The oil giant, Shell, is refusing to hand over more than 100,000 internal documents on the arrest, detention, and execution of nine Ogoni men in the 1990s, Amnesty International has said.
The execution of the “Ogoni Nine”, including the renowned writer Ken Saro-Wiwa, by the government in 1995 sparked global outrage.
Others executed along with Saro-Wiwa were Saturday Dobee, Nordu Eawo, Daniel Gbooko, Paul Levera, Felix Nuate, Baribor Bera, Barinem Kiobel, and John Kpuine.
In a statement on Friday, a Senior Director of Research at Amnesty International, Audrey Gaughran, said Shell has gone to extraordinary lengths to withhold information vital to the case.
He alleged that the oil giant may have “skeletons in its cupboard” and should not be allowed to hide behind expensive legal teams to avoid facing justice
“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," he said
“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.”
Meanwhile, Amnesty International said it has presented the allegations to Shell, but the oil company denied the allegation, saying it “did not collude with the military authorities to suppress community unrest and in no way encouraged or advocated any act of violence in Nigeria.”
After a 20-year battle for justice, on June 28 four of the men’s widows, led by Esther Kiobel, filed a legal writ against Shell in the Netherlands.
On September 12 the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York will hear the first appeal by Shell’s lawyers Cravath, Swaine & Moore, LLP against a federal court order to turn over the documents.