End Environmental and Human Rights Abuses in Nigeria


The Nigerian government has executed nine activists, including Nobel Peace Prize nominee Ken Saro-Wiwa. Now 19 more organizers are in jail, awaiting the same fate. All have been accused of the murder of four Ogoni chiefs, a charge widely regarded as politically motivated. Saro-Wiwa and the other MOSOP (Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People) members were outspoken opponents of both Nigeria’s military government and the international oil companies that they believed were complicit in the violation of environmental and human rights in their native Ogoniland.

More than 97 percent of Nigeria’s export revenue comes from oil, nearly half of which is pumped by Royal Dutch Shell, the parent company of both Shell U.S. and Shell Nigeria. Shell pulled out of Ogoniland in 1993, but maintains operations in other parts of Nigeria, and left behind a disastrous environmental legacy, including above-ground high-pressure pipelines that criss-cross through villages and once-fruitful agricultural land. (Read Shell’s response to these charges.)

According to the Sierra Club, which is calling for a consumer boycott of Shell and an international embargo of Nigeria, makes $312 million a year in profits from Nigeria and is about to commence a $4 billion natural gas joint venture with the Nigeria military government. The Sierra Club believes that a boycott would “hold Shell accountable for its environmental abuses and tolerance of injustice” and hit the military leaders where it hurts: their substantial share of Nigeria’s $10 billion oil revenue.

Here are some suggestions of things we can
all do to help the situation. This list was put together by the Sierra Club, but in this case we don’t think they’ll mind us reprinting their content.

  • Boycott Shell.

  • Write to the President of Shell Oil Company:
    Philip J. Carroll
    P.O. Box 2463
    Houston, TX 77252
    (800) 248-4257
    fax: (713) 241-4044

    Tell the company that you will boycott its products until it cleans up its environmental mess in Nigeria and compensates the Ogoni people for past damage. If you have a Shell credit card, cut it up and send it back with your letter.

  • Write President Clinton,
    The White House
    1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
    Washington, D.C. 20500
    (202) 456-1111
    E-mail: president@whitehouse.gov

    Urge the administration to support an embargo of Nigerian oil.

  • Urge your local government officials to cancel or not renew any Shell contracts until amends are made to the Ogoni people. Contact our Washington, D.C., office for a sample copy of resolution language that your city council can adopt.

  • For more information, contact Stephen Mills, Human Rights and Environment Campaign Director, Sierra Club, at:
    408 C St., NE
    Washington, D.C. 20002
    (202) 675-6691
    E-mail: stephen.mills@sierraclub.org

The Body Shop provides sample letters that can be sent to the following addresses:

  • Your Prime Minister or President (also write to the Minister responsible for Foreign Affairs or Overseas Development)

  • Chief Tom Ikimi Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Maputo Street, PMB 130, Abuja, Federal Capital Territory, Nigeria.

  • Lieutenant-Colonel Dauda Musa Komo State Military Administrator, Government House 91000 Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria.

  • Major Obi Umahi Commander, Internal Security Task Force Bori Military Camp, Rivers State, Nigeria.

  • Nigerian High Commission or Embassy in your country

  • Brian Anderson CEO Shell Nigeria, Private Mailbag 2418, Lagos, Nigeria.

Letters of support can also be written to the prisoners and their families:

  • (Prisoner’s Name) Federal Prisons, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria.

Since MoJo Wire readers like to be active and informed, we’ve compiled
this list
of online resources to enable you, the reader, to satiate your thirst
for information.
We like happy readers.

Amnesty
International: Nigeria

Information on AI’s current international campaign for human rights
reform
in Nigeria.

The Body
Shop

The latest news on the Body Shop’s campaign for justice for the Ogoni
people, including
short bios of (and letters from) the currently imprisoned Ogoni 19.

Boycott Shell
Oil, Embargo Nigeria

How and why you should join the Sierra Club’s boycott of Shell.

Free Nigeria Movement (FNM)
A grassroots based global mass movement working for the
full and total restoration of freedom to Nigeria and its people.

The Ogoni Freedom
Site

Home page for the Ogoni Freedom Campaign.

OneWorld News
Service – Nigeria

A collection of articles, covering events in Nigeria over the past two
years.

Project Underground Online
An environmental and human rights organization that supports communities
impacted by
mining, oil and gas activities.

Shell Nigeria WWW
Site

Check out Shell’s side of the story.

Sierra Club — Ken
Saro-Wiwa

The Sierra Club’s collection of relevant articles, press releases, action
alerts, and
outside links.

Silence
Would Be Betrayal

An interview with Ken Saro-Wiwa’s brother, Dr. Owens
Wiwa.