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Ciku Kimeria
Writer, Adventurer, Development Consultant, Travelblogger
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piqer: Ciku Kimeria
Thursday, 20 April 2017

Shell Caught In A $1bn Bribery Scandal In Nigeria For Rights To A Giant Oil Field

Shell is not new to controversy — especially in Nigeria. Once the reader understands the plight of the Ogoni people whose lands were subjected to decades of extreme environmental degradation, whose livelihoods were completely lost at the hands of Shell (in collaboration with an oppressive military regime of Sani Abacha in the 90s) that resulted in the torture and brutal killing of Ken Saro-wiwa and 8 other Ogoni men who had led peaceful protests against Shell's destruction of their land, then this current revelation of further unethical practices in Nigeria by Shell is not the least bit surprising. 

In this particular instance, leaked emails and recorded phone conversations reveal that in 2011, Shell was complicit in the disappearance of over $1bn that it paid to the Nigerian government for rights to a giant oil field off the Nigerian coast. This particular oil field, known as OPL 245, is valued at $500bn in today's prices. If it is indeed true that only $300 million made it to the public coffers for this massive deal, this averages out to each of Nigeria's 186 million people getting $1.61 per person for the sale of one of the continent's most valuable oil fields.  

In a continent that loses up to ten times as much money to illicit financial flows as it gains from foreign aid, this particular case reveals a very worrying trend. Foreign companies in the continent are not holding themselves up to the global standards they claim to adhere to. 

22 years after the hanging of Ken Saro-wiwa and eight other Ogoni men in a prison yard in Southern Nigeria, perhaps not much has changed. The US's recent repeal of anti-corruption rules for extractive companies will only make it easier for extractive firms to conduct business unethically on the African continent and elsewhere. 

Shell Caught In A $1bn Bribery Scandal In Nigeria For Rights To A Giant Oil Field

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