ShellNews.net: BBC “Newsnight”: Oil Gangs Threaten Nigerian unity: "So on one hand we have the Ogoni living in utter destitution in a despoiled land which has immense oil and gas resources. On the other, the ruthless Shell fat cats responsible in large part for their evil exploitation and wicked oppression honoured with titles and showered with riches. It is a monumental injustice and should be a source of shame for all investors/stakeholders in the Royal Dutch/Shell Group." 17 November 2004
By Alfred Donovan
The old adage is that a picture says a thousands words. The filmed report on Newsnight which highlighted the injustice inflicted on the local population, living a nightmarish existence in the oil rich Niger Delta, was more devastating than anything which could be put into writing.
The video clip is unfortunately only available on the BBC Newsnight website for 24 hours after the broadcast. After that there is only a sanitised version in a written report which omits illuminating comments from some of the people interviewed.
The film of the oil spills in Ogoniland in a dark polluted landscape was particularly depressing as were the reports of abject poverty and degradation.
Arab populations such as the Saudis have rightly benefited greatly from the oil discoveries in their lands. Unfortunately the oil riches in Nigeria have been plundered by successive corrupt regimes in collusion with oil companies. Shell has a particularly atrocious record in this regard and after a report commissioned by Shell was leaked (Peace and Security in the Niger Delta) Shell has admitted that its activities have fed the violence and corruption in Nigeria.
Birds of a Feather
Two defendants in a US multi-billion dollar law suit concerning the Shell oil reserves scandal (described on BBC TV as the biggest investor related fraud in history), Sir Mark Moody-Stuart and Sir Philip Watts, are also defendants in a US class action lawsuit brought by Ogoni leaders. Moody-Stuart headed up the Shell Nigerian operation prior to becoming Group Chairman of the Royal Dutch Shell Group. Sir Philip followed in his wake in both jobs before being forced to resign in disgrace following the reserves debacle, but with a reported $18 million dollar settlement/pension pot.
So on one hand we have the Ogoni living in utter destitution in a despoiled land which has immense oil and gas resources. On the other, the ruthless Shell fat cats responsible in large part for their evil exploitation and wicked oppression honoured with titles and showered with riches.
It is a monumental injustice and should be a source of shame for all investors/stakeholders in the Royal Dutch/Shell Group.
THE BBC NEWSNIGHT WEBSITE: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/4013001.stm
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London Evening Standard: Shell faces £830m Nigeria claim: “The FSA's conclusions will raise questions about the part played by Watts' predecessor, SIR MARK MOODY-STUART, chairman between 1997 and 2001.
Financial Times: Shell faces new dilemma in south Nigeria: “Almost 10 years after execution of the Ogoni author Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight fellow rights activists caused international outrage, Shell is involved in another deepening dispute in the Ogoni region.”: “Shell does want to do essential maintenance in the region on the trans-Niger pipeline, which carries 185,000 barrels a day of production. It has just stationed members of Nigeria's paramilitary mobile police - whose public notoriety is such that they are nicknamed "kill and go" - to guard its facilities after it experienced problems with tampering.”
THE TIMES (UK): Shell ready to face the heat in the Niger Delta: SHELL is battening down hatches and bracing itself for a bruising confrontation next week. Nothing out of the ordinary for the oil multinational, which over the past 11 months has become accustomed to high-volume vituperation. This time, however, the venue is Nigeria, not the City of London, and the subject is jobs, not vanishing oil reserves.”: "The question is: do we (Shell) live by our business principles.” (ShellNews.net) 13 Nov 04
THE TIMES (UK): Finding a way out of the bunker: “It is a billion-dollar-a-year business, says Chris Finlayson, chairman of Shell in Nigeria. About 50,000 barrels are being siphoned daily from the web of pipes that link hundreds of wells to Shell’s terminals at Bonny and Forcados.” (ShellNews.net) 13 Nov 04
TELLSHELL: The unpalatable truth about Shell Management: "While the Ogoni people sit on top of oil fields, but remain abysmally poor, Sir Philip Watts sits on an $18 million (US dollar) pension pot. It is in my humble opinion simply obscene and indefensible."