back to corporations | rat haus | Index | Search | tree

( ASCII text )

CORPSE MURDER PROFILE
Two Dictatorships:
SHELL and the Nigerian Military Government

The struggle of the Ogoni People and the murder of
nine Nigerian political dissidents including Ken Saro-Wiwa

Given that SHELL was #1 -- "top of the list" -- of the Multinational Monitor's Shameless: 1995's 10 Worst Corporations (12/95), we wanted to include a selection of the more exemplary information sources about the actual conditions of life for Nigeria's Ogoni people and the murder of nine Nigerian political dissidents on November 10, 1995 -- Ken Saro-Wiwa, Saturday Dobee, Barinem Kiobel, Paul Levura, Nordu Eawo, Felix Nuate, Daniel Gbokoo, John Kpuinen and Baribor Bera -- by the military government supported by Shell.

A playwright and environmentalist, Ken Saro-Wiwa was the President of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP), a volunteer-based democratic organization. MOSOP was organized as a response to the environmental devastation which has occurred in Ogoni as a result of 38 years of oil exploitation. Ogoni demands include an end to the pollution caused primarily by the oil spills and gas flares of Royal/Dutch Shell. The Ogoni are also demanding a share of the oil revenues from their land.

Since Shell is a subordinate legal fiction, and thus incapable of ANY ethical or moral basis, it hides behind the facade of such newspeak as, "Shell Oil Company, the U.S. operating company in the Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Companies, has no operations, employees or investments in Nigeria". On the one hand Shell is the "the U.S. operating company in the Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Companies" -- in other words, `we are part of Royal Dutch/Shell'. On the other hand `we don't have any operations, employees or investments in Nigeria'. George Orwell's Big Brother would be proud of Shell.

Another common tactic Shell Nigeria employed is to paint things as being so complex that, for you and i, it is virtually impossible to understand: "Nigeria is a vast and complex society. The problems it faces are difficult and enormously complicated. Effective solutions will be neither simple nor straightforward." "Solutions" certainly won't be straightforward as long as corpses such as Shell continue to exist -- corpses whose only purpose is to line the wallets of its managers and keep the stockholders profitably happy.

One of the most damning sources revealing Shell's bald-faced lies and supreme treachery is the secret Nigerian government memo, dated May 12, 1994 (see http://www.sierraclub.org/human-rights/Nigeria/background/memo.asp ) cited and included below in Stephen Mills' testimony -- which the accompanying Note by MOSOP describes in the following manner:

This secret govt. memo, obtained two days ago, forms the basis of the present military operation in Ogoni. It vindicates MOSOP's position that the Ogoni crisis is contrived by the govt. and Shell to provide an opportunity for the military crackdown to enable Shell to resume operations in Ogoni as well as act as a deterrent to other oil-producing communities.
This memo was written by the Chairman of the Rivers State Internal Security Task Force to "His Excellency The Military Administrator Rivers State" (RSIS) on the subject of "RSIS OPERATIONS: LAW AND ORDER IN OGONI, ETC"
OBSERVATIONS:
  • POLICE IN OGONI REMAIN INEFFECTIVE SINCE 1993.

  • SHELL OPERATIONS STILL IMPOSSIBLE UNLESS RUTHLESS MILITARY OPERATIONS ARE UNDERTAKEN FOR SMOOTH ECONOMIC ACTIVITIES TO COMMENCE.

  • WA IBOM AND OPOBO BORDERS INADVISABLE BECAUSE OF INACCESSIBILITY. ADDED TO DISAGREEMENT BETWEEN OPOBO/ANDONI MAKING COOPERATION BY THE FORMER UNREALISABLE.

  • DIVISION BETWEEN THE ELITIST OGONI LEADERSHIP EXISTS.

  • EITHER BLOC LEADERSHIP LACKS ADEQUATE INFLUENCE TO DEFY NYCOP DECISIVE RESISTANCE TO OIL PRODUCTION UNLESS REPARATION OF 400 MILLION DOLLARS PAID WITH ARREARS OF INTEREST TO MOSOP AND KEN SARO-WIWA.
RECOMMENDATIONS/STRATEGIES:
  • INTRA-COMMUNAL/KINGDOM FORMULAE ALTERNATIVE AS DISCUSSED TO APPLY.

  • WASTING OPERATIONS DURING MOSOP AND OTHER GATERINGS MAKING CONSTANT MILITARY PRESENCE JUSTIFIABLE.

  • WASTING TARGETS CUTTING ACROSS COMMUNITIES AND LEADERSHIP CADRES ESPECIALLY VOCAL INDIVIDUALS IN VARIOUS GROUPS.

  • DEPLOYMENT OF 400 MILITARY PERSONNEL (OFFICERS AND MEN).

  • NEW CHECKPOINTS SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT FROM OPERATION ORDER NO. 4/94 DATED 21/4/94 BY COMMISSIONER OF POLICE RIVERS STATE COMMAND.

  • DIRECT DAILY REPORT TO MILAD.

  • WASTING OPERATIONS COUPLED WITH PSYCHOLOGICAL TACTICS OF DISPLACEMENT/WASTING AS NOTED ABOVE.

  • PRESS MONITOR AND LOBBY.

  • RESTRICTION OF UNAUTHORISED VISITORS ESPECIALLY THOSE FROM EUROPE TO THE OGONI.

  • MONTHLY PRESS PRIEFING BY CHAIRMAN, RIVERS STATE INTERNAL SECURITY (RSIS).
FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS (ESTIMATES/FUNDING):
  • INITIAL DISBURSEMENT OF 50 MILLION NAIRA AS ADVANCED ALLOWANCES TO OFFICERS AND MEN AND FOR LOGISTICS TO COMMENCE OPERATIONS WITH IMMEDIATE EFFECT AS AGREED.

  • ECOMOG ALLOWANCE RATES APPLICABLE AS EARLIER DISCUSSED.

  • PRESSURE ON OIL COMPANIES FOR PROMPT REGULAR IMPUTS AS DISCUSSED.

  • OMPADEC STANDS BY AS ARRANGED.
REMARKS:
  • THE IKWERRE-IJAW-AHOADA (OBAGI) AGENDA FOR SKELETAL OPERATIONS UNTIL FULL ECONOMIC ACTIVITIES COMMENCE IN OGONI.

  • SURVEILLANCE ON OGONI LEADERS CONSIDERED AS SECURITY RISKS/MOSOP PROPELLERS.

  • PRESENT SSG OBVIOUSLY SENSITIVE (OGBAKOR/IKWERRE CONNECTION).

  • MOSIEND AND MORETO IN IJAWS TERRITORY AS TARGETS FOR CLAMP DOWN.

  • MODIFICATIONS OF PROGRAMME CONTINUOUSLY.

  • RUTHLESS OPERATIONS AND HIGH LEVEL AUTHORITY FOR THE TASK FORCE EFFECTIVENESS.

  • DIRECT SUPERVISION BY MILAD TO AVOID UNRULY INTERFERENCE BY OTHER SUPERIOR OFFICERS.

  • RSIS INDEPENDENCE NECESSARY DESPITE SOME MOPOL INPUTS.
12/05/94
So according to the Chairman of the RSIS Task Force, Shell operations are impossible unless ruthless military operations are undertaken for smooth economic activities to commence. Here we have a corpse arming a government to brutally repress and terrorize its people so the corpse can extract whatever raw materials it wants from the land. As Professor Claude Ake has written on this subject (link to "Shelling Nigeria Ablaze" below):

          It is indicative of Shell's privatisation of the state and its prerogatives that it buys substantial quantities of firearms through open tender for its own use. This day of Friday, December 22, 1995 reports a case before a Lagos High Court in which an arms dealer, Humanitex Nigeria Limited, sued Shell Nigeria for N100 million (?) for a breach of contract in seeking to open again for bidding an arms supply contract which Shell awarded in 1993. In a 17-paragraph affidavit sworn by the chief executive of the company, Gabriel Akinluyi, the company says that Shell was making the purchase to update the firearms of its security forces across the country. We see here the bizarre and frightening novelty of accumulation of terror. I call for an independent inquiry into the acquisition and use of firearms by Shell.
          These tendencies have been replayed in Ogoniland on an extended scale with more tragic consequences. By all indications, there is worse to come. Shell remains unrepentant and belligerent. At the same time, consciousness and resentment [grow ?] in the oil-producing communities as the events of January 4, 1996 [Ogoni Day] showed. Ogoniland is unbowed. Unless something gives there will be more strife and they will be far more catastrophic.
          What is at issue is nothing less than the viability of Nigeria, as oil is the real power and the stuff of politics in Nigeria as well as what holds the country in a fragile dialectical unity of self-seeking. It is time to call Shell to order and to account.
Professor Ake also includes the January 28, 1996 article from the The London Observer where it was reported that "Multinational oil giant Shell has admitted importing weapons into Nigeria to help arm the police". Shell's claims that "the problems [Nigeria] faces are difficult and enormously complicated" are only true as far as the violence Shell promotes, supports, and, profits by are concerned. If such a catalyst for violence did not exist in Nigeria, its "problems" would have a much more human scale to them.

Ken Wiwa, Ken Saro-Wiwa's son, spoke at Amnesty International's Press Awards 1996 ceremony (6/19/96). Speaking with One World News Service, Ken made the following observation of his own:

There are glaring incosistencies in Shell's public statements and private actions. . . . This is the most obvious case of a multinational exploiting resources against the wishes of indigenous peoples. For that reason people feel that if we lose this one it would be a setback to campaigns against multinationals all over the world. For this reason Shell mustn't be allowed to get away with it.
Wanda Ballentine writes about the authoritarian, hierarchical nature of corspses in What about the corporate "good guys?":
Corporations are dictatorships. There is nothing democratic about them -- people don't learn about living in a democratic society in a corporation. All orders go from the top down. No employee has any legal standing or role in decision-making. The top officials have no accountability to employees, consumers, or communities, and even the stockholders are losing ground.
It is essential to keep this fact in mind, whether one is actively involved in spreading the word about the Shell boycott or engaged in any other endeavor to "remove obstacles to citizen control of the corporation" as well as to "reinstate provisions such as those (enumerated in REHW #488) once governing corporations, and add others that are particularly suited to our times." (Jane Anne Morris writing in REHW #489)

As an information resource, we include below a selection of links relevant to Ken Saro-Wiwa, the Ogoni People, and their struggle. May their struggle and ours be joined with an ever-renewed vigor and creativity to reclaim the structures of governance so that around our planet we all participate, in our own locales, as we the people, in voluntary association, come together to form a government to govern ourselves.





A Poem by Ken Saro-Wiwa,
written after his arrest
in Port Harcourt prison:

Ogoni! Ogoni!

Ogoni is the land
The people, Ogoni
The agony of trees dying
In ancestral farmlands
Streams polluted weeping
Filth into murky rivers
It is the poisoned air
Coursing the luckless lungs
Of dying children
Ogoni is the dream
Breaking the looping chain
Around the drooping neck of a shell-shocked land.





back to corporations | rat haus | Index | Search | tree