Sale of Shell shouldn’t worsen rights abuses, AI tells incoming govt
Amnesty International (AI) has called on the incoming government of Bola Ahmed Tinubu, which will be sworn in on May 29, to ensure that Shell’s planned divestment of its operations in the Niger Delta, does not worsen human rights violation in the region.
AI, in a statement, yesterday, urged Tinubu to ensure Shell’s sale does not end or limit the company’s liabilities.
It advised the government to, as a condition for sale, require Shell to provide full assessment report of existing pollution in the area; ensure the company has provided satisfactory remediation for any damage; and that concerns by residents are fully appraised and addressed.
AI said it has documented grievous and enduring human rights abuses resulting from oil contamination in the area, where Shell has operated since the 1950s.
The organisation expressed concern that the proposed sale would deny people access to adequate remedy and expose many more to future abuses.
In the new report issued by AI, titled ‘Tainted Sale?’, the organisation recommended safeguards and actions to protect the rights of the people that will be affected by Shell’s planned disposal of its onshore oil interests in the Niger Delta, reportedly for about $3 billion.
Amnesty International’s Head of Business and Human Rights, Mark Dummett, said: “For decades, spills have damaged the health and livelihoods of many of the Niger Delta inhabitants.”
Shell should not be allowed to wash its hands off the problems and leave. Shell has earned billions of dollars from this business and it must make sure its withdrawal does not have negative human rights and environmental consequences.
“By exercising appropriate oversight of Shell’s sale, Nigeria’s incoming administration has a unique opportunity to demonstrate its determination to uphold and protect the human rights of its citizens, including their rights to adequate standard of living, clean water, and health. We are also calling for effective remedy for people, whose rights have long been abused.
“Amnesty asks that the government should consider requiring Shell to act as a guarantor to ensure any purchaser is capable of making good and remediating damage caused by any future spills and that any buyer is committed to transparency, environmental compliance, consultations with communities, and limiting greenhouse gas emissions.”
AI noted that spills from poorly maintained pipelines and wells, along with inadequate cleanup, have led to widespread oil contamination, including of groundwater and drinking water sources, agricultural land and fisheries, and damaged the health and livelihoods of many inhabitants.