Fighting for people over profits
Leaked US cables show that Shell Oil has been paying tens of millions of dollars to militants in Nigeria, which have been used to buy weapons and fight government forces that often are also on Shell’s payroll. In one particularly egregious practice, Shell forked over cash to whichever faction controlled the town of Rumuekpe. The ensuing conflict led to the destruction of the town, killing over sixty people.
Across the delta, thousands of Nigerians have been killed or displaced, and with Shell pumping in tens of millions of dollars to both sides each year, there is no end to the conflict in sight. Shell has to protect its Nigerian staff and facilities, but Shell cannot do so at the expense of innocent lives.
A recent report by our friends at Platform, a UK-based nonprofit fighting for social and ecological justice, has shed light on some of Shell’s most secret payments. According to Celestine Nkabari, of the Niger group Social Action, “This proves what we in the Niger Delta have known for years – that the air force, the army, the police, they are paid for with Shell money and they are all at the disposal of the company for it to use it any [way] it likes.”
Shell needs to reign in rampant human rights violations by soldiers — both Nigerian military and private groups like Blackwater — on its payroll, and have a full accounting of all payments. The company simply cannot turn a blind eye while its money fuels a deadly insurgency.
Tell Shell to stop fueling the Niger Delta conflict.