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niger shell

fire, blood and oil - shell shuns environmental justice in the niger delta

shell , uk/netherlands

“When oil spills here, those of us who go to the mangrove forest to harvest periwinkle and other sea foods suffer. The crude oil affects the growth and development of the mangrove forest resources such as periwinkles, oysters and crabs. When the river is polluted they all die.” Ikuroma Samipe, fisherwoman and mother of five children.


“Egi women are farmers, fisherwomen and hunters. With all the flaring and pumping of oil into our swamp areas they have denied us every living thing. Today we have no hope while they are making billions of naira with our gifts from God. They don’t care or hear our cry. When we cry the oil companies will only throw tear gas on us and beat us and drive us out of our land.” Egi woman, Niger Delta.

“When I die, know that Shell killed me." Jerome Atariku, age 7.


Shell’s now infamous exploits in the oil-rich Niger Delta have had drastic consequences for the region’s peoples. The aged and rusting Shell pipelines that criss-cross the nation explode and rupture, spewing oil and polluting water, soil and vegetation. Death and sickness are the result, while the livelihoods of farmers and fishers are destroyed with no adequate redress.


Thousands of oil spills have occurred in the past decades, with little or no clean up by the company. One 1998 Shell pipeline explosion in the Niger Delta killed more than 400 people. A June 2001 oil spill in Ogdobo destroyed the only source of drinking water for 150,000 people.


In Nigeria’s oppressive political climate, Shell’s collusion with the government and the military protection afforded the oil industry have had murderous results for those who resist. The dictatorship’s 1995 murder of Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogoni anti-oil activists brought global attention to the Niger Delta, but Shell and other oil companies continue to relentlessly exploit the land and the people. Shell has financed troops to suppress resistance to hated oil developments.


Shell has proven vulnerable to public opinion in recent years. In May 2001, the company dramatically withdrew its plans to explore for gas in Kirthar National Park, the oldest national park in Pakistan. This sudden move was welcomed by Friends of the Earth International, which was pursuing a major legal case against Shell in Pakistani courts.


In 1999, Shell abruptly pulled out of the controversial Chad-Cameroon pipeline, also likely due to public pressure. “Now it is time for Shell to seriously consider issues of environmental justice in its relation with the people of the Niger Delta,” says Nnimmo Bassey of Friends of the Earth Nigeria. “So far, all that the house of Shell has offered is public relations.”

big noise at shell annual shareholders meetings in 2005 and shell hit by $1.5bn nigeria spill claim

more information
* the gasflaring by shell in the niger delta should stop
* order the book "where vultures feast", 40 years of Shell in the Niger delta by Ike Okonta and Oronto Douglas (ERA, FoE Nigeria)
* read more about the west african gas pipeline
* ,
* background information in link


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