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Q & A with famed litigant Esther Kiobel suing Shell for alleged complicity in the murder of her husband

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Q & A WITH ESTHER KIOBEL (The lead plaintiff in litigation by four Ogoni 9 widows currently suing Shell in the Dutch courts for alleged complicity in the murder of their husbands and other alleged crimes and abuses of human rights in Nigeria.)

1) Twenty-four years ago, your husband was one of the Ogoni nine executed by Abacha. How have you and the family been coping?

HMMMMMM! WE LIVE BY THE GRACE OF GOD THAT STRENGTHENS US.

2) What exactly was your husband’s offence?

MY HUSBAND’S OFFENSE WAS HIS REFUSAL TO BETRAY HIS PEOPLE IN AN EXECUTIVE MEETING AT GOVERNMENT HOUSE. THEY SAID ON FALSE CHARGES THAT HE, MITEE, AND KEN SARO WIWA CONSPIRED TO KILL THE FOUR PROMINENT OGONIS WHO WERE HAVING MEETING AT GIOKOO. JUST FALSE ALLEGATION TO GET THEM KILLED FOR NO JUST CAUSE.

3) Records have it that the Ogoni nine were arrested and detained at the military barracks in Port Harcourt. what were your experiences during those detention months?

THE MILITARY IN COLLABORATION WITH SHELL PETROLEUM KILLED, ACIDIZED AND HUMANIZED MY INNOCENT HUSBAND IN AN OFFENSE HE HAS NEVER COMMITED AND WAS INNOCENT OF ( FALSE CHARGES). MY FAMILY AND I WENT THROUGH TORTURE, ASSAULT, ABUSE, INSULT, DETENTION, HARASSMENT, AND WE WERE HIGHLY TRAUMATIZED.

4) What steps have you taken to get justice for your slain husband?

WE ARE STILL IN COURT FOR THAT AND WE TRUST GOD WILL GIVE US JUSTICE THROUGH THE JUDGES THAT ARE HANDLING THE CASE.

5) What is your demand from the Nigerian Government that executed your husband?

MY DEMAND FROM NIGERIAN GOVERNMENT IS TO EXONERATE MY LATE HUSBAND KILLED ON FALSE CHARGES HE NEVER COMMITTED, BUT KILLED FALSELY

6) Any other facts you want to add?

AT THE DAY OF THE OGONI INCIDENCE, MAY 22ND, 1994, JOHN BARIKA CAME AND TOLD MY HUSBAND AT KPOR, WHERE HE WAS AT A COMMUNITY MEETING WITH HIS PEOPLE, OF THE NEWS OF THE INCIDENCE AND THAT THERE WAS RIOT AT GIOKO. HE DECIDED TO GO TO THE BORI POLICE STATION TO SEEK FOR HELP. THE MOBILE POLICE OFFICERS REFUSED TO GO WITH HIM BUT RATHER PLEADED WITH HIM TO USE HIS POSITION AS A STATE COMMISSIONER TO GO AND CALM HIS PEOPLE. THE LATE KING BAGIA, THE GBEREMENE OF GOKANA, WAS AT GIOKIO AT HIS PALACE AT THE TIME OF MY HUSBAND’S  ARRIVAL. THE KING  CAME TO THE KANGAROO TRIBUNAL TO TESTIFY THAT MY HUSBAND WAS INNOCENT. THE MOBILE OFFICER WHO TOLD HIM TO GO AND CALM HIS PEOPLE ALSO CAME AND TESTIFY BUT ALL TO NO AVAIL.

ON THAT FATEFUL DAY, THE GOVERNOR OF RIVERS STATE, KOMO, DECEIVED MY HUSBAND TO GO TO NAVAL BASE FOR SAFETY UNDER THE PRETEST THAT THE KILLERS WILL ALSO COME AFTER HIM. MY HUSBAND OBEYED THE ORDER ONLY TO DISCOVER, TO OUR GREATEST SURPRISE, WHEN THE CASE WAS FILED, THAT HE WAS BEING CHARGED ALONGSIDE OTHERS.

7. Your advice to Humanity.

MY ADVICE TO HUMANITY IS TO NEVER, EVER GIVE UP IN WHAT YOU STAND FOR AND NOT TO COMPROMISE IN ANYWAY WITH THOSE WHO ARE DESPERATELY WICKED.  FOR GOD WILL ALWAYS SEE US THROUGH IN TROUBLE TIMES FOR NO MATTER WHAT, THERE IS HOPE AT THE END OF TORMENT

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