Send a message to Chevron about their human rights and environmental abuses.
Sign a letter to Chevron’s CEO calling on Chevron to stop paying, transporting and housing the Nigerian military and police forces who shoot, injure and kill innocent unarmed protesters in Nigeria. Sign Letter!
Remembering Ken Saro Wiwa on the 15th Anniversary of his Murder
Ken Saro Wiwa
Fifteen years ago Ken Saro Wiwa and eight other Ogoni activists who led protests against Shell Oil company were hanged by the Nigerian government after a sham trial on trumped up charges.
Today as we remember Ken Saro Wiwa and his colleagues, we continue to fight for an end to human rights violations and environmental destruction by Big Oil in Nigeria.
The Ogoni Nine
Also today we share with you new revelations about Shell’s PR strategy after the deaths of the Ogoni activists.
“The documents offer a previously hidden insight into efforts by the company to deflect the PR storm that engulfed it after the Nigerian activist was hanged by the country’s military government. Shell faced accusations that it had colluded with the government over the activists’ deaths.” –Eveline Lubbers and Andy Rowell, The Guardian
The Guardian piece makes note that a Shell spokesperson said that the company’s environmental record had “improved greatly” in recent years, outlining the difference between the number of oil spills in 2009 (132) versus the average number between 2005 and 2009 (175 per year.)
For readers who want more background, there is a new series of podcasts marking the 15th anniversary of the execution of Nigerian writer and activist Ken Saro-Wiwa produced by PLATFORM’s remember saro-wiwa project. JINN’s friend and partner on the ground Emem Okon, the Director of the Kebetkache Women Development and Resource Centre, who joined us in the Bay Area and in Houston last May is featured in Episode 1: “Fifteen Years of Not Getting Justice.”
Nigerian environmental activist Nnimmo Bassey of Friends of the Earth International has been awarded the prestigious Right Livelihood Award -
“…for revealing the full ecological and human horrors of oil production and for his inspired work to strengthen the environmental movement in Nigeria and globally.”
Nnimmo Bassey’s work as Executive Director of Environmental Rights Action in Nigeria and Chair of Friends of the Earth International has turned him into one of Africa’s leading advocates and campaigners for the environment and human rights. Indefatigably, Bassey has stood up against the practices of multinational corporations in his country and the environmental devastation they leave behind destroying the lives and ignoring the rights of the local population.
“On Wednesday 7 April I was held by the Nigerian State Security Service (SSS) for an hour and half at the Port Harcourt International Airport as I was trying to check into an Air France flight out of Nigeria. SSS officials searched my bags and picked out copies of publications of Social Action and Niger Delta Citizens and Budget Platform including
Beyond Amnesty: Citizens Report on State and Local Government Budgets in the Niger Delta, 2009
Carry Go: Citizens Report on State and Local Government Budgets in the Niger Delta, 2008
I was taken to the Director of the SSS at the airport who insisted that I don’t travel with the reports, which portrays the country in bad light and would “discourage foreign investors”. I responded that those portraying the country in bad light are the leaders of the ruling PDP that loot public funds and prevent free elections.
I told the SSS director that I would prefer to be arrested than to travel without my literature. After long discussions the SSS requested for assurance from me that copies would be sent to them for “analysis”. I later invited my colleague Ken Henshaw (who accompanied me to the airport) to meet with the SSS director. Ken Henshaw’s phone details and office address were extracted from him before I was allowed to travel with my documents. My passport details were also recorded by the SSS.
Six armed policemen from the Rivers State Police Command assaulted and arbitrarily detained human rights activists Asume Osuoka, Celestine Akpobari, and Ken Henshaw, of Nigeria-based NGO Social Action, on April 5, 2010. Mr. Osuoka said that the police did not ask them for any form of identification but knew who they were; their NGO Social Development Integrated Centre is known for its work in human rights and environmental justice, including its publications on gas flaring and oil-induced conflict.
Mr. Celestine said he was “repeatedly hit with the butt of a gun, poked with a barrel in his arms and legs and slapped in the face, as at least six armed men, including at least three uniformed police officers, forced the activists out of their car and into a white van without asking the victims for any form of identification.” Mr. Celestine added that he was denied medical treatment for his injuries. The three men were taken to Olu Obasanjo police station in Port Harcourt, where they were denied access to legal counsel. They were later released without charge at around midnight on April 5.
On April 9, Amnesty international called on the Nigerian government to launch immediate investigations into the assault and detention of these human rights defenders. More from Amnesty here. More from a spokesperson of Nigeria’s Civil Liberties Organisation, a local human rights group, printed in the Guardian (Nigeria), here.
The three activists, all staff of Social Action, a Non-Governmental Organisation based in Port Harcourt, were trailed from their Oromineke Lay Out office in D-Line, Port Harcourt about 9 p.m. by over six heavily armed policemen operating in a white Hilux police van. They were double-crossed at Garrison junction, dragged out of their vehicle and beaten mercilessly. The policemen used their gun butts and gun nozzles, boots, batons and horsewhips to unleash mayhem on the law-abiding citizens. Celestine Akpobari sustained serious injuries and was later hospitalised on the following day, Wednesday, April 6 in a private hospital in Port Harcourt.
After the physical assault, the policemen bundled them into their Hilux van and took them to the Olu Obasanjo Police Station where they were detained until about 12 midnight before they were released. They were not told the offence they committed for which they were arrested, beaten up, humiliated and detained. But we suspect that the action of the police may not be unconnected with the campaigns of the activists against forced evictions of residents of Waterfront by the government of Rivers State headed by Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, as well as other campaigns against mis-governance in the state. They had received several threats from agents of the state prior to the attack.
Before the April 5 attack on the three activists, another activist, Kentebe Ebiaridor, a staff of Environmental Rights Action (ERA) and member of the CLO, was manhandled by policemen at Agip Estate, Rumueme, Portharcourt on Friday, April 2, 2010 about 1 a.m. He was returning from work when he was accosted by the battle-ready policemen who beat him up, bundled him into their vehicle and into the Rumuokpakani Police Station’s cell at Ada George road, Port Harcourt. Kentebe, who refused to pull off his clothes and enter the cell as ordered by the policemen, was brutalised and jerked up by several policemen on duty and thrown into the cell. He was later released about 9 a.m. following the intervention of the CLO.
We hope you enjoyed April Fools this year as much as we did, thanks to the stellar jokesters the Yes Men who have a habit of impersonating corporate spokespeople. The people of the Niger Delta still need you to
encourage Shell to make real amends by ending gas flaring in the Niger Delta and investing in job training and educational opportunities for every resident of a village whose self-sufficient lifestyle was damaged by Shell.
If you missed the prank, read the statement below and watch the video above of Shell’s apology to the Niger Delta.
A huge thanks to the Yes Men for driving a 100% increase in traffic on JINN’s Facebook page over the last week!
The Hague, 27 March 2010
Today, Royal Dutch Shell is holding back the tears no more. Shell apologises to all inhabitants of Nigeria’s Niger Delta for the many years of human rights violations, for which Shell takes full responsibility.
Confronted with massive evidence of human rights violations that can only be attributed to its operations in the Niger Delta, Royal Dutch Shell is extremely proud to be the first international petrochemical company to publicly say:
We are sorry.
Since Shell first discovered oil in the Niger Delta in 1956, the company has ravished the land and polluted the environment. “We thought these people didn’t know what was good for them,” explains Bradford Houppe, Vice-President of Shell’s newly established Ethical Affairs Committee. “We never knew that we were bringing them impoverishment, conflict, abuse and deprivation. Now we know.” Shell acknowledges that it is responsible for large-scale oil spills, waste dumping and gas flaring. Each year, hundreds of oil spills occur, many of which are caused by corrosion of oil pipes and poor maintenance of infrastructure. “Our failure to deal with these spills swiftly and the lack of effective clean-up greatly exacerbate their human rights and environmental impact,” says Houppe. “And that is wrong. It’s just really wrong.” Read the rest of this entry »
In honor of International Women’s Day, Justice in Nigeria Now highlights the work of an inspiring, accomplished women’s leader in the Niger Delta: Emem Okon.
Ms. Okon, the Executive Director of Kebetkache Women Development & Resource Centre, uses her passion for mobilizing and empowering women to promote human rights, democratic principles, and social justice in the Niger Delta. Ms. Okon helps women to develop their leadership potentials and project their voices in Nigerian political, social, and cultural spheres.
Based in the Niger Delta, where women face particular adverse impacts of violence—both in terms of violence against women and in the effects of violent conflict on economic and social livelihoods—Ms. Okon advocates for peace and capacity-building, with and for the women of the Niger Delta.
Much of Ms. Okon’s work stems from the challenges that women in the Niger Delta face living in the shadow of oil companies’ operations, where resulting gas flaring and oil spills afflict harm on the people and the environment.