Environmental devastation | Nigeria

Nigerian victims of Shell granted UK supreme court hearing

24 July 2019 For over thirty years, Nigerian Delta communities have suffered from oil spills from pipelines and equipment owned by the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC), a subsidiary of the UK-Netherlands based Royal Dutch Shell. Activists had long been frustrated by legal technicalities making it virtually impossible to hold the multinational to…

1900-1919 | Burning towns and cities | Burning villages | Collective punishments | Nigeria | Punitive operations

Reuters – ’15 towns and villages destroyed’ in Nigeria

[ 30 December 1903 ] On 30 December 1903, a Liverpool Reuters correspondent telegraphed the news, arrived by ship from Nigeria, that ‘about fifteen towns and villages’ had been ‘destroyed’ during a two month long British punitive expedition in the south eastern Niger Delta region. The pretext had been the alleged ‘interference with peaceful trade by certain…

1860-1899 | Burning towns and cities | Looting and plunder | Nigeria

The ancient city of Benin looted and burned

[ 18 February 1897 ] On 18 February 1897, a punitive expedition of 1,200 Royal Marines, bluejackets and African troops, under the command of Rear Admiral Harry Rawson seized the ancient city of Benin. Situated amid dense rain forest some 200 miles east of Lagos, it was the capital of the kingdom of Benin, rich…

1800-1859 | Civilians slaughtered | Nigeria

Royal Navy destroys Lagos – ‘an immense number of natives being killed’

26 December 1851 On 26 December 1851, British naval vessels began a two day bombardment of the coastal town of Lagos on the west coast of Africa. An account of the assault from Her Majesty’s frigate Sampson, cited in The Times and several other newspapers, boasted of the ‘almost total destruction of the town,’ resulting in…

1960-1969 | Backing dictatorships | Nigeria

Minister – backing Nigeria’s assault on Biafra will benefit B.P. and Shell

4 December 1967 On 4 December 1967, Commonwealth Minister George Thomas urged Denis Healey, the Defence Secretary, to step up Britain’s military aid to Nigeria’s Federal Military Government. Five months earlier, Nigeria’s generals had launched a full scale invasion against the province of Biafra, which had dared to assert its right of self-determination. Over the…

1860-1899 | Burning villages | Collective punishments | Nigeria | Punitive operations

African villages shelled, machine gunned and burned to the ground

16 November 1882 Shortly after dawn on 16 November 1882,  the gunboat HMS Flint shelled, rocketed and opened up with its Gatling gun on the village of Abari on the Forcados river, a navigable channel of the Niger Delta. A report carried in at least two British newspapers noted that the bombardment was maintained ‘for…

1960-1969 | Arms exports | Backing dictatorships | Nigeria | Uncategorized

Newspaper reveals UK supplying Nigerian Junta with fast patrol boats

17 August 1967 Today in 1967, the Birmingham Post revealed that, despite Britain’s commitment to neutrality in the war between Nigeria’s military junta and the secessionist state of Biafra, and despite the government’s claim that it would only provide the generals with military equipment which was defensive in nature, two British built fast seaward class patrol boats…

1960-1969 | Arms exports | Backing repressive regimes | Nigeria

Minister – oil means we must back Nigeria’s junta against Biafra

8 August 1967 Today in 1967, the Commonwealth Minister George Thomas submitted a confidential memo to Prime Minister Harold Wilson reminding him that Shell-BP, then partly owned by the British government, ‘have much to lose if the F.M.G. (Nigeria’s Federal Military Government) do not achieve the expected victory’ against Biafra, which had declared independence after…

1960-1969 | Arms exports | Backing repressive regimes | Nigeria

Memo – We want to help Nigeria’s junta ‘any way we can’

7 July 1967 On 7 July 1967, the British government decided to explain apologetically to Major-General Yakubu ‘Jack’ Gowon, the leader of Nigeria’s military junta, that although it strongly sympathised with his efforts to crush any attempt by the persecuted Igbo population of Biafra to secede as an independent state, it would be diplomatically awkward…

1960-1969 | Arms exports | Backing repressive regimes | Nigeria

Harold Wilson lies to cover up British complicity in Biafran war crimes

27 March 1969 On 27 March 1969, Prime Minister Harold Wilson lied in a press interview, to cover up the huge scale of British arms exports to the Federal Military Government (FMG) of Nigeria, which was waging a war of genocide against the secessionist state of Biafra causing over two million deaths from famine. The…