Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) has denied a report by the Amnesty International alleging that a cache of thousands of internal documents suggested the Anglo-Dutch oil giant’s complicity in crimes committed by the Nigerian military in the 1990s.
The Amnesty International’s report had accused Shell of repeatedly calling for military intervention against peaceful protests in the oil-producing Ogoniland in Rivers State.
The London-based organisation said Shell knew military intervention was likely to prompt human rights abuses.
Amnesty had urged Nigeria, the UK and the Netherlands to begin criminal investigations into Shell’s role in the crimes.
But in response to Amnesty’s allegations, Shell has denied any wrong doing, describing the allegations as false and without any merit.
“The allegations cited in your letter against (Royal Dutch Shell) and [Shell Nigeria] are false and without merit.
“Shell Nigeria did not collude with the military authorities to suppress community unrest and in no way encouraged or advocated any acts of violence in Nigeria.
“In fact, the company believes that dialogue is the best way to resolve disputes. We have always denied these allegations, in the strongest possible terms,” said the Anglo-Dutch oil giant.
A spokesperson for The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC), Mr. Bamidele Odugbesan, has also re-echoed the company’s position, saying the executions of Saro-Wiwa and others were carried out by the military administration.
Odugbesan said in a statement yesterday that Shell had also appealed to the Nigerian government to grant clemency, which was turned down.
“We have always denied, in the strongest possible terms, the allegations made in this tragic case.
The executions of Ken Saro-Wiwa and his fellow Ogonis in 1995 were tragic events that were carried out by the military government in power at the time.
We were shocked and saddened when we heard the news of the executions. Shell appealed to the Nigerian government to grant clemency.
To our deep regret, that appeal, and the appeals made by many others within and outside Nigeria, went unheard,” Odugbesan explained.
“Support for human rights in line with the legitimate role of business is fundamental to Shell’s core values of honesty, integrity and respect for people.
Amnesty International’s allegations concerning SPDC are false and without merit. SPDC did not collude with the authorities to suppress community unrest and in no way encouraged or advocated any act of violence in Nigeria.
We believe that the evidence will show clearly that Shell was not responsible for these tragic events,” Odugbesan added.
Meanwhile, Amnesty International (AI) yesterday took the campaign against human rights abuse and torture to the university community in Abuja and environs, hoping to enlist students into the war against the menace.
Country Director, Amnesty International, Nigeria, Osai Ojigho, used the occasion to call on Nigerians to support the body in its efforts to eradicate the act and or culture of torture in Nigeria.