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Shell settles Nigeria lawsuit

June 09, 2009|Times Wire Reports

Royal Dutch Shell agreed to a $15.5-million settlement to end a lawsuit alleging that the oil giant was complicit in the executions of activist Ken Saro-Wiwa and other civilians by Nigeria's former military regime.

Shell, which continues to operate in Nigeria, said it agreed to settle the lawsuit in hopes of aiding the "process of reconciliation." But the oil company acknowledged no wrongdoing in the 1995 hanging deaths of six people, including poet Saro-Wiwa.

The lawsuit in U.S. District Court in New York contended that Shell colluded with Nigeria's former military government to silence environmental and human rights activists.

Besides compensating the families, the money will pay for years of legal fees. About a third of the settlement will create a trust to invest in social programs in the country.

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