A Civil Society Activist, Vivian Bello, has called on Shell to go beyond agreeing to pay compensation and compel the Nigerian government to quash trumped up charges against and discharge Ken Saro-Wiwa and others posthumously.
Vivian Bello who is the Head of Social Action Nigeria, and Convener of the Women Collective, made this assertion in a statement made available to Newsdiaryonline in reaction to reports that the multinational oil giant has agreed to payment N45.9 bn judgement debt to Ogoni communities.
She said while Shell’s move was a “welcome development”, the oil giant should take steps to compel the Federal Government to quash the trumped up charges which led to the judicial murder of activists led by Ken Saro-Wiwa and others.
According to Bello: “Shell’s acceptance to pay the sum of N45.9bn compensation to Ogoni communities in Riviers State, being a judgement debt in the environmental degradation suit brought against the oil multinational by local Ogoni people, while being a welcome development, however still falls fundamentally short of the yearnings and aspirations of the people, so long as the judicial murder of foremost Environmentalist Ken Saro-Wiwa by the Nigerian military junta still stood.
“As it were today, all the facts brought to bear in the course of both this court case and several other similar legal suits on the Ogoniland degradation, both in Nigerian and international courts, including global environmental research studies of UNEP and several other Bodies, have clearly expounded on, and attested to the atrocious environmental despoliation acts unleashed on and perpetrated in the Ogoni environment for oil exploitation by Shell and it’s co-travellers in the ignominy; the Nigerian government and other Joint Venture, (J-V) collaborators. These facts, testimonies and exposures, including now the several rulings of multiple courts, have also very manifestly shown/proved the justness in the cause the Environmentalist was campaigning for, and grave injustice in his sham conviction and murder, by an equally sham kangaroo tribunal of a profoundly discredited military junta in Nigeria, headed by General Sani Abacha. Again today and importantly too, the latest acceptance by Shell to pay the N45.9bn judgement debt following the multinational’s conviction on the environmental despoliation charges brought against it, is evidently an admission of guilt and further demonstrates the innocence of Ken Saro-Wiwa.
“While Shell appears to have started showing some semblance of remonstration on the acts it perpetrated in Ogoniland, rightly, the very first place to start if they should be taken seriously, is compelling the government to quash the trumped up charges and judicial murder of Saro-Wiwa, having deeply and extensively instigated it in the first place, as several evidences and revelations have shown.
“Until this is done, no amount of monetary payment, in whatever form or currency, by SHELL or the Nigerian government and their JV partners will remove the guilt or fade away the anger of both the people of Ogoni as well as all Human Rights and Environmental activists all over the globe, who the Nigerian government struck at their very heart in murdering Ken Saro-Wiwa,” Bello said.