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CAPPA kicks against sale of Shell’s assets, seeks justice for host communities

Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) has urged the Nigerian government to stop Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) from selling its…

Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) has urged the Nigerian government to stop Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) from selling its onshore oil business until it fixes the environmental damage caused by its activities.

CAPPA stated this in a statement reacting to the Shell PLC’s decision to sell its Nigerian onshore assets to a consortium of local companies for over $1.3billion.

The organisation said Shell had been trying to offload its troubled onshore oil assets since 2021, noting that permitting it to do so would allow it to escape alleged liability for its oil spills that have destroyed communities in the Niger Delta.

CAPPA argued that the company’s sudden claim that maintenance upsurge, incessant theft and increasing lawsuits were affecting its operation raised more suspicion and anger rather than sympathy.

It recalled that Shell was one of the pioneer oil companies that have significantly altered the ecological landscape of the Niger Delta part of Nigeria since the 1930s, adding that the oil firm had benefited hugely from the ineptitude of state authorities and loopholes in the country’s environmental governance and policy framework.

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“The exit plan of Shell must be firmly opposed in the interest of the communities that have gained nothing and lost everything from its operations over the years. At a time when historical damage, such as those committed by Shell, is increasingly being recognized and accountability demanded, it is not only important for the government to compel Shell to take responsibility for its actions but also for well-meaning Nigerians to resist the move by local entities to inherit environmental liabilities they cannot manage,” CAPPA Executive Director, Akinbode Oluwafemi, said.

Similarly, CAPPA Programme Manager, Ogunlade Olamide, noted that “The people of the Niger Delta are not prepared to add toxic legacies, relics of decaying infrastructures and more conflicts to the social imbalance and poverty that currently seems to be normal to them.”

“The lined-up buyer, the Renaissance consortium, which comprises ND Western, Aradel Energy, First E&P, and Waltersmith, said to be local exploration and production companies are relatively unknown, while Petrolin, a Swiss-based trade and investment company is feared to continue the atrocities of Shell,” Olamide added.

CAPPA argued that divestment by international standards should strictly follow the principle of informed, transparent and inclusive decision-making.

It suggested that the government, rather than approving all divestment calls, should implement and enforce measures that ensure corporations in the extractive industry not only align their operations for sustainable development but also take responsibility for the environmental impact of their activities.

The NGO tasked the Nigerian government to conduct comprehensive asset integrity tests and thorough environmental audits of Shell’s portfolio before any divestment process is concluded.

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