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From Platform London in Britain:
Oil companies gave cash and contracts to militants and warlords in Nigeria.
Aug 26, 2012 • 10:04 pm • by ben
Shell and Chevron have funded armed militant groups in the volatile Niger Delta region of Nigeria since at least 2003, according to oil-industry sources and US embassy cables. Both oil companies have also paid ‘protection’ money to other hostile groups for decades.
Platform’s new briefing, as reported in today’s Daily Mail, is called Fuelling the Violence: Oil Companies and Armed Militancy in Nigeria. It details how oil company payments have had a serious impact on human rights and stability in the region, where an estimated 1,000 people died annually in the conflict.
The revelations follow 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. It builds on Platform’s 2012 briefing, Dirty Work, which exposed the vast scale of Shell’s security spending and its devastating impact on human rights.
Key findings include:
A Shell manager admits giving ‘special surveillance’ contracts to militant groups in 2011, in an attempt to incorporate them into the company security arrangements. These contracts have effectively rewarded violence.
Chevron developed a close working relationship with Government Tompolo, commander of MEND, one of the main militant groups in the Delta. Chevron rented houseboats from Tompolo’s company, and routinely made calls and sent text messages to Tompolo’s army of MEND militants.
Shell and Chevron have provided funding for militant groups in the Delta. Both companies reportedly paid $300 per month to individual armed militants in Warri in 2003, enough to provide weapons and supplies for several weeks. An estimated 500 people were subsequently killed in the Warri conflict.
UK government documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act suggest that despite repeated promises, Shell continued making harmful payments to pacify armed groups. In 2004, Shell inadvertently informed the Foreign Office that it had made very little progress in implementing its policies on “no cash payments” and “no ghost workers”.
These corporate practices have fuelled conflict and had a devastating impact on human rights. Leaked Shell data suggests that in 2009 alone, the company spent $75 million on ‘Other’ unexplained security expenditures – a vast infusion of cash into the Delta conflict. According to independent analysts, the distribution of cash and contracts by oil companies has contributed to “the killing and displacement of thousands of local people” in communal and ethnic conflicts.
Chevron fined $17.5 million over oil spill in Brazil: here.
Nigeria’s agony dwarfs the Gulf oil spill. The US and Europe ignore it: here.
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- Shell to face litigation over oil spills in Nigeria – Amnesty In’tl (vanguardngr.com)