Communities in the Niger Delta were dealt another blow [on 06.21.01] when the World Bank approved a US$15 million dollar loan in support of Shell’s activities in Nigeria…Shell’s activities in the Niger Delta came under scrutiny in 1995 when the government hanged nine Ogoni leaders who were protesting Shell’s poor human rights and environmental record.
Communities in the Niger Delta were dealt another blow [on 06.21.01] when the World Bank approved a US$15 million dollar loan in support of Shell’s activities in Nigeria.
The project will provide funding for Nigerian companies working for Shell. The fund will be managed jointly by a Nigerian Bank and Shell Nigeria.
The project was opposed by Nigerian civil society organizations on the grounds that this project will exacerbate social tension, human rights
violations and environmental degradation in the Niger Delta.
Shell’s activities in the Niger Delta came under scrutiny in 1995 when the government hanged nine Ogoni leaders who were protesting Shell’s
poor human rights and environmental record.
“Shell Nigeria and its contractors continue to operate in a reckless and irresponsible manner leading to continuing devastation of the natural
environment, destruction of community livelihood and communal conflicts in the Niger Delta, ” says Owens Wiwa, brother of the late Ken Saro-Wiwa and Executive Director of AFRIDA (African Environmental and Human Development
“Last week, a contingent of the Nigerian Mobile Police, which protect Shell’s investments in Ogoniland, killed an unarmed Ogoni. By
approving this project, the Bank has given a seal of approval to human rights violations in the Niger Delta of Nigeria” Mr. Wiwa concludes.
The World Bank argues that the fund would help local contractors to grow as well as relieve unemployment and poverty. In an official complaint to the Bank Compliance Officer, Nigerian NGOs detail Shell’s devastating
environmental and social record as well as issues with Shell’s contractors. Specifically, the complaint discusses allegations of corruption and
bribery in the awarding of contracts and the exploitation of contract labour.
“The oil industry can create huge profits for the company, but this does not translate into sustainable development in the case of Nigeria. Local groups have testified that Shell’s activities have only worsened the situation of local communities in the Niger Delta, ” noted Gerry Barr, President-CEO of the Canadian Council for International Co-operation.
As the project financing will go through a financial intermediary, the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank (IFC) does not require the same environmental and social requirements of a typical investment project.
In the month of May 2001 alone, at least 6 major spills and blowouts were reported from Shell’s installations in the Niger Delta area. This number does not include the continual leakage of crude oil from Shell’s wellheads.
“This is another example of the dubious development practices of the International Finance Corporation. The IFC’s support to Shell’s activities is a public stamp of approval that is undeserving and an inappropriate use of development funds’, noted Pamela Foster, Coordinator of the Halifax Initiative coalition.
For further information contact Pamela Foster at 613.789.4447 or Owens Wiwa at 416.535.8501 ext 6216 (day) or 416.636.9027 (evenings)
News Service: Viviane Lerner (firstname.lastname@example.org)