"Don't Let Shell Kill Again" Berkeley: City Council Video Presentation (Script)
Much of the footage you are about to see was smuggled out of Nigeria
at great personal risk. This video is edited for length from two fine
films made by Catma Films, called Delta Force and In
Remembrance: Ken Saro-Wiwa
In Nigeria, 250 ethnic groups are dominated by just three: the Arriba,
the Ebu, and the Howzer who control the army. Since independence from
Britain, a succession of Nigerian dictators have been sustained by
oil, 50% of which is produced by Shell.This oil accounts for 14% ofShell’s
global profits, and provides the military regime with eleven million
dollars a day in oil revenue. However, most of the people are living
Great Ogoni, land of honor. Great Ogoni, land of wealth…even
when I was young, I could see that nothing was coming to the Ogoni
people from oil, and I started writing about it almost immediately
even though I was only a high school student at the time. What you
see behind us is something that the Ogoni people have had to live
with all their lives. This spill has been going on for the last 6
This is my entire farm. I have nowhere else I can grow food. The problem
of spillage is common here in Tai, Gokana and Khana. This is how Shell
has treated everyone here. In a fifteen-year period, official figures:
an average of 4 oil spills per week on the delta.
What we are walking on is crude oil, not soil. This land is lost forever.
For the next 1000 years, nothing will be able to grow here.
Martha Naakuu, Kogbara Doro Village
Shell has taken away our village We have nothing in the farms anymore
and they don’t pay us. All our yams are gone, we are hungry. Whatever
we plant does not yield.
In Ogoni we have a leadership in the person of Ken Saro-Wiwa who motivated
the people with organizations like MOSOP, that was the first of its
kind in that part of the world. Grassroots democracy trying to mobilize
all segments of the people.
In early 1993, the movement became fully mobilized with 300,000 people
taking part in peaceful marches in all six kingdoms.
Who will deliver us from trouble? Ken and MOSOP will deliver us from
trouble.We give you (Ken Saro-Wiwa) this broom to sweep away Shell and
every obstacle in your path.
The United Nations recognizes the rights of all the world’s
indigenous people. Indigenouspeople have been cheated too long, and
so we are gathered here today. (crowd roars, drums)
Crowd and Ken Saro-Wiwa
No to Shell! No to Shell! No to Shell!
(crowd cheering) We are going to demand our rights, peacefully, non-violently,
and we shall win!
For the first time, peaceful protest forced Shell out of the area.
A tiny ethnic group had defied the largest army in Africa and one
of the biggest companies in the world. Widespread rioting broke out
across Nigeria during the summer of 1993 when a promise of a return
to civilian rule was broken by the dictator, Babangita. He announced
a crackdown on all pro-democracy activists, including the Ogonis.
Ogoni was surrounded, villages were blocked in by military checkpoints
and attacked. Over 800 people were slaughtered.
We shall win. (cheers)
Danu Mark, Kaa Village
Everything was destroyed. My home was burned to the ground. The Ogoni
had no quarrel with the Andoni. This was all planned by the government.
In the autumn of 1993, there were further brutal attacks on ten Ogoni
villages which resulted in the deaths of 750 people, and left 30,000
The machine gun with 500 rounds will open up. When four or five open
up and we're throwing a grenade into the bush and it goes boom, what
do they see? They know I’m around! And what will the people do?
I do not know anymore how many Ogoni will be left behind by the time
the ecological war of Shell and the military obscenities are over, but
even if there is but one Ogoni man or woman left, I have a message for
him or her. You are Ogoni. Be aware of the need to protect our first
right: the Ogoni environment.
The time had come to silence this eloquent and outspoken critic. Exactly
three weeks later, Abacha’s henchmen seized Saro-Wiwa. Four prominent
Ogoni chiefs had been murdered in an alleged mob riot and burned to
death in this car. One victim was a relative of Saro-Wiwa. The military
accused Saro-Wiwa of inciting the attack even though security agents
had prevented him from entering Ogoniland earlier that day. Ken Saro-Wiwa
and fourteen colleagues were held without charge for nine months in
a military camp under appalling conditions. Even so, he managed to smuggle
out a speech for Ogoni Day which was celebrated against all odds.
Ken Saro-Wiwa’s speech read:
My brothers and sisters, my beloved children, dance, dance. Dance this
4th of January, 1995 as we inaugurate the United Nations' Decade of
the World’s Indigenous People. Dance your anger and your joys.
Dance the military guns to silence. Dance their dumb laws to the dump.
Dance oppression and injustice. Dance the end of Shell’s ecological
war of 30 years. (Crowd cheers.) Dance my people, for we have seen tomorrow
and there is an Ogoni star in the sky. (Crowd roars!)
The trial finally began in February of 1995.
Michael Birnbaum, QC, (Observer for the British Bar Assoc.)
What the Nigerian government did, quite cynically in my view, was to
take this trial away from the ordinary Nigerian courts and put it in
front of a so-called civil disturbances tribunal consisting of two judges
and a military officer. Those three people were personally appointed
by the dictator of Nigeria, Abacha.
As a lawyer, Mitee attempted to defend himself, but was continually
blocked by the tribunal.
Those are opportunities for explanation, so I feel that…
At this stage of the proceeding you cannot do so. (Mitee sits down)
A number of the main witnesses for the prosecution have admitted to
being bribed to discredit Saro-Wiwa.
Charles Charles Danwi (February 14, 1995)
I was promised a house anywhere in the country, a contract from Shell
and OMOADEC, and money to buy musical instruments.
Ken’s stance in relation to the tribunal was that it was a farce,
it was all a fix, so he is not going to give evidence. Ken wanted to
put in before the tribunal a long forty page statement of denial of
his guilt. The tribunal said, “ We’re not going to look
at that if you’re not giving evidence.”
Despite Shell’s efforts, during the summer protests intensified.
It was at this time that the head of Shell Nigeria, Ben Anderson, held
private meetings with Owens Wiwa in Lagos.
And I asked him again about my brother and the other detainees for their
freedom. He said that he needed some goodwill from the Ogoni people,
from MOSOP, for that to happen. So I asked him, “ What was the
goodwill?” He said I should write a press release on the MOSOP
letterhead, get it published in a Nigerian newspaper, and give him the
original. And the press release should say that’s there no environmental
devastation in Ogoniland. Secondly, he asked that we call off the international
campaign that was going on.
Dr. Wiwa says he passed on this offer to Ken Saro-Wiwa who wrote back
that it was time for Shell to show goodwill rather than the Ogoni. Before
judgement was passed, in his last public statement, Ken made a final
appeal for the people of the Niger Delta.
There’s no possibility whatsoever that I or MOSOP would ever have
planned any such action. And I will now forever vow it, no matter what
any forum decides upon. I appeal to you, my lord, for only one thing.
The Ogoni people have suffered tremendously in this country. They have
made tremendous contributions to this country. The Niger itself is in
serous trouble. We need every assistance we can get.
On the 31st of October, the Ogoni Nine were found guilty and sentenced
to death. Despite worldwide appeals for clemency, on November the 10th,
1995, Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogonis were taken to Port Harcourt
Prison and hanged by the neck. (Condemned shown getting into prison
bus.) Governments around the world discussed sanctions against Nigeria,
but five days after the hangings, Shell announced their commitment to
their liquefied natural gas project, the largest development in Africa.
The project has gone ahead, and it is intended that the pipeline will
pass through Ogoni. Known as the Ogoni Nineteen, a further group of
young men has also been charged with the 1994 murders.
Ken Wiwa, son of Ken Saro-Wiwa (Ogoni Day, UK at Shell Center)
I urge all of you here to keep the pressure on Shell to accept the responsibility
for what has happened to Ogoni and what is still happening. (singing
of protesters with signs: SHELL IS GUILTY)
The thing that always gladdens one’s heart is the spirit, the
irrepressible spirit of the Ogoni people to continue to believe in this
struggle in spite of all odds. And that is the thing that drives all
of us on
(1941-1995) speech (rolling credits with singing about Ogoni and Ken