ERA/FoEN urges FG to hold Shell Accountable for Environmental crimes before divesting

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The Environmental Rights Action/ Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has called on the Nigerian government to put the brakes on Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) divestment plans and ensure it pays for its environmental crimes in the Niger Delta.

This demand was informed by SPDCs plans to sell its onshore facilities to a conglomerate of five domestic oil companies.

Shell was the pioneer of Nigeria’s oil and gas exploration since the 1930s, with hundreds of oil spills traced to its operations in host communities that continue to suffer the consequences of pollution to their environment, health, and livelihood.

Executive Director of ERA/FoEN, Barr. Chima Williams faulted Shell for trying to run away from its crimes even with the uproar that has greeted its divestment plns in affected communities and among civil society organizations.

“As an organization that has tracked the activities of multinational oil companies for decades we insist that the decision of Shell to sell off its onshore facilities to domestic companies, with the intention of remaining in Nigeria to conduct their business offshore, is a deliberate attempt to evade the liabilities the company has incurred overtime. “

He also pointed out that Shell should not be allowed to abandon its onhore facilities to domestic companies without cleaning up the damage they have caused on the environment, and the cost to locals who have been impoverished by their business activities.

“These communities who have played host to Shell for decades have been left in abject poverty, with several degrees of damages to their health and environment, while Shell explores their resources to enrich foreign coffers. Shell should not be allowed to sell off its facilities and abandon the liabilities they owe these communities.”

Williams said it will be shameful that the Nigerian government will value its quest for revenue, over the lives and livelihoods of the common people who have suffered from the decades long environmental pollution caused by Shell.

He called on the President Bola Tinubu led administration to ensure that Shell’s divestment plans are accompanied by full remediation plans in their various communities of operations, and full payments of loss and damages to host communities. He also called for a close evaluation and monitoring of Shell’s offshore operations to checkmate the scope of their activities in order avert any impending damages to the environment.

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