Don’t Ask, Don’t Shell
Nigeria Hits Shell With $1.5 Billion Pollution Claim
The Nigerian parliament has hit Shell with a $1.5 billion claim after the Ijaw tribe of the Niger Delta demanded compensation for health and economic hardship caused by the company’s polluting operations. The oil giant admits to 262 oil spill incidents in Nigeria in 2002, and that same year it identified 548 sites in the country that needed “remedial” action to prevent contamination. And Shell’s reputation as a polluter and violator of human rights in the country goes back even further, with the nadir having come in 1995, when the company failed to intervene as Nigeria’s military dictatorship executed activist Ken Saro-Wiwa, who had led locals in the fight against Shell’s destructive drilling practices. It’s unclear whether the parliament’s resolution carries the force of law. Shell is, as one might imagine, rather desperate to rehabilitate its public image in Nigeria.