House To Question Shell for Alleged Role in Niger Delta Killings

Oct 6, 2011 – House To Question Shell for Alleged Role in Niger Delta Killings

The Dutch oil giant, Shell, is to face a House of Representative inquiry after a new report released this week indicted the it for fuelling killings in the oil rich Niger Delta.

The report, published on Monday, by London-based oil and gas industry watchdog, Platform, accused Shell of escalating armed conflicts in the region resulting in the killing of about 60 persons.

The Platform said, among other charges, that Shell paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and contract deals to feuding militant groups; as well as government security agents that attacked, and killed many in the region.

The allegations came barely a month after a United Nations-sponsored study accused Shell of being responsible for serious environmental damage of the Ogoni area of the Niger Delta.

In the report, submitted to President Goodluck Jonathan in August, the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), said years of detailed and scientific studies and analysis showed that the soil and water in the area had been severely contaminated from years of oil activities by Shell.

The Platform report, published by UK-based The Guardian Newspaper this week, revealed how Shell’s routine payments to gangs exacerbated local violence, in one case leading to the deaths of 60 people and the destruction of an entire town.

According to the report, Shell has denied the allegations, defending its human rights record. It however promised to study the reports’ recommendations, the report said.

The report has once more put on the spotlight, the company’s human rights records which for decades have been called to question repeatedly.

The House of Representatives, on Wednesday, said the allegations were “too weighty to be overlooked” for a region that has witnessed peak violence in recent years, resulting in low government oil earnings.

“The House is worried that Shell has often been accused of doing little to develop the communities they have operated in; and the House is disturbed that the company has often times been accused of directly funding rival groups in those areas,” the sponsor of the motion, Andrew Uchendu,(PDP, Rivers State) said.

The House mandated its petroleum committee to get the oil company to explain its role before a decision is taken by the house.Daily Times