Connect with us

Government

Shell Accused of Complicity in Executions of ‘Ogoni Nine’

Published

on

Shell
  • Shell Accused of Complicity in Executions of ‘Ogoni Nine’

Oil giant, Shell, stands accused of complicity in the unlawful arrest, detention and execution of nine men who were hanged by the military regime of the late Gen. Sani Abacha in the 1995, according to the Amnesty International, citing the launch of an explosive new case against the company in the Netherlands over four of the executions.

The nine victims of what the then British Prime Minister, Mr. John Major had described as “judicial murder” include author and playwright, Ken Saro-Wiwa, Nordu Eawo, Saturday Dobee, Felix Nuate, Daniel Gbooko, Paul Levera, John Kpuine, Baribor Bera and Barinem Kiobel.

According to a statement issued by Amnesty International wednesday, the civil case was brought by Esther Kiobel, the widow of Dr. Barinem Kiobel, and three other women.

Esther Kiobel was said to have pursued Shell for 20 years over the death of her husband, who was hanged in 1995 along with eight others, collectively known as the Ogoni Nine.

The executions had sparked a global outcry and international condemnation that led to the treatment of Nigeria as a pariah state until Abacha died in 1998.

Esther Kiobel accused Shell of complicity in the unlawful arrest and detention of her husband; the violation of his personal integrity; the violation of his right to a fair trial and his right to life; and her own right to a family life.

Amnesty International said it supported Esther’s legal team to bring the case to the Netherlands and has released a new briefing, ‘In The Dock’, detailing the role played by Shell in the executions.

“The executions of the Ogoni Nine shocked the world. Shell has been dodging accountability for its complicity in these deaths for more than twenty years but now, thanks to Esther Kiobel’s determination and bravery in taking on this corporate Goliath, the past is finally catching up with it,” Senior Director of Research at Amnesty International, Audrey Gaughran, said.

“Today is a watershed moment in Esther Kiobel’s uphill battle for justice. Shell has to answer for the bloody footprints it left all over Ogoniland,” Gaughran added.

The executions were the culmination of a brutal campaign by Nigeria’s military to silence the protests of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), led by Ken Saro-Wiwa.

In January 1993, MOSOP declared that Shell was no longer welcome to operate in Ogoniland.

The military authorities responded to the MOSOP protests with force, committing numerous serious human rights violations including killings, torture and rape.

“Shell encouraged the government to stop Ken Saro-Wiwa and MOSOP, knowing this was highly likely to result in human rights violations being committed against them. Shell had plenty of evidence that the Nigerian military was responding to the Ogoniland protests with abuse,” Gaughran said.

Amnesty also alleged that just weeks before the men were arrested the Chairperson of Shell Nigeria had met with then Head of State, General Sani Abacha, and raised “the problem of the Ogonis and Ken Saro-Wiwa”.

According to the human rights watchdog, this was not the first time Shell had engaged with military and security forces to frame the Ogoni protests as a “problem”.

Shell was also said to have repeatedly reminded the authorities of the economic impact of the MOSOP protests.

“Shell was reckless in raising Ken Saro-Wiwa and MOSOP as a problem, significantly exacerbating the risk to Saro-Wiwa and those linked to MOSOP. Shell knew full well that the government regularly violated the rights of those linked to MOSOP and that it had targeted Saro-Wiwa,” Gaughran added.

Esther Kiobel brought a civil case along with Victoria Bera, Blessing Eawo and Charity Levula, whose husbands were executed along with Barinem Kiobel.

The claimants are demanding damages for harm caused by Shell’s unlawful actions, and a public apology for the role that Shell played in the events leading to the deaths of their husbands.

But in a swift response to Amnesty’s claims, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) denied the alleged complicity in the executions of the Ogoni nine, adding that it had appealed to the then military regime to grant amnesty to the convicts.

A spokesman for the company, Bamidele Odugbesan said yesterday that the company was shocked that its appeal and the appeals made by many others within and outside Nigeria, were rejected by the military government.

“We have always denied, in the strongest possible terms, the allegations made by the plaintiffs in this tragic case. The executions of Ken Saro-Wiwa and his fellow Ogonis in 1995 were tragic events that were carried out by the military government in power at the time,” he said.

“We were shocked and saddened when we heard the news of the executions. SPDC appealed to the Nigerian government to grant clemency. To our deep regret, that appeal, and the appeals made by many others within and outside Nigeria, went unheard,” he added.

Shell said that support for human rights, in line with the legitimate role of business, is fundamental to its core values of honesty, integrity and respect for people, stressing that the evidence will show clearly that it was not responsible for these tragic events.

“SPDC has not had an opportunity to review the full report produced by Amnesty International but based on a summary of its findings made available to us, the Amnesty allegations against Royal Dutch Shell and SPDC are false and without merit.

“SPDC 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,” the Shell spokesman added.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

Continue Reading
Comments

Government

Russia and North Korea Revive Military Pact, Heightening Tensions with US

Published

on

Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have revived a Cold War-era military pact.

The agreement, signed on Wednesday during Putin’s first visit to North Korea in 24 years, commits the two nations to provide immediate military assistance to each other if either is attacked.

This development is likely to exacerbate tensions with the United States and its allies.

The Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Treaty, as the pact is officially named, represents the most powerful treaty signed between the two countries, according to Kim.

“This treaty elevates our ties to an alliance,” he declared during the signing ceremony. The deal stipulates that if either nation is invaded by an armed force, the other will provide military and other assistance “with all the means at its disposal,” in line with Article 51 of the United Nations Charter and the laws of both nations.

Putin’s visit to Pyongyang and the signing of the pact come on the heels of Kim’s trip to Russia in September, an event that has already resulted in a notable increase in arms transfers between the two countries, as confirmed by satellite imagery.

Despite the mounting evidence, both Moscow and Pyongyang have denied any such exchanges.

The renewed military alliance marks a significant escalation in the strategic partnership between Russia and North Korea, which had been relatively dormant since the end of the Cold War.

Analysts suggest that this move is a clear message of defiance to Western powers, particularly the United States, which has been involved in ongoing disputes with both nations over various geopolitical issues.

“The Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Treaty is for defensive purposes,” Kim stated, but experts warn that the alliance increases the risks for the US and its partners in responding to provocations from Moscow and Pyongyang. The treaty not only includes mutual defense commitments but also outlines plans to enhance cooperation in trade and investment, further solidifying the bilateral relationship.

Russian officials emphasized that the pact is a natural progression of the countries’ shared interests.

“This treaty is a testament to the deepening strategic and military cooperation between Russia and North Korea,” said Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s Foreign Minister. “It is essential for maintaining regional stability and countering external threats.”

The US and its allies have expressed grave concerns over the implications of this agreement. “This treaty significantly alters the security landscape in East Asia,” stated a senior US State Department official. “It underscores the need for vigilance and reinforces the importance of our alliances in the region.”

Military analysts are closely watching the developments, noting that the alliance could embolden both nations to take more aggressive stances on the international stage.

“With this treaty, North Korea gains a powerful ally, while Russia secures a foothold in East Asia,” said Alexander Gabuev, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Moscow Center. “It is a strategic maneuver that complicates the geopolitical calculus for the US and its partners.”

The reactivation of the military pact also comes at a time when Russia is deeply involved in the conflict in Ukraine, where it faces significant opposition from Western nations.

North Korea’s unreserved support for Putin’s actions in Ukraine, as articulated by Kim, further aligns the two nations against common adversaries.

As the international community grapples with the potential ramifications of this treaty, it is clear that the renewed alliance between Russia and North Korea represents a formidable challenge to the current global order.

The coming months will likely see increased diplomatic activity as nations reassess their strategies in light of this development.

Continue Reading

Government

Cyril Ramaphosa Begins New Term Under Coalition Government

Published

on

Cyril Ramaphosa

Cyril Ramaphosa was sworn in for another term as South Africa’s president on Wednesday, the beginning of a new era under a coalition government.

The ceremony held at the Nelson Mandela Amphitheater in the Union Buildings saw Ramaphosa take the oath of office before Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.

The event was attended by prominent dignitaries, including Nigerian President Bola Tinubu, Democratic Republic of Congo leader Felix Tshisekedi, and Zimbabwe’s Emmerson Mnangagwa, and was marked by a 21-gun salute and an air force flyover.

Ramaphosa’s reappointment comes three weeks after elections saw his party, the African National Congress (ANC), lose its parliamentary majority for the first time since the end of apartheid.

The ANC secured just over 40% of the vote on May 29, with millions of former supporters either backing a splinter party led by ex-leader Jacob Zuma or abstaining due to dissatisfaction over high levels of poverty, unemployment, and crime.

In his inauguration address, Ramaphosa emphasized the resilience of South African democracy and the need for unity.

“The resilience of our democracy has once more been tested, and the people have spoken loudly that they choose peace and democracy over conflict,” he said. “The voters of South Africa did not give any single political party the full mandate to govern our country alone. They have directed us to work together to address their plight and realize their aspirations.”

The ANC’s unprecedented electoral outcome necessitated a power-sharing agreement with long-time rivals. The main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) and four other parties have agreed to join a government of national unity, supporting Ramaphosa’s leadership in exchange for cabinet and parliamentary positions.

This coalition is expected to prioritize economic growth, investment attraction, structural reforms, and sustainable management of state finances.

The rand strengthened to a level stronger than 18 per dollar for the first time in over ten months, and Johannesburg’s benchmark equity index reached a record high on Wednesday.

Market optimism is driven by the inclusion of business-friendly parties in the government, anticipated to bolster Ramaphosa’s reform agenda aimed at addressing power shortages, logistical challenges, and other economic impediments.

Despite criticism in his previous term for his consultative approach, which opponents labeled as indecisive, Ramaphosa reaffirmed his commitment to inclusive governance.

“Those who would like a president that is dictatorial, who is adventurous, who is reckless, will not find that in me,” he stated last month. “In me they will find a president who wants to consult. All these processes have often been seen as, ‘he is weak, he is not decisive.’ I am decisive, but I want to take people along with.”

The new coalition government faces significant challenges, including negotiating policy differences and accommodating politically powerful figures within the ANC and its partners.

The DA has already expressed concerns over the ANC’s uncosted national health insurance plan and its foreign policy stance.

Susan Booysen, director of research at the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection, noted the complexities ahead. “South Africa is really moving into this with minimal on-the-ground preparation and justification,” she said. “The devil is going to be in the exact detail. Once cabinet is announced, some basic agreement will have to be reached on policy positions and on what the red-line issues will be.”

As Ramaphosa begins his new term, the nation watches closely, hopeful that this coalition government can navigate the intricate landscape of South African politics and bring about the much-needed reforms and stability.

Continue Reading

Government

Fubara Appoints and Swears in Caretaker Chairmen for All 23 Rivers State LGAs

Published

on

Siminalayi Fubara

Governor Siminalayi Fubara of Rivers State has appointed and sworn in new caretaker chairmen for all 23 local government areas.

This significant action followed swiftly after the House of Assembly, led by factional Speaker Victor Jumbo, screened and confirmed the nominees earlier in the day.

The process began on Tuesday when Governor Fubara submitted the list of nominees to the state House of Assembly.

According to a statement by the Clerk of the House, G.M. Gillis-West, the nominees were summoned for an early morning screening at 8 a.m. on Wednesday.

The rapid succession of events underscores the urgency of the appointments amid ongoing political unrest in the state.

The political crisis intensified as former council chairmen, whose terms had expired, refused to vacate their offices.

This defiance prompted the need for a swift and firm resolution to ensure continuity and stability in local governance.

The swearing-in ceremony took place under tight security at the Executive Council Chambers of the Government House in Port Harcourt, the state capital.

Governor Fubara administered the oath of office to the first batch of eleven caretaker chairmen, with subsequent batches following promptly.

The newly appointed caretaker chairmen are:

  • Abua/Odua LGA: Madigai Dickson
  • Ahoada East LGA: Happy Benneth
  • Ahoada West LGA: Mr. Daddy John Green
  • Akuku Toru LGA: Otonye Briggs
  • Andoni LGA: Reginald Ekaan
  • Asari Toru LGA: Orolosoma Amachree
  • Bonny LGA: Alabota Anengi Barasua
  • Degema LGA: Anthony Soberekon
  • Eleme LGA: Brain Gokpa
  • Emouha LGA: David Omereji
  • Etche LGA: John Otamiri
  • Gokana LGA: Kenneth Kpeden
  • Ikwerre LGA: Darlington Orji
  • Khana LGA: Marvin Yobana
  • Obio/Akpor LGA: Emmanuel Dogwo
  • Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni LGA: Vincent Anyanwu
  • Ogu/Bolo LGA: Margaret Ezenwa
  • Okrika LGA: Chizoba Onyebuchi
  • Omuma LGA: Cynthia Amadi
  • Opobo/Nkoro LGA: Solomon Dokubo
  • Oyigbo LGA: Chima Nwafor
  • Port Harcourt LGA: Isaac Udochukwu
  • Tai LGA: Ruth Michael

Governor Fubara expressed confidence in the capabilities of the newly appointed chairmen and emphasized the importance of their roles in maintaining stability and driving development at the grassroots level.

He urged them to prioritize the needs of their communities and work diligently towards improving the quality of life for all residents of Rivers State.

The appointment of the caretaker chairmen is expected to quell the political tensions that have recently plagued the state, ensuring that local governance continues smoothly and efficiently.

As Rivers State navigates this transitional period, the administration remains committed to fostering a stable and prosperous environment for its citizens.

Continue Reading
Advertisement




Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending