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Shell’s Nigerian Quagmire

Bearing in mind the avalanche of recent news stories about Shell’s Nigerian problems, it is interesting to reflect on the content of a 93-page report by WAC Global Services commissioned by Shell over a decade ago. I can only assume that no one at Shell bothered to pay attention to the warnings in the report arising from its evil activities feeding corruption, violence and pollution.

Some extracts


From page 8

It is easy to conclude that any type of company or trade bringing resources to the Niger Delta will be confronted with the same problem. While this view is valid, it is also true that the manner in which the SCIN operates and it staff behaves creates, feeds into, or exacerbates conflict. After over 50 years in Nigeria, it is therefore reasonable to say that SCIN has become an integral part of the Niger Delta conflict system.

The “Peace and Security in the Niger Delta: Conflict Expert Group Baseline Report” provides the Group’s findings of: (a) the extent and how SCIN policies, practices, and corporate values/culture create, feed into or exacerbate violent conflict;

From page 13

Conflict erupts in the process of determining the cause of spills since this is linked to: (a) payment of compensation; and (b) the appointment of clean-up contractors (the company or the community). These stakes transform oil spills from an environmental issue into a political issue – and leads to opposing positions rather than a focus on shared interests. As a result, SCIN staff and contractors have problems accessing sites for investigation or clean up. If security providers are brought in to provide access to such areas, it further feeds into community grievances against the company.

From page 23

It also feeds into allegations that corrupt SCIN staff makes arrangements with individual community members or use benefits that should accrue to the community for their own benefit.

In practice, reaching short-term objectives means dealing with those groups that can provide the quickest “solution”. Rather than managing conflict via a cumbersome Traditional Council, SCIN has tended to respond to the most violent or vocal groups in order to keep them quiet. This approach has legitimised violence and (further) undermined traditional leadership.

From page 57

  • SCIN staff awarding contracts are sometimes involved in kick-back schemes with their ‘favourite’ contractors.

All of the extracts can be read in context via the link provided.

WAC Global Sevices Report and its sister non-profit websites,,,,,, and are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia feature.

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