SHELL – RESPONSIBLE FOR INCESSANT OIL POLLUTION – ECOCIDE – MURDERS IN NIGERIA
Protest actions in Germany and Switzerland commemorating the 27th anniversary of the execution of the “Ogoni Nine”.
**Hamburg, Berlin, Lützerath, Cologne, Berne (CH) November 10th, 2022**
Shell is responsible for the massive environmental disaster (Ecocide) in the Niger Delta and should clean up polluted areas and compensate victims – Ecocide should be punishable under international law – Shell is complicit in the murder of environmental activist and winner of the Alternative Nobel Prize Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogoni activists in the oil-rich Niger Delta of Nigeria – Activists must be protected worldwide!
– Oil billionaire Shell is responsible for henious environmental crimes (Ecocide)* as well as for neo-colonial exploitations in the Niger Delta, and has thus destroyed livelihoods in Ogoniland and the entire Niger Delta
– Shell should finally clean up its oil pollution as well as adequately und unconditionally pay compensations
– Serious environmental crimes – Ecocides – should be subject to criminal prosecution under international law
– Commemorating the murdered Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogoni activists of the (so-called “Ogoni Nine”): They had to die for their courageous and peaceful resistance against Shell’s Ecocide.
Today, on the 27th anniversary of the execution of the Nigerian writer and environmental activist KEN SARO-WIWA and eight other Ogoni activists, people around the world remember these courageous and pioneering activists from oil-rich Nigeria. Also here in Germany and Switzerland, the “African / Black Community (ABC) Germany”, “Black Community Coalition for Justice and Self-Defense Hamburg”, Africans From Ukraine and “ARRiVATi – Community Care” are calling out for peaceful protests and actions to commemorate this day.
Activities of this year’s Memorial are planned and executed by a broad alliance of various movements, organizations and initiatives in Germany and Switzerland, in collaboration with the above-mentioned organizations of the Black Community: Ende Gelände, Bündnis Ökozidgesetz (Alliance for Ecocide Law), Extinction Rebellion, Fridays for Future (local groups), Fridays for Future Switzerland, Initiative Schwarzer Menschen in Deutschland (ISD), glokal, Care & Repair – Decolonial Think-Tank for Enviromental Justice, Students for Future (Cologne), Lutzi Bleibt!, Debt for Climate, End Fossil: Occupy, Pan-African Women’s Empowerment and Liberation Organisation (PAWLO), Decolonize Berlin.
Exactly 27 years ago, Ken Saro-Wiwa was executed along with eight other activists (BARINEM KIOBEL, SATURDAY DOBEE, PAUL LEVURA, NORDU EAWO, FELIX NUATE, DANIEL GBOKOO, JOHN KPUINEN, and BURIBOR BERA) in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. They peacefully protested against decades-long degradation of their environment by Shell’s reckless oil extraction, and thus the destruction of their livelihoods, and were murdered as a result. Although Shell claims to have cleaned up the massive oil spills in Ogoniland, the pollution is more catastrophic than ever. The Delta is now considered the worst Ecocide hotspot in the world: Environment devastated, livelihoods destroyed, health shattered! Basic social infrastructures, such as clean drinking water, schools, electricity, health care, etc., are lacking in most areas of the Niger Delta – despite the fact that big oil companies like Shell are making billions in profits there.
“While the oil multinationals are making billions of dollars, the local population continues to suffer from disasters such as oil and air pollution throughout the region,” says Ezekiel Gara-Ioo, Chair of the Niger Delta Community.
There is no end in sight to Ecocide in Nigeria. “Shell has never taken responsibility for anything,” says Patience Osaroejiji, head of the Coalition of Ogoni Women. “If you go to the places they say they cleaned up, you see that oil is still leaking there. Nothing can be planted there, not even grass grows there,” she adds. A recent UN report shows that the pollution there got even worse after Shell started cleanup efforts.
Peter Emorinken-Donatus, a long-time Shell critic, co-founder of the Ecocide Law Alliance, and a spokesperson for the African / Black Community (ABC) emphasizes, “We demand that Shell finally be held accountable for Ecocide in Ogoniland and the entire Niger Delta; that Ecocides are prosecuted under international law; and that neocolonial extractivism and colonial continuities be put to end. Corporations of the Global North make profits at the expense of the Global South. This must come to an end! Furthermore, we demand that victims of Ecocides and climate change be granted Refugee protection; and that African / BIPoC Refugees from Ukraine get the right of residence in Germany- End the racist selectivity!”
Background information on Shell’s oil extraktivism in the Niger Delta and the resistance against it
The small indigenous Ogoniland in the Niger Delta is located in the Southeast of Nigeria and is one of the most important oil hubs of the multi-ethnic state of Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country (currently over 200 million). Around 500,000 people, mainly fishermen and farmers, live on an area of more than 1,000 square kilometers. Shell began oil production there in 1958, and by the early 1990s, the oil giant had generated an estimated US$30 billion.
Towards the end of the 1990s, Saro-Wiwa began mobilizing hundreds of thousands of Ogoni for peaceful protests, one of which was against the massive environmental destruction there by Shell. The mobilization culminated in the signing of the “Ogoni Bill of Rights” in August 1990 by the Council of Elders of the Ogonis; in it, they demanded an end to the serious environmental crimes in Ogoniland, the right to a clean environment, control over their natural resources, and extensive minority rights.
Following these developments, the Nigerian opposition in Germany as well as various environmental and human rights organizations and initiatives started a boycott campaign in aimed at exarting massive pressure on Shell. But the company knows how to help itself and begann a process to massively manipulate media and public opinions by means of “Kickback Journalism”, all in attempt to silence critics. In order to evade a conviction by a US court for human rights violations and thus a huge embarrassment, the company reached an out-of-court agreement with the relatives of Ken Saro-Wiwa on a compensation payment of US$15 million – an unmistakable admission of guilt!
However, the Niger Delta remains almost completely polluted. Due to Shell’s failure to maintain and protect its pipelines, millions of tons of crude oil seep into the soil in Nigeria every year. Although the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) highlighted the environmental disaster with a spectacular report as early as 2011, Shell is still not taking clear steps to pay for damages caused as well as to clean up Ogoniland and the entire Niger Delta.
Shell has been the dominant oil prospecting company in Nigeria since 1956, when it first discovered oil in the Niger Delta. The company has built more than 6,000 kilometers of pipelines, drilled more than 1,000 oil wells, and presently extracts 39% of Nigeria’s oil. Shell extracted oil in Ogoniland from the late 1950s until 1993, when it was forced to leave the area due to mass protests. The mass protests were led by Ken Saro-Wiwa, who accused the company of polluting farmlands and waters and contaminating the air. The military regime brutally cracked down on the protests and had Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogoni activists executed in 1995.
Background on Ken Saro-Wiwa
Ken Saro-Wiwa (Full name: Kenule Beeson Saro-Wiwa), born in 1941 in Bori (Nigeria), was an activist in the non-violent struggle against the massive destruction of the environment and means of livelihoods in the Niger Delta by the Shell. He was a recipient of the Alternative Nobel Prize, poet, human rights activist, writer and television producer. In 1989, the Ogoni people who inhabit part of the Niger Delta began to resist against the destruction of their environment and livelihoods. Under the leadership of Ken Saro-Wiwa, the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) was formed. The goals of the movement are political and cultural autonomy for the Ogonis within the framework of the Nigerian state, cleanup of areas damaged by oil extraction, and a share of the revenues accruing from oil extraction.
All these goals were to be achieved peacefully.
In January 1993, the movement mobilized about 300,000 people, more than half of the Ogoni population for protests. In order to suppress these erupting peaceful protests, because Shell’s image was at high risk, the corporation asked the military regime for help. Subsequently, the military wreaked havoc in the Ogoniland: more than 1,000 Ogonis were killed, tens of thousands displaced, and countless imprisoned, including the movement’s leader, Saro-Wiwa. In a staged trial, a military tribunal sentenced Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other activists to death for alleged murder. They were executed on November 10, 1995, despite international protests and threats of sanctions.
Ken Saro-Wiwa himself was awarded the Right Livelihood Award (1994) and the Goldman Environmental Prize (1995) while in prison: “The struggle itself is about hope, if I did not think there was hope in the future, I would not be fighting”.
Nation-wide activities and vigil in Germany and Switzerland:
HAMBURG (vigil): 4 p.m., Dammtor train station / 11 a.m. Shell headquarters, Suhrenkamp 71.
BERLIN (vigil): 6 p.m., at Shell gas station, Skalitzer Strasse 48.
COLOGNE: (demonstration & vigil) 3:30 p.m., opening rally at Albertus-Magnus-Platz, closing rally and vigil at Shell gas station, Venloerstraße 166
LÜTZERATH (vigil): 4 p.m.
BERN (vigil and information evening): from 4:30 p.m. at Bahnhofplatz Baldachin Bern
Donations for victims of the flood disaster in Nigeria:
Nigeria is currently experiencing an unprecedented flood disaster as a result of climate change. Over 700 dead, more than two million people have lost their homes and farmlands. Please donate here:
*Ecocide definition: Unlawful or deliberate acts committed with the knowledge that they are substantially likely to cause serious and either widespread or long-term damage to the environment.
Tel.: 015770771048 (Peter Emorinken-Donatus) / 01779099385 (Janine Korduan)