Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Shell agrees to pay $15.5 million out of court to settle Nigerian death case

NEW YORK - Royal Dutch Shell agreed on June 8 to pay $15.5 million to settle a case accusing it of taking part in human rights abuses in the Niger Delta in the early 1990s.
The settlement came days before the delayed start of a trial in New York that was expected to reveal extensive details of Shell’s activities in the Niger Delta.
The announcement caps a protracted legal battle that began shortly after the death of the Nigerian activist Ken Saro-Wiwa in 1995. Saro-Wiwa, Shell’s most prominent critic at the time in Nigeria, was hanged by the country’s military regime after protesting the company’s environmental practices in his native Ogoni region.
Despite the settlement, Shell continued to deny any role in the death. It called the settlement a “humanitarian gesture” meant to compensate the plaintiffs, including Saro-Wiwa’s family, for their loss and to cover a portion of their legal fees and costs. Some of the money will go into an educational and social trust fund intended to benefit the Ogoni people.

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