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The Shell oil company is shelling out big bucks to protect their oil interests in Nigeria, a country renowned for violence and the rise of volatile insurgencies. A country also renowned for it’s oil-rich, and incredibly dangerous Niger Delta.Internal documents leaked to The Guardian show Shell is pushing a $1 billion budget between 2007 – 2009 for what it calls “Global Security” operations. Of that, Shell spends approximately 40 per cent of that budget protecting it’s interests in Nigeria.
The recipients of Shell’s Nigerian security money include government forces like the Joint Task Force (JTF). Shell has even equipped the JTF with gunboats, helicopters and other vehicles. Amnesty international decries the JTF for many human rights abuses, including the targeted attack of innocent civilians.
Due to a rising Nigerian insurgency, Shell has seen a massive increase in violent activity surrounding it’s facilities. In 2008, 62 employees were kidnapped, three were killed, and so much infrastructure destroyed that Shell had to halt oil exports.
The crimes were carried out by a group called the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta. The group says it’s mission is to resist the colonialism and tyranny of American companies in partnership with their government.
Another article by the Guardian details how the militia organised due to a siphoning off of 90 per cent of the country’s wealth to the elite within the government and American oil interests.
Then there’s the corruption.
The money Shell pays for security goes directly to leaders and top officers, and filters down to troops from there, leaving plenty of wiggle room for embezzlement and bribery. Shell maintains though, that any accusations or investigations of such should be directed at the Nigerian government.
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