Leading global human right watch group, Amnesty International (AI), weekend opened up on what it described as deliberate frustration of the ongoing case on Anglo-Dutch oil giant, Shell bordering on its complicities in the government killing of nine Ogoni leaders many years ago by late gen Sani Abacha administration.
Business Hilights recalls that leading author and environmentalist, Ken Saro-Wiwa, Barinem Kiobel, John Kpuine and six others were hanged by the Abacha regime in 1995.
They are collectively known as Ogoni Nine.
But another round of the matter was reopened on June 28, when four widows led by Esther Kiobel, wife of Barinem Kiobel, filed a civil case in the Netherlands after the US Supreme Court ruled that it did not have jurisdiction over the matter in 2013.
In a statement, the rights group alleged that Shell is refusing to hand over 100,000 documents on the arrest, detention, and execution of Ogoni leaders to the court.
According to a senior director of research at Amnesty International, Audrey Gaughran, “Shell had gone to extraordinary lengths to shield evidence crucial to the case,” and stressed that the oil major should not be allowed to hide behind legal teams in a bid to avoid facing justice.
Continuing, Gaughran claimed that “Shell has gone to extraordinary lengths to withhold this critical information. Because the documents in question are so old, it is highly unlikely that there are legitimate business reasons for keeping them confidential”.
“So what does Shell have to hide? Having reviewed the available evidence, Amnesty International believes that Shell was complicit in putting the Ogoni Nine at the mercy of a government it knew to be serial human rights abuser.
“Given the seriousness of the allegations, it is vital that Shell releases the rest of the information. It cannot be allowed to hide behind expensive legal teams and sleights of hand to avoid facing justice.”