Oil company Shell has spent $383 million on security in Nigeria in two years, watchdog organisation Platform has said.
According to Platform, a London based non-profit, citing leaked financial data from Shell, the expenditure made between 2007 and 2009 is 40 per cent of Shell’s total expenditure on security globally which it says stood at $1 billion.
In a publication titled ‘Dirty Work’ detailing Shell’s global security expenditure between 2007 and 2009, which Platform says is based on internal financial data from Shell’s security department leaked to it, the data reveals for the first time how much Shell has spent on security, who benefitted and who bore the risks.
“In particular, the data shows the extent of Shell’s funding for government forces and other armed groups in Nigeria during a period of intense conflict in the oil producing Niger Delta,” it says.
Platform also says the $383 million Shell spent in Nigeria is an underestimate. “It does not include expenditure on the Shell operated Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) plant in Bonny. Nor does it include an estimated annual $200 million of ‘community development’ funds, which are frequently distributed to groups that threaten Shell’s operations, sparking serious violent conflicts. The leaked data covers all four Shell companies in Nigeria,” it says.
The Niger Delta in Nigeria where Shell and other oil companies operate has been plagued by tension and violence as local people demand a fair share of money made from exploiting oil from their land. The area is heavily polluted and the people are poor with very little or no infrastructure and jobs.
A study by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) released in 2011 made a call for the setting up of a $1 billion fund to clean-up the over 50 years of pollution of Ogoniland in the Niger Delta by the operations of oil companies.
According to UNEP however, full environmental restoration of Ogoniland may take up to 30 years.
UNEP, indicated that the assessment which has been unprecedented, was carried over a 14-month period and more than 200 locations were examined, 122 kilometres of pipeline rights of way were surveyed, more than 5,000 medical records were reviewed and over 23,000 people were engaged at local community meetings.
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi
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