much compensation they were seeking.

Meanwhile, a group of industrious sons of Ogoni land has warned Asari Dokubo against associating Ogoni with Biafra agitation, adding that the Ogoni struggle that was pioneered by the late Ken Saro-Wiwa was in no way related to the Biafra agitation.

In a message sent to NAIJ.com, a Facebook user, Master Fred, noted that dividends of democracy which we are all enjoying today in Nigeria is as a result of the Ogoni struggle under the foundation of late Paul Timothy Naakue Birabi to the later Ken Saro-Wiwa leader of MOSSOP.

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