“I still feel pain in my heart that my husband was killed, and I need justice for him, and my people.”
Dear John and friends,
These are the words of Esther Kiobel, a Nigerian woman taking on one of the world’s biggest oil companies – Shell – in a final fight for justice. She has pursued them for more than 20 years, accusing Shell of colluding in her husband’s killing.
Shell’s quest for oil has devastated the once fertile land in the Niger Delta. Decades of oil spills have ravaged farmland and rivers, contaminated water, put people’s health at grave risk and left communities destitute. In response, one of those communities, the Ogoni people, launched a protest movement in the 1990s that government security forces took every opportunity to crush. Shell urged the government to deal with these protests, even after it knew that serious abuses were taking place.
The military killed and tortured people in a brutal crackdown that culminated in the 1995 sham trial and hanging of nine Nigerian men, including Esther’s husband, Dr Barinem Kiobel.
22 years later, Esther is taking Shell to court to get justice for her husband’s killing.
The killing of the Ogoni 9, as they later became known, prompted a global outcry. Amnesty International called on our vast network of supporters to deluge the Nigerian authorities first with appeals for the men’s freedom, and later with letters of outrage.
Ultimately, it is Esther who has endured repeated hardship in her fight for justice.Losing her husband tore Esther’s world apart. Fearing for her life, she fled Nigeria with her children. But she never stopped struggling to have her husband’s name cleared.
Esther vs Shell will be a tense David vs Goliath face-off. Shell has done everything it can to keep her complaints out of the public eye. But Esther won’t let them make her feel small. Neither should we.
Thank you standing with Esther in the courtroom as she fights to finally have justice for her husband’s killing.