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By NBF News
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Advocacy group, Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), has asked the Federal Government to commence criminal prosecution of oil giants, Shell, over allegations published by online whistleblower, WikiLeaks.

In the publication, Shell was said to have admitted that it had employees seconded to all the relevant ministries of the Nigerian government.

By allegedly infiltrating the ministries, the oil multinational was able to have foreknowledge of government policies not favourable to it and moved to block them.

In one of the diplomatic cables, WikiLeaks revealed that a top executive of the company in Nigeria allegedly told United States diplomats that Shell knew 'everything that was being done in those ministries' and reportedly boasted that the Nigerian government had 'forgotten' about the extent of its infiltration and unaware of how much the company knew about its deliberations.

ERA's call is however on the heels of the invitation of oil firm by the Economic Affairs Committee of the Dutch Parliament to a hearing on January 26, 2011 in The Hague on its activities in the Niger Delta.

As a prelude to the hearing, the president/founder of Rotterdam-based Hope for Niger Delta Campaign (HNDC), Comrade Sunny Ofehe, will be accompanied to Nigeria this weekend by two members of the Dutch Parliament for an official visit to the Niger Delta.

The visit, Ofehe disclosed to Daily Sun, is part of the initiative to make Shell accountable for its activities in the Niger Delta and a demonstration of the parliament's commitment to a peaceful and environmentally friendly region.

ERA/FoEN's Executive Director, Mr Nnimmo Bassey, however said in a statement that Shell had gone beyond merely doing business in Nigeria but 'had perfected its despicable act of corporate rule through which it has over the years evaded justice for all its atrocious activities against the environment and the Niger Delta people.'

'Finally ERA/FoEN has been vindicated! Several years back we raised the alarm about Shell's surreptitious attempt to assume full control of our national systems. Shell is not only doing business in Nigeria, it has become a pseudo-political organisation bent on taking political power and undermining our national interest, national security and our sovereignty. It is treason.

'When Mrs Deziani Alison-Madueke was appointed Minister of Petroleum, we warned that it was a tactless surrender of Nigeria's oil industry to Shell. We told Nigerians that there is irreconcilable conflict of interest in her appointment because the minister has never hidden her true identity as a protégé of Shell. Now we are vindicated!' Bassey said.

Secret dispatches from Washington's embassies in Africa also revealed that Shell swapped intelligence with the U.S., in one case providing American diplomats with the names of Nigerian politicians it suspected of supporting militant activities and requesting information from the U.S. on whether the militants had acquired anti-aircraft missiles.

ERA described such 'swapping of intelligence' between Shell and the U.S. as espionage and a treasonable offence.