The Ogoni Nine were a group of nine activists from the Ogoni region of Nigeria, including outspoken author and playwright Ken Saro-Wiwa, Saturday Dobee, Nordu Eawo, Daniel Gbooko, Paul Levera, Felix Nuate, Baribor Bera, Barinem Kiobel, and John Kpuine (Tripathi, p.189), who were executed by hanging in 1995 by the military dictatorship of General Sani Abacha.
The executions provoked international condemnation and led to the increasing treatment of Nigeria as a pariah state until General Abacha's mysterious death in 1998. Saro-Wiwa had previously been a critic of the Royal Dutch Shell oil corporation, and had been imprisoned for a year prior to the executions in November 1995.
At least two witnesses who testified that Saro-Wiwa was involved in the murders of the Ogoni elders later recanted, stating that they had been bribed with money and offers of jobs with Shell to give false testimony – in the presence of Shell’s lawyer.
In 1996, the Center for Constitutional Rights sued Shell for its complicity in human rights abuses against the Ogoni people, such as colluding with the Nigerian government to bring about the arrest and execution of the Ogoni Nine. In June 2009, on the eve of trial, the parties agreed to a settlement providing a total of $15.5 million to compensate the plaintiffs, establish a trust for the benefit of the Ogoni people, and cover some of the legal costs and fees associated with the case.
- The Case Against Shell
- Tim Phillips, "Today We Remember the Ogoni Nine, Executed for Struggling Against Shell in Nigeria", Activist Defense, November 10, 2013.
- Salil Tripathi, "Praise the Lord and Buy Insurance", Index on Censorship Volume 34, Number 4, 2005. p.188–192. ISSN 0306-4220.
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