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Message-Id: <CMM.>
Date: Mon, 13 Nov 95 3:38:39 CST
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From: Soren Ambrose <ambr@midway.uchicago.edu>
To: NUAFRICA: Program of African Studies Mailing List <nuafrica@listserv.acns.nwu.edu> Subject: Shell


From Soren Ambrose, 13 November 1995

As has been posted, the IFC (World Bank division promoting private sector development) rejected the idea of financing the pipeline in Ogoni on the same day as the executions. This is a real victory for those battling the Bank, for it represents (I think) the first time an IFC loan has succumbed to public pressure, and it certainly looks like the Bank capitulated at least partially out of human rights concerns, which would be something of a precedent.

However, to make sure this is also a victory for the Ogonis, we must monitor Shell>s progress in finding other funding. They>ve already come under scrutiny on this; P.M. Major has indicated he wants to talk to Shell management about it, and Shell has postponed an announcement about the project that was scheduled for Wednesday.

[To fuzz things up just a bit, I>ll add my one hesitation. Ken always highlighted the horrible impact of gas flaring on the communities in the Delta; the solution that was usually mentioned was to build a gas plant and produce a usable, and useful, resource for West Africa rather than simply burn it off. That was to be the end-point of this project; what needs to be discovered is if there is a safe, responsible method for moving oil to the plant, and if not, whether the plant>s location in Bonny (a seaport) is a must. It might also be added that Shell and the govt. were planning to sell most of the gas to Europe rather than to Africa (the old export-it mentality). Whatever the answers to these questions, there can be no doubt that Shell must be exclud- ed from any participation, and that serious consultations must take place with the affected communities (not just settling a few chiefs).]

I think it would be wise to grab the momentum that has been cre- ated and adopt the call of those groups who are now urging an international boycott of Shell. I think the goal of it should be the following demands: (1) a fair accounting of how much Shell (and the govt) have made from all parts of the Delta that have been alleged to have sustained serious damage; (2) an accounting of how much they have put back into the community in social programs, employment, environmental recovery, etc.; (3) an accounting of how monies Shell earmarked for the community were actually spent (e.g. did they go thru the Rivers State govt?); (4) the establishment of a substantial fund for environmental restoration and community compensation--an amount which would represent a serious effort to provide enough to actually fix the problems.

For those who want more info on Shell and its impact in Ogoni, I plan to post excerpts from Ken>s book *Genocide in Nigeria: The Ogoni Tragedy*. I also want to see how the move for an oil embargo develops. I suspect it would be very much an uphill battle in the U.S. I wonder if the purchasers of that Nigerian oil here (it>s not just Shell, I assume) can be targetted.