On February 22, 1895, a naval force laid siege to Brass, the chief city of the Ijo people of Nembe in Nigeria’s Niger Delta. After severe fighting, the city was razed. More than two thousand people perished in the attack.
A hundred years later, the world was shocked by the murder of Ken Saro-Wiwa—writer, political activist, and leader of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People. Again the people of Nembe were locked in a grim life-and-death struggle to safeguard their livelihood from two forces: a series of corrupt and repressive Nigerian governments and the giant multinational Royal Dutch Shell.
Ike Okonta and Oronto Douglas present a devastating case against the world’s largest oil company, demonstrating how (in contrast to Shell’s public profile) irresponsible practices have degraded agricultural land and left a people destitute. The plunder of the Niger Delta has turned full circle as crude oil has taken the place of palm oil, but the dramatis personae remain the same: a powerful multinational company bent on extracting the last drop of blood from the richly endowed Niger Delta, and a courageous people determined to resist.