Published: Wednesday 31 May 1995

It is a victory of sorts for activists in the oil-ricb Ogoni region of southeast Nigeria who have been fighting a long-sustained battle against oil giant Shell Petroleum. They claim that Shell has ruined the environment by peppering the land with wells and smoky refineries. Their leader and the founder of tSe Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People, Ken Saro-Wiwa, was awarded the prestigious Goldman Prize from the Goldman Environmental Foundation on April 22, Earth Day. Ironically, Saro-Wiwa is now behind bars, castigated by the hostile military regime in Nigeria as a "dangerous criminal" out to sabotage what they call the nation's most important cash cow - the oil industry.

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