Ogoni Nine: Nigerian widows end case against Shell in the Netherlands

Four of the nine widows of activists from the Ogoni region, who opposed the exploitation practices of oil company Royal Dutch Shell, have ended their trial and quashed the charges against Shell in The Hague, Netherlands.

The widows had sought to hold Shell liable for damages after their anti-oil activist husbands were executed by the Nigerian government in 1995.

According to US News, their attorney, Channa Samkalden, disclosed in a statement on Monday, calling the result “disappointing.”

The widows’ husbands were arrested and hanged after a trial that turned international opinion against Nigeria’s military rulers. Among the activists was writer Ken Saro-Wiwa.

Samkalden said: “It has been a long and demanding process, which makes them relive horrific events, while the outcome is most uncertain.

“Rather than focusing on appeal, initiatives are now being developed aimed at providing these women with basic financial assistance.

“Obviously it’s not without disappointment and frustration,” she said.

Although Shell reached a $15.5 million settlement with relatives of certain families in the United States in 2009, in March 2022 the court in The Hague ruled that there was insufficient evidence to support the widows’ claim that Shell bribed witnesses to give false testimony in the trial that led to their husbands’ execution.

Shell also allegedly made the settlements without acknowledging wrongdoing.

A statement from Shell on Monday read: “We have always denied the allegations made against Shell in this case.

“However, this in no way diminishes the tragic nature of the events of 1995.”

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