On Novemeber 10th 1995 the Nigerian military junta executed Ken Saro-Wiwa, Barinen Klobel, John Kpuinen, Baribor Bera, Saturday Dobee, Felix Nuate, Nordu Eawo, Paul Levurah and Daniel Gbokoo in Port Harcourt Prison. The nine men had all been falsely convicted of murder by a kangaroo court prior to their executions. The real reason for the men's execution was their support for the Ogoni people and their battle for a greater level of autonomy in their homeland of the oil-rich Niger Delta.
The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People, of which Ken Soro-Wiwa was President, had a number of simple demands including:
* A greater level of autonomy for the Ogoni people
* An equitable distribution of the oil wealth generated from the Ogoni homeland
* An end to the environmental destruction caused by oil extraction
The non-violent campaign of the MOSOP brought Saro-Wiwa and his comrades into direct conflict with not only the Nigerian government but also with Shell. In his final statement prior to his execution Ken Sora-Wiwa - the poet, author and political activist - clearly spelt out who he believed was responsible for the ills that beset his country and his people.
'I repeat that we all stand before history. I and my colleagues are not the only ones on trial. Shell is on trial here, and it is as well that it is represented by counsel said to be holding a watching brief. The company has, indeed, ducked this particular trial, but its day will surely come and the lessons learned here may prove useful to it, for there is no doubt in my mind that the ecological war the company has waged in the delta will be called to question sooner than later and the crimes of that war be duly punished. The crime of the company's dirty wars against the Ogoni people will also be punished.
On November 10th, 2006 the Gardai used fists, boots and batons against non-violent protesters in Erris, Co Mayo. The reason behind this unprecedented use of violence? The Dublin government had decided that the 'oil road' to the site of Shell's proposed gas refinery must remain open at all costs and if that meant that men, women and children getting hurt - so be it. And the Dublin government thought and hoped that would be the end of it. But they were wrong.
The Corrib gas field is worth an estimated fifty billion euros and Corrib is unlikely to be the only Irish oil or gas field. As recently as October 10th, 2007 Tony O'Reilly's 'Provedence announced the discovery of a 'significant' oil discovery off the Hook head. A number of other explorations have also indicated substantial oil and gas reserves, most notably the Dunquin reserve off the coast of Kerry which is believed to contain hundreds of billions of euros worth of oil and gas. These reserves will prove vital to Ireland as the long predicted worldwide energy crisis begins.
The people of Ballinaboy and Rossport and the surrounding areas are asking people to join them in a day of protest at the site of Shell's proposed refinery on November 9th. eirigi is asking republicans, socialists and democrats to join that day of protest in defence of the right of the people of Ireland to benefit from their own natural resources. Assemble 8am, November 9th, Ballinaboy, Co Mayo.