The Saro-Wiwa Case


The people of Ogoniland were greatly impacted by the one hundred oil wells (ninety-six of them belonging to Shell).  The land experienced many oil leaks from the pipelines, and the people were left to live with the persistent flaring of gas. Journalist Joshua Hammer wrote, “Here was a place and a people utterly subservient to the production of oil. High pressured pipes snaked amid plots of yam and cassavas, past mud-brick huts, even through people’s yards; I watched as one woman climbed over a tangle of pipes to get to her front door.” (7) The people of Ogoniland relied heavily on their agriculture and fishing, so the destruction of land and wild life lead to many economic and health consequences. Shell made billions of dollars from these wells, while the people of Ogoni saw little to nothing except major environmental effects that lead to poverty, lack of schools, and many health problems because of the lack of hospitals. With the help of MOSOP and Ken Saro-Wiwa, the Ogoni people began to fight for their rights. MOSOP fought for the economic justice, human rights, and environmental justice by creating a Bill of Rights that help protect the Ogoni people from their explotation.

I believe that Shell should have been more involved in helping the Ogoni people and improving the bad living conditions for them in which they had originally created for them. When it comes to the case about Ken Saro-Wiwa, I understand their concerns in becoming involved within the case and the issues it would cause for them. But I think Shell has the social responsibility to help the issue knowing the things that went on and how corrupt the case was. They should have intervened in order to help them and the people that were unlawfully murdered.

Another interesting aspect to look at is the role of media in this case in terms of how it affected Shell and their customers. It had a negative affect in their sales, unlike the Nike case. The media created powerful and negative emotions within the gasoline-buying public. “Sales volumes at some German stations dropped by 50% during the week of the media coverage.” (3) I thought it was interesting to see that the media of Shell created such a powerful and negative reaction by the public which lead to a huge decrease in sales, while Nike who was also accused of similar issues of denying rights to people and creating harmful conditions, created a negative reputation, but did not impact them when it came to sales.

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This entry was posted in Cases (Real World), Equality, Ethics, Government, Society and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The Saro-Wiwa Case

  1. JWitty says:

    “I thought it was interesting to see that the media of Shell created such a powerful and negative reaction by the public which lead to a huge decrease in sales”

    Does this make anyone else think about BP? When news broke of BP’s alleged role in the oil spill people around the country flat out boycotted their services. For a long time I refused to get BP gas unless I absolutely had to. It’s interesting when society takes a unified stand against poor business practices. Cheers for mankind

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