(1941 - 1995)
Called the “Nigerian Mark Twain” by one biographer, Ken Saro-Wiwa—president of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People, an environmental activist, and creator of one of the most-watched sitcoms in Africa—was convicted of murdering four political rivals in 1995. Two months later Saro-Wiwa and eight others were executed by hanging. The executioners did not succeed in killing Saro-Wiwa until the fifth try; his last words were reported as “Lord take my soul, but the struggle continues.” Many witnesses later recanted their testimony or admitted to being bribed. In 2009 Shell agreed to a $15.5 million settlement in a lawsuit alleging that the oil company had collaborated in the case against the nine activists.