Nigerian widows claim compensation from Shell for husbands' execution

Four Nigerian women are suing Shell in the court in The Hague. They're demanding apologies and compensation from the Dutch oil and gas giant for the execution of their husbands in Nigeria in 1995. According to the widows, and Amnesty International who is supporting them, Shell encouraged the then military regime to unlawfully arrest and detain their husbands because they were critical of Shell and the regime, RTL Nieuws reports.

Nine activists, known as the Ogoni Nine, were detained and then hanged after a sham trial. The executions followed demonstrations by the Ogoni people against Shell's oil drilling in the Niger Delta. The military dictatorship put an end to these protests with extreme force. According to Amnesty, internal Shell documents and witness statements show that the oil company regularly encouraged the regime to take action against the Ogoni community.

Shell will defend itself in court. "The executions carried out at that time by a military government affected us deeply", a spokesperson said to RTL Nieuws. "The Shell Group, alongside other organizations and individuals, appealed to the Nigerian president to grant leniency at the time. To our great regret, this was ignored." The company denies the accusations made against it. "SPDC [Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria] did not cooperate with the authorities to suppress the unrest, in no way encouraged or requested violence in Nigeria, and had no role in the arrest, the trial and the execution of the nine Ogoni men. We believe that the evidence shows that Shell is not responsible for these sad events."

In 2017 Amnesty called on Nigeria, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom to launch a criminal investigation into Shell's role in the atrocities committed in the African country in the 90s. These atrocities included rapes, murders, acts of torture, and the burning of villages. 

Tags: