17th August, 2011
The London court judgment against Shell Petroleum Plc. over the pollution of Ogoni land and Niger Delta has been seen by the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth, Nigeria in Edo state, as a confirmation that Ken Saro-Wiwa was murdered unjustly.
The Head of the Legal Team of the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth, Nigeria in Edo state, Chima Williams said: â€œas an organisation we have maintained that there was no justification for the killing of Ken Saro-Wiwa. He was murdered by General Sani Abacha for his struggle over the exploitation and destruction of the Delta area.â€
Efforts, he said, had been made to vindicate Saro-Wiwa before this judgment came but with this judgment and the UNEP report over the pollution of Ogoni land, what other facts do we need than to call on the Federal Government to call his murderers to book and to immortalise him as a national hero with a monument in Abuja.
“We in Environmental Rights have always accused Shell Petroleum and other oil companies both multinational and indigenous ones that they were responsible for the oil spillages in the Delta areas. We also condemned their obsolete equipment that were responsible for the oil spill and demanded for a new modern equipment that will keep their operation in a better and safe condition in their area of operation.
“The breach of these decisions to maintain good and safe environment has been what ERA and other sister organisations have been agitating for. We have taken the lead in international litigation in holding Shell and the like responsible. We also use this judgment to call on Shell and other oil companies in Niger Delta to accept the guilt on other cases,” he said.
According to him, “the London judgment has a lot of implication for the past misdeeds of the multinational corporations that have polluted the lands in Nigeria. If Shell can admit voluntarily to do the same in other cases and promise to remedy the damage they have done, that will allow for their peaceful co-existence with the people whose land they have been working on for years.
“This development will open another vista for the communities in Delta areas for other oil companies both indigenous and international that can accept their guilt.m It is expected in this instance that environmental criminals admit their shortcomings and make necessary amend where they had earlier wronged the people and denied them of means of livelihood due to environmental degradation.”
By Yomi Obaditan/Benin City