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Shell blasted amid poverty, conflict

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Screen Shot 2014-03-21 at 09.00.35Social Action accuses Shell of handing out payments for so-called security contracts to rival factions on opposing sides, who used the money to buy more weapons and ammunition to sustain the conflict.

Extracts from an article published on 20 March 2014 by WAR ON WANT

Shell will come under fire on Saturday, World Water Day, when a Nigerian campaigner speaks out in London against the Anglo-Dutch corporation exploiting oil, as thousands of people face grim hardship, including lack of running water.

The criticism will be launched by Celestine Akpobari, from the organisation Social Action, ally to the Niger Delta community of Rumuekpe, which lacks running water, electricity, basic drainage systems, or any school.

Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 16.29.29With huge oil wealth in Rumuekpe’s territory, the community should rank among the most well-off anywhere.

But its 20,000 residents suffer dire poverty, and for over 50 years Shell has pumped countless barrels of oil from installations in Rumuekpe, racking up substantial profits.

One resident, Emeka Eke, said: “From the day Shell arrived here, until today, you will not find one person from Rumuekpe employed by Shell, nor at any of the other oil companies.”

Traditional subsistence agriculture has grown increasingly futile for residents in Rumuekpe, following decades of oil spills and acid rain caused by Shell’s illegal gas flaring.

While the plunder of its resources and degradation of the environment have devastated the community, the destruction has been fuelled by deadly armed conflict.

Social Action accuses Shell of handing out payments for so-called security contracts to rival factions on opposing sides, who used the money to buy more weapons and ammunition to sustain the conflict.

The conference – The New Frontlines of War: Corporations, Conflict & Community Resistance – takes place from 11 am to 6 pm at Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6LA. Admission is free. Register at waronwant.org/frontlines or call 020 7324 5040

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