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Shell wants a quickie divorce from Nigeria

Posted by John Donovan: 14 May 2024

Oh, look who’s tiptoeing out of the Niger Delta with their oil-stained boots and a trail of ecological nightmares! Yes, folks, it’s none other than Shell, the charming oil giant, who after decades of turning lush lands into post-apocalyptic wastelands, now wants a quickie divorce from Nigeria. And guess what? Nigeria’s oil industry regulator is ready to be the accommodating judge who’ll rubber-stamp the paperwork with a fast-track sales approval. How convenient!

Isa Sanusi from Amnesty International couldn’t have put it more poignantly, “With Shell currently seeking regulatory approval for the sale of its business in the Niger Delta, it is essential that it is held fully to account for decades of grievous human rights abuses related to oil spills which have polluted the environment, contaminated drinking water and poisoned agricultural land, fisheries and people.” Hear, hear, Isa!

But wait, there’s more! The industry regulator’s cheeky offer to fast-track approvals if companies just ‘accept responsibility’ for their environmental party fouls sounds like letting them off with a slap on the wrist while they backflip out of the disaster zone. As Isa eloquently states, this must not be “an easy option that allows Shell to cut and run from the suffering related to its operations in the Niger Delta, or which exposes local communities to more human rights harms.”

Seriously, it’s like watching someone torch a forest, throw on a bucket of water, and then proclaim, “All good now!” As Isa warns, the proposed fast-track option “potentially gives large oil companies the upper hand in negotiations around sales approvals and will exclude affected local communities from the decision-making process.” Classic Shell, always playing the game one oil slick ahead.

Amnesty International keeps batting for team Earth, recommending that any sales approval should be “full and thorough” involving environmental studies, inventory checks, and funds for cleaning up the mess. They’re like that one friend who insists on cleaning up the dishes at a party before leaving—because, unlike Shell, they actually care about the mess left behind.

Oh, and in a juicy tidbit of corporate irony, Shell’s handing over the keys to the SPDC kingdom for a cool $2.4 billion, partly financed by, drumroll please… a loan from Shell itself! It’s like selling your old, haunted house and lending the new owners money for an exorcist.

As Shell attempts to sneak out the back door of the Niger Delta, leaving a legacy of pollution, one hopes they trip over the massive environmental liability they’re trying to sidestep. As we all know, in the grand theatre of corporate irresponsibility, Shell always aims for a standing ovation.

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