Kevin Smith writing in the Guardian and Han Shan writing in Huffington Post have each written excellent articles on next weeks landmark trial of Shell for human and environmental rights violations. By quoting Ken Saro-Wiwa’s final statement at his military trial in 1995, Shan makes the connection between Shell’s human rights abuses as well as their complicity in the arrest and hanging of the Ogoni 9 and the trial on Wednesday. Whatever happens to Shell no one in the company will loose his or her life!
“I and my colleagues are not the only ones on trial. Shell is here on trial… its day will surely come and the lessons learned here may prove useful to it, for there is no doubt in my mind that the ecological war that the company has waged in the Delta will be called to question sooner than later, and the crimes of that war be duly punished. The crime of the company’s dirty wars against the Ogoni people will also be punished.“
Kevin Smith’s piece explains the details of the case against Shell and despite their “slick PR team” are unable to defend the continued use of gas flaring which has been illegal since 1984 [although the Nigerian govenrment continue to delay the actual end to the process].
While a slick PR team has navigated Shell through numerous allegations of human rights abuses and localised pollution in the Delta, the climatic impacts of gas flaring are becomingly increasingly difficult for the company to shrug off. Even without taking flaring into account, Shell’s 2007 global operations were responsible for pumping more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than all of the UK’s domestic emissions combined.
Shell is one of many oil multinationals operating in Nigeria all of whom are guilty of human rights and environmental rights abuses – Chevron, Elf, Agip Mobil all should be facing trial along with Shell. The trial of Shell takes place against the backdrop of the continued occupation and human rights abuses in the Niger Delta by the Nigerian government. They too should be on trial along with Presidents Obasanjo, Yar’Adua and the gutless Vice President Goodluck Jonathan who is complicit by his very silence.