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Ogoni Widow Testifies Against Shell In The Hague Over Oil Air Pollution in Nigeria

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Esther Kiobel, widow of a Nigerian activist sues Shell over the execution of her husband, Barinem Kiobe.

Shell denies allegation levied against oil company.

Esther Kiobel is testifying in court in The Hague, demanding compensation and an apology from the Dutch-based firm.

She is among four women who accuse Shell of being complicit in the hanging of their husbands by Nigeria’s military in 1995. Shell denies the allegation.

The widow of a Nigerian activist suing oil massive Shell over the execution of her husband, Barinem Kiobe, says his dying left her “traumatised” and “poverty-stricken”..

The activists led mass protests in opposition to oil air pollution in Nigeria’s Ogoniland.

The protests have been noticed as a significant danger to then-military ruler Gen Sani Abacha, and Shell. They have been led through writer Ken Saro-Wiwa, who was once amongst 9 activists hanged through the army regime – and is backed by Amnesty International.

Their executions brought about world outrage, and ended in Nigeria’s suspension from the Commonwealth for greater than 3 years.

Two of the widows have been in court docket, however two others have been denied visas to wait.

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“My husband had a good heart. Now I am a poor widow who has lost everything,” Esther Kiobel was quoted as telling the court in The Hague by Dutch news agency ANP.

 “The abuses that my family and I went through were a horrible experience that has traumatised us to this day,” added Kiobel, who fled Nigeria in 1998 and now lives in the United States.

She added: “Shell got here into my lifestyles to take the most efficient crown l ever wore off my head. Shell got here into my lifestyles to make me a poverty-stricken widow with all my companies close down. Shell got here into my lifestyles to make me a refugee residing in harsh prerequisites sooner than l got here to america thru [a] refugee programme and now [I am a] citizen.

The abuses my circle of relatives and l went thru are such an terrible revel in that has left us traumatised thus far with out lend a hand. All of us have lived with such a lot ache and agony, however fairly than giving up, the considered how ruthlessly my husband was once killed… has spurred me to stay resilient in my battle for justice.

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“Nigeria and Shell killed my overdue husband: Dr Barinem Kiobel and his compatriots Kenule Tua Saro Wiwa, John Kpuinen, Baribor Bera, Paul Levula, Nordu Eawo and the remaining [of the] blameless souls.

“My husband and the remaining have been killed… The reminiscence of the bodily torture my circle of relatives and l went thru has remained contemporary in my thoughts, and on every occasion l have a look at the scar of the harm l sustained throughout the incident, my middle races for justice the extra.”

In a statement, Shell said the executions were “tragic events which shocked us deeply”.

The statement added: “The Shell Group, alongside other organisations and individuals, appealed for clemency to the military government in power in Nigeria at that time. To our deep regret, those appeals went unheard.

“We have always denied, in the strongest possible terms, the allegations made in this tragic case. SPDC [the Shell Petroleum Development Company] did not collude with the authorities to suppress community unrest, it in no way encouraged or advocated any act of violence in Nigeria, and it had no role in the arrest, trial and execution of these men.

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“We believe that the evidence clearly shows that Shell was not responsible for these distressing events.”

Saro-Wiwa, president and founder of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), and eight fellow activists were executed on November 10, 1995 after a military tribunal convicted them of the murder of four traditional Ogoni chiefs.

“These women believe that their husbands would still be alive today were it not for the brazen self-interest of Shell, which encouraged the Nigerian government’s bloody crackdown on protesters even when it knew the human cost,” Amnesty’s Mark Dummett said.

The Ogoni movement was set up in 1990 to fight against pollution and the destruction of the ecosystem of the 500 000-strong Ogoni community, which lives on an oil-rich parcel of land on the northern edge of the Niger Delta.

The executions provoked a global outcry and led to the suspension of Nigeria from the Commonwealth. The west African country was re-admitted with the return of civilian rule in 1999.