Amnesty International has claimed that for alleged involvement in incidents of murder and rape that had taken place about more than two decades ago that took place on the oil-rich Niger River delta, the oil giant Shell should be held complacent and needs to face investigations in three different countries because the company had worked together with the Nigerian government which had orchestrated the abuses.
In its report that it published on Tuesday, the London-based human-rights group said that specifically with respect to Shell’s involvement in the Ogoni area of the southern delta, governments in Nigeria, the Netherlands and UK should examine the role of Shell and its conduct.
The human rights agency said that criminal infractions was what the violations of the Europe’s largest energy company amounted to and for that reason the company should face prosecution. The allegations “are without merit”, Shell said.
“The evidence we have reviewed shows that Shell repeatedly encouraged the Nigerian military to deal with community protests, even when it knew the horrors this would lead to — unlawful killings, rape, torture, the burning of villages,” Audrey Gaughran, director of Global Issues at Amnesty International, said in a statement. Shell “even provided the military with material support, including transport, and in at least one instance paid a military commander notorious for human rights violations,” she said.
Crude oil is the largest export item for Africa and is also the main source of revenues and a joint venture with the government a joint venture with the government is run by Shell which is also the oldest energy company within Africa’s biggest oil producer. The joint venture drills out more than a third of the nation’s crude.
In Nigeria in the 1990s, the then government in power had unleased an oppressive mission with the help of the military against members of the Ogoni ethnic minority who had engaged in protests against Shell for allegedly causing rampant and widespread environmental deprivation and pollution. In an execution that took place in 1995, the writer Ken Saro-Wiwav was among the nine ethnic-minority activists who were killed by the then government.
Shell “did not collude with the authorities to suppress community unrest and in no way encouraged or advocated any act of violence in Nigeria,” the company’s Nigerian unit said in a statement. “We believe that the evidence will show clearly that Shell was not responsible for these tragic events.”
(Adapted from Independent.co.uk)