Revealed: Nigerian military Bribed By Shell To Suppress Ogoni Activists
Huhuonline.com can divulge that some secret papers have point to the fact that Dutch oil giant, Shell routinely worked with the army in the 1990s to suppress resistance to its activities in the Niger Delta area.
Our findings also disclosed that even as Shell has never denied the pollution of large areas of the Niger Delta land and air through its operations, it had always resisted charges of complicity in human rights abuses.
According to Huhuonline.com sources, 'Confidential memos, faxes, witness statements and other documents, first released in 2009, show that the company regularly paid the military to stop the peaceful movement against pollution, even helping to plan raids on villages suspected of opposing the company which had led to the killing of several thousand people in the 1990s while many more fled.'
The revelations further posits that investigations carried out within the circles of the oil industry have accused Shell of fuelling more recent armed conflict in Nigeria by paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to feuding militant groups.
More findings revealed that Shell had been accused in a New York federal court of collaborating of collaborations in Rivers state in the execution in 1995 of renowned writer, Ken Saro-Wiwa and other leaders of the Ogoni tribe, 'instead, Shell paid $15.5 million to the eight families in settlement and key documents never saw light during the trial.'
According to a Shell statement, 'among them is a 1994 letter from Shell agreeing to pay a unit of the Nigerian army to retrieve a truck, an action that left one Ogoni man dead and two wounded, which Shell agreed was ''a show of gratitude and motivation for a sustained favourable disposition in future assignments''.
Brian Anderson, the director of Shell Nigeria during those years, said in 2009, after the New York settlement, the company ''played no part in any military operations against the Ogoni people or any other communities in the Niger Delta, and we have never been approached for financial or logistical support for any action''. But he conceded that Shell had paid the military on two occasions.
Huhuonline.com investigation also unveiled that despite the fact that Shell disputes certain reports on findings, 'an allegation that government forces hired by Shell perpetrated atrocities against local civilians had undergone a study of the recommendations.
Just as Shell claimed that it had transferred more than $159,000 to a group credibly linked to militia violence in the Niger Delta, our dependable sources say that the testimony and contracts that implicate Shell in the regular awarding of lucrative contracts to militants is immense.
Chukwu Azikwe, an acknowledged militia member had revealed that, ''We were given money and that is the money we were using to buy ammunition, to buy this bullet, and every other thing to eat and to sustain the war2, adding that his gang and its leader, S. K. Agala, had vandalised Shell pipelines so that Shell could pay ransom in cash.'
Further revelations, say 'The gang fought a rival group over access to oil money through fighting, while some will die, just to enable them to also get a share where who takes over the community has the attention of the company.''
Allegations were also rife that in Rumuekpe, ''the main artery of Shell's eastern operations in Rivers state distributed ''community development'' funds and contracts via Friday Edu, a youth leader and Shell community liaison officer.
'By 2005, Mr Edu's monopoly over the resources of the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) of Nigeria had sparked off a leadership tussle with Agala's group, which reportedly led to the forcing out of some people of the community and an estimated 60 people killed in counter raids.
Although, the allegations were largely substantiated by a Shell official, a manager confirmed that in 2006, which ranked as one of the most violent years, Shell awarded six types of contract in Rumuekpe despite the fact that Shell's routine practices and responses to threats eventually became complicit in the cycle of violence.
'Rumuekpe is just one of several case studies examined by the report which alleges that in 2009 and 2010, security personnel guarding Shell facilities were responsible for extra-judicial killings and torture in Ogoniland', our source said.
In the light of unfolding development, Shell has insisted that it even as it respects human rights, 'The Nigerian government has continually deployed government security forces to protect people and assets, suggestions that SPDC's directives or control of military activities in the Niger delta region are therefore untrue.''