Local politics, the county, and the world, as viewed by Tammy Maygra
Tammy’s views are her own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bill Eagle, his pastor, Tammy’s neighbors, Wayne Mayo, Betsy Johnson, Joe Corsiglia, President Trump, Henry Heimuller, VP Pence, Pat Robertson, Debi Corsiglia’s dog, or Claudia Eagle’s Cats. This Tammy’s Take (with the exception of this disclaimer) is not paid for or written by, or even reviewed by anyone but Tammy and she refuses to be bullied by anyone.
See Standard Disclaimer.
Human Rights violations are an issue throughout the world. The majority of people would not believe that a company as well- known as Shell would not fall under the list of violators. But this is not the case, thousands of internal company documents suggest oil mammoth Shell was involved in human rights abuses in Ogoniland in Nigeria in the 1990s.
People protested peacefully against the production of oil by Shell, then Shell decided to use military intervention when it was not needed, the military was funded by Shell, and Shell was well aware of the tactics which were carried out by the military. The military procedures violated human rights.
Shell repeatedly reinforced actions by the Nigerian military to deal with community protests, even when it knew the horrors this would lead to — unlawful killings, rape, torture, the burning of villages. Shell even provided the military with material support, including transport, and in at least one instance paid a military commander notorious for human rights violations.
Shell’s own internal memos and minutes from company meetings show how Shell lobbied senior Nigerian government officials for military support during the Ogoni crisis, Shell continued to lobby government officials even after security forces had carried out mass killings of protesters. Shell also provided logistical and or financial assistance to the military and police on several occasions; Shell was well aware the military had been involved in the attacks on villagers.
If Shell cared about the villagers they would not have asked or used the military to intervene against peaceful protesters, nor would they have continued to use the military after the violations occurred --- if they had been unaware of the military’s actions. Either way Shell should have distanced them-selves away from the situation but sadly they did not.
One of the documents shows Shell making a payment in March 1994 of $909 to a special military unit, ISTF, to "restore order" in Ogoniland. This came ten days after the unit's commander ordered the shooting of unarmed protestors outside Shell's regional headquarters in Port Harcourt. An internal Shell memo described the payment as a show of appreciation and inspiration for a favorable outlook towards the company for future assignments.
Later on documentation showed the military carried out raids on Ogoni villages, killing, raping, torturing and detaining people. Documents show the Dutch ambassador told Shell in July 1994 the army had killed some 800 Ogonis.
Shell's then-Chairperson in Nigeria, had at least three meetings with General Sani Abacha at the height of the Ogoni crisis. In April 1994, Anderson allegedly raised the problem of the Ogonis and Ken Saro-Wiwa, after the meeting Shells chairperson felt the meeting was successful in the fact that the military General will intervene with either the military or the police. I guess $909 buys a lot in Nigeria.
Justice comes slow in Nigeria, after the violations against the villager’s made headlines and world organizations came forward a tribunal was formed and the military general who carried out the violations were brought to justice. The tribunal found the general and his associates guilty and they were executed. In the final words of the military general, he spoke directly to the Shell Company, he said that Shell would face their own day in court.
Not only did Shell support the murder of the villagers but Shells shoddy practices caused deaths as well.
Gas flaring has continued unabated. In Nigeria, Shell keeps almost 100 gas flares burning, day and night. Together, these gas flares produce as much CO2 as two million cars. But this gas could be used for other purposes, such as electricity generation. The once fertile wetlands of the Niger Delta have been transformed by the oil leaks into the world’s largest oil disaster. Even during the colonial era, the British government was aware of the undesirability of the situation but took no action.
Gas flaring causes acid rain, which acidifies the lakes and streams and damages crops and vegetation. Acid rain is a known carcinogen which has affected human health, causing miscarriages and hereditary defects, increasing the frequency of respiratory illnesses and cancer, amongst other ailments that have sent hundreds to an early grave. The sulfur contamination produces poor yields as well.
Even with laws against gas flaring, the practice continues because there is really no standard for the local authorities to follow and the fines are so low it makes not difference to the company. Shell has promised to stop the flaring but has made no attempts to do so, with Shells influence with the national government nothing has changed.
60% of all people who live in the region depend on the Delta for their livelihood. Between 2004 and 2007, oil spills from Shell destroyed fish ponds and farmlands in the Bodo and Goi communities. In 2004, there was a major oil spill from the Trans-Niger pipeline, which runs through Ogoniland to the Bonny Export Terminal. Chief Barizaa Dooh, one of the plaintiffs in the case, had fish-ponds, a poultry coop and a bakery. The oil spill destroyed all his fish-ponds as well as other agricultural lands. The oil spills and fires have made the community rendered completely uninhabitable. In 2005, the Oruma community in Bayelsa State suffered an oil spill from Shell’s facility, which destroyed fish-ponds, farms and trees, losing their sources of livelihood. In the 2007 Ikot Ada oil spill case, the community suffered from pollution of their farmlands, ponds and community lands.
The devastation caused by Shell has cost lives, killed the environment, and cost the livelihood of the Nigerian people. The $5 billion in fines filed against Shell sounds great but Shell has the upper hand because the fines have no bite to them. And Shell is too powerful and seems to get by with every infraction they do.
As the world becomes more aware of the dastardly deeds Shell has done and is continuing to do, hopefully justice will come some day for the people in Nigeria. No matter how much money some of the victims might receive it will not restore the environment, or stop the cancers, or the deformities that plague these people because of the actions of the Shell Oil Company.
The apparent disregard for human rights by Shell, the Netherlands, and England are horrific and these countries should be held accountable by the other world countries. Since we all live in a world community we all should be involved and take action when these types of actions are being carried out against other people, nations, and the environment.
Sitting idly by and dong nothing in my opinion makes you as guilty as the perpetrator.