Media Release

One year after Ken Saro-Wiwa's Execution: Canada Still Importing Nigerian Oil

Ottawa - November 8, 1996: Greenpeace Canada, Sierra Club of Canada, OPIRG-Carleton and other groups will hold a vigil on Parliament Hill, Ottawa on Sunday, November 10, 1996 to mark one year since Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogoni activists were executed by the Nigerian military. The vigil is scheduled to take place at 6:00 p.m.

Organizers of the vigil are calling on the federal government to take decisive action on continuing environmental and human rights abuses in Nigeria by placing an embargo on oil imported into Canada from that country. Canadian oil companies indicated in 1995, that they were awaiting leadership from the government on the issue of Nigerian oil imports.

In a recent letter to Lloyd Axworthy, Jeanne Moffat, Executive Director of Greenpeace Canada urged the Canadian government to take such leadership. "This kind of action on or before the anniversary of the execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa and the eight other Ogonis would be a strong Canadian signal to the world that Canada does not tolerate these kinds of abuses, both environmental and human, that are being perpetrated on people in Nigeria", said Moffat.

Elizabeth May, Executive Director of the Sierra Club of Canada noted that "In spite of condemnation from the Canadian government and others, the Nigerian military continues to imprison those who advocate human and environmental rights. Given the impending trial of the political prisoners known as the "Ogoni 19", it is imperative that the Canadian government send the regime a strong message."

May, also noted that, "Royal-Dutch Shell is Nigeria's largest oil producer and the company cited by Ken Saro-Wiwa and others as both a principle source of environmental degradation in Ogoniland and a collaborator with Nigeria's military regime. Shell Canada, which is controlled by Royal-Dutch Shell, has a moral obligation to ensure that their parent company, behaves in an ethically appropriate fashion."

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For more information:

Greenpeace Canada 613-234-8900
Sierra Club of Canada 613-241-4611