Ken Saro Wiwa Hanged by the Nigerian Government with 8 other activists:
This week marks the 13th anniversary of the death of famed Nigerian activist, Ken Saro Wiwa. On November 10, 1995 Wiwa and 8 other Ogoni activists, known as the Ogoni 9 were ruthlessly executed by the then Nigerian dictator, Sani Abacha. Wiwa and his colleagues were members of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) who peacefully protested against Shell Oil and the Nigerian government for human rights abuses and environmental damage in their community.
Early next year, Wiwa’s son will have his day in court in New York when it will be decided whether or not Royal Dutch Shell will be held liable for their complicity for human rights abuses against the Ogoni people in Nigeria, including summary execution, crimes against humanity, torture, inhumane treatment, arbitrary arrest, wrongful death, assault and battery, and infliction of emotional distress. Similar to the case against Chevron currently being heard in the Northern California Federal District Court, the two cases against Shell were brought under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS). In addition, the Shell cases will be tried under the Torture Victim Protection Act (TVPA). The cases also allege that the corporation violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, according to Earth Rights International, co-counsel for the case.
Wiwa was known for his ability to mobilize hundreds of thousands of peaceful protesters that successfully drove Shell out of their community. His death serves as a shift in Nigerian history when political and social unrest in the Niger Delta was addressed in a peaceful way to a gradual move toward a violent approach that faces the Niger Delta today. The current violence stems from decades of demands not being met, and corruption and divide and rule tactics that continue to tear the region apart. Violent responses were taken to new levels in 2006 with the formation of the well armed group – the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta known as MEND.