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A Case of SHELL ATROCITIES

Nigeria became independent on October 1, 1960. For most of the time after independence, it
remained under military rule. The country is blessed with rich oil reserves. Petroleum, natural gas, and
hydroelectricity are Nigeria's major sources of commercial energy as Well as domestic fuel. But the
country has to depend on foreign investment and technical know-how for the exploration of oil and gas.
This support is attained from multinational companies who readily invest and make good profits before
they handover the projects to the national government.

In 1993, Nigeria was under the rule of General Sani Abacha, who had succeeded in over
throwing a civilian government. His government awarded oil exploration contract to a British cum Dutch
Company "SHELL OIL Exploration Inc." The earlier civil government was reluctant to award the contract
but military junta, in the interest economic development made a quick decision

Ogon was the area, selected to launch the exploration project. The Ogon region was rich in oil
but was also thickly populated by the Ogonese which was one of oldest tribe in Nigeria. The Ogonese
people were reluctant to vacate the area as they were living there for centuries. However, in the course
of time, they agreed to vacate the region if given adequate alternate area to live in. The government
arranged for an alternate place but without adequate facilities and asked the SHELL Company to
complete development works in the area. The SHELL Company undertook the development work but
was providing substandard facilities as the company took it as an extra burden, not included in the
contract. The Company accused the Ogonese people being greedy and asking for more what they
deserved. The Ogonese people protested and launched an organized movement "MOSOP" (Movement
of the Survival of Ogonese People). The movement was led by Ken Saro Wiwa, a known writer and a
social worker. The Shell Company with the help of the government of the home country (Britain)
influenced the Nigerian government to use force against the Ogonese people and secure the interests of
the Company. The military junta without negotiating with the Ogonese people besieged the area and
opened fire. Several thousand Ogonese were killed and the rest were dislocated. The vacant area of
Ogon was handed over the SHELL Company for exploration. In 1995, Ken Saro Wiwa was hanged for his
"Anti-State" activities.

While quoting the above mentioned event, the U.N. Human Rights Commission writes in its
Report of 1999: "The case of Shell (MNC) in Nigeria is full of sad stories. Instead of
development and better life, it enormously caused miseries to the people. The incidents of such cruelty
are very few in human history."

QUESTION: What you learn from this case? Why Nigerian government did not adopt some other
means to handle the situation?