Monday, December 13, 2010


Had enough yet? Put Shell in Jail. Lock em up, throw away the keys, turn out the lights, and say good night.


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Nnimmo Bassey, executive director of Environmental Rights Action (ERA) Photo:NEXT

Activists demand prosecution of Shell over Wikileaks revelations

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Environmental activists have urged the Nigerian government to begin criminal prosecution of executives of oil giant, Shell, for alleged treasonable activities committed by the corporation as revealed by an online whistleblower, WikiLeaks.
In the released cables of US diplomats in Nigeria, WikiLeaks revealed that Shell’s vice president Ann Pickard admitted to a former US envoy to Nigeria that its employees were seconded to all the relevant ministries and agencies of the Nigerian government and thanks to the infiltration, the company was able to keep a tab on all governmental policies and deliberations.
But the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) said the revelation has shown that rather than operate as a company, the oil-giant had become “a pseudo-political organization bent on taking political power and undermining our national interest, national security and our sovereignty.” The group, in a statement, issued yesterday, said Shell had gone beyond merely doing business in Nigeria but had “perfected its despicable act of corporate rule through which it has over the years evaded justice for all its atrocious activities against the environment and the Niger Delta People.”
Quoting statements credited to Ms. Pickard that the oil company knew “everything that was being done in those ministries” as the Nigerian government had “forgotten” about the extent of Shell’s infiltration and unaware of how much the company knew about its deliberations, the activists claimed that it had finally “been vindicated!”, noting that it raised alarm several years back about “Shell’s surreptitious attempt to assume full control of our national systems.”
The group noted that Shell was not only in the drivers’ seat of the oil fields of the Niger Delta but also in government policy-making meetings where it consistently instigated policy sommersaults with the Petroleum Industry Bill and other far-reaching laws that would guarantee transparency and accountability which it did not want.
“With these leaks, it is time for the Nigerian government to reclaim our sovereignty from Shell and restore dignity to the Niger Delta people by forcing Shell to stop gas flaring, reckless oil leaks and total disregard of the environment,” ERA/FoEN Executive Director, Nnimmo Bassey, said.
The group said that when Diezani Alison-Madueke, a former employee of Shell was appointed minister for petroleum, “we warned that it was a tactless surrender of Nigeria’s oil industry to Shell. We told Nigerians that there is irreconcilable conflict of interest in her appointment because the minister has never for once hidden her true identity as a protégé of Shell.”
Damaging cancer
The group also called on the Nigerian government to begin an immediate “investigation to identify those Shell agents planted in ministries and government agencies and flush them out of the system.” According to the group’s programme director, Godwon Uyi Ojo, “Shell has become a cancer that is damaging every organ of the Nigerian polity. No wonder Shell has been able to evade justice for ecological devastation, complicity in cases of human rights violation and other atrocities linked to its operations in the Niger Delta.”
Secret dispatches from Washington’s embassies in Africa also revealed that Shell swapped intelligence with the US, in one case providing US diplomats with the names of Nigerian politicians it suspected of supporting militant activity, and requesting information from the US on whether the militants had acquired anti-aircraft missiles.
Mr. Bassey pointed out that with these leaks, “we have been validated by our publication in 1993 that Niger Delta people have been trapped between a vicious global corporation and a visionless government.”

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