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Date: 2024-02-28 Page is: DBtxt003.php txt00003042

Country ... Nigeria
Oil ... Pollution ... Human Rights ... etc

Platform reports ... Data leak reveals Shell’s deep financial links to human rights abusers in Nigeria.

COMMENTARY
I have been involved with business and socio-economic development in West Africa since the 1970s. I recall that US President Clinton visited Abuja in Nigeria in the 1990s bringing a check (cheque) for $100 million which was 'to help fund the Nigerian involvement with the ECOWAS engagement in Sierra Leone/Liberia. Two weeks later I learned that the Nigerian military deployed on a much larger scale into the oil rich Niger Delta where international oil assets were located.

I have no proof that would satisfy a court ... but I certainly find the connection from 'connecting the dots' very convincing.

I am really disgusted with the business ethics of the global energy industry ... and in Nigeria it is one of the root causes of the terrible state of Nigeria. Nigerians deserve better.

Peter Burgess @truevaluemetric
Peter Burgess

Data leak reveals Shell’s deep financial links to human rights abusers in Nigeria.

Shell spent at least $383 million on security in Nigeria between 2007 and 2009, according to company data leaked to oil watchdog Platform.[1] Shell’s leaked data is analysed in a new Platform briefing, Dirty Work: Shell’s security spending in Nigeria and beyond, which shows that a substantial amount of Shell’s security spending went into the hands of known human rights abusers in the volatile Niger Delta region.[2] The briefing, as reported in the Guardian today, reveals the extent of Shell’s financial support for Nigerian government forces and other armed groups during a period of intense conflict in the Delta. It follows Platform’s 2011 report, Counting the Cost, which showed how Shell’s reliance on government forces in Nigeria and its routine payments to armed militant groups had exacerbated specific cases of human rights abuse. The new briefing confirms the vast scale of Shell’s security expenditure and its devastating consequences. Key findings include:

  • Shell spent over $1 billion on global security between 2007 to 2009. At least $383 million of that was spent in Nigeria, or 40% of Shell’s total expenditure.
  • In 2009, Shell’s financial support for government forces in Nigeria, including the notorious ‘kill and go’ police, reached an estimated $65 million.
  • Shell executives appear to have turned a blind eye to unexplained security expenditure of $75 million in Nigeria in 2009.
  • During the period, Shell’s security spending fuelled conflict and enabled systematic human rights abuses by government forces and armed militants.[3]
Platform’s briefing raises major questions about Shell’s security policies and procedures. It recommends that Shell publish the details of any payments it makes to the Nigerian government, police and armed forces. Shell should stop making payments to government forces, local contractors and community groups where there is a signaficant risk that those payments will fuel human rights abuses. It should also avoid using private military and security contractors who are known to exacerbate conflict.

Similar recommendations apply to other companies operating in Nigeria such as Chevron, Eni/Agip, ExxonMobil and their contractors.

Platform’s Ben Amunwa said: ”Apart from its enormous size, what is striking about Shell’s security spending is how little security it actually created. Shell paid many millions of dollars to government forces with a track record for corruption and creating instability across Nigeria. Shell appear to have spent even larger sums on pacifying militant groups, a practice that has worsened the violence. While primary responsibility for human rights abuses lies with the Nigerian government and other perpetrators, Shell bears a heavy responsibility for the devastating social impacts of its security spending.[4] “Shell’s security spending in Nigeria is a colossal failure of due diligence.

Instead of spending vast sums on harmful security practices, Shell should address the root causes of the conflict by cleaning up decades of oil spills, ending gas flaring, adequately compensating the victims of human rights abuses and insisting that government forces and other perpetrators are held accountable for violations.” Andy Rowell of Spin Watch said: “Soldiers, militants and mercenaries have all benefitted from Shell’s spending, whilst impoverished local residents have been routinely killed, tortured or displaced.

Shell bears a significant responsibility for its active contribution to human rights violations and must stop its routine security payments. It must also overhaul its contracting and community engagement procedures and clean up its mess in Nigeria.”

NOTES:

  1. [1] The data orignates from Shell’s security department and was leaked to Platform by an ex-Shell manager. Download the data here.
  2. [2] Dirty Work is available to download here. It was created with the aid of Platform’s online timeline of the US embassy cables on oil conflict in Nigeria.
  3. [3] Some examples of state killings and communal conflicts fuelled by Shell include Uzere (2011), Gbaramatu (2009), Rumuekpe (2005-2008), Joinkrama 4 (2007-2010), Oru Sangama (2004), Dere (2009-2010), Odioma (2005), and Warri (2003).
  4. [4] Shell is currently trying to persuade the US Supreme Court not to hold corporations accountable for human rights violations overseas, (see Too Big to Punish). The Kiobel v Shell lawsuit accuses the company of aiding and abetting crimes against humanity and other human rights abuses committed by Nigerian military troops against the Ogoni people of the Niger Delta during the 1990s.
For more recent cases of corporate complicity in human rights abuse, see Platform’s Counting the Cost report (2011).

Related content: BREAKING: Shell to face grilling from Nigerian House of Reps over human rights abuses Hold Shell accountable for human rights abuses in Nigeria Shell is abusing human rights in Nigeria. But who can stop them? Associated Categories: Places: Nigeria Players: Chevron, Eni, ExxonMobil, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Shell Issues: Human Rights, Law, Militarisation, Oil, Policy, Repression, Resource Wars Tags: data, finance, leak, niger delta, security spending 2 Comments


Aug 20, 2012 | Smooth | Reply I thought Shell paid to keep its facilities and staff secure from the threat of sabotage and kidnapping. Shell in the Niger Delta is owned 55% by the government, and they protect their investment by insisting on armed escorts for the movement of staff, and then armed security for the facilities.
Aug 20, 2012 | BEN | Reply @Smooth Perhaps you did not notice, but one of the striking things about Shell’s security spending is how little security it created: for the company, its employees and local residents during the period 2007 – 2009. In the briefing, a current Shell manager acknowledges this. The Shell manager Platform interviewed expressed profound disappointment with the misconduct of government forces and serious discomfort at the vast financial support Shell provides to them. The argument that Nigeria is a violent ‘external environment’ where Shell needs to protect itself from kidnap and sabotage by any means runs counter to the basic concept of corporate responsibility. Shell has played an active role in the conflict dynamics of the Delta. Its contracts and payments have had a devastating social impact and sparked numerous conflicts. The company’s own security consultants have said as much: see WAC Global in 2003, (or more recently, Watts, Curse of the Black Gold, 2008). The only real beneficiaries I can see of Shell’s security spending were corrupt and abusive government forces, militants and private military and security companies. Note that none of these groups had much of an interest in resolving the conflict. In this way, Shell has fuelled conflict and will continue to do so until it overhauls its conduct. Shell needs to respect for human rights, not just waffle on about Voluntary Principles.
Aug 21, 2012 | PETER BURGESS | Reply Your comment is awaiting moderation. I have been involved with business and socio-economic development in West Africa since the 1970s. I recall that US President Clinton visited Abuja in Nigeria in the 1990s bring a check (cheque) for $100 million which was ‘to help fund the Nigerian involvement with the ECOWAS engagement in Sierra Leone/Liberia. Two weeks later I learned that the Nigerian military deployed on a much larger scale into the oil rich Niger Delta where international oil assets were located. I have no proof that would satisfy a court … but I certainly find the connection from ‘connecting the dots’ very convincing. I am really disgusted with the business ethics of the global energy industry … and in Nigeria it is one of the root causes of the terrible state of Nigeria. Nigerians deserve better. Peter Burgess @truevaluemetric Leave a comment
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