Shell's Weak Response to Activists' Demands

April 26, 2012

It’s complicated, claimed Shell on their Facebook page today in response to the barrage of messages Amnesty activists have been leaving them on Facebook, Twitter and via email demanding they own up, clean up and pay up their mess in the Niger Delta.

But nothing is complicated about the fact that Shell has reaped billions from its oil extractions in the Niger Delta while multiple oil spills there have devastated local communities. And that they’re once again failing to take responsibility for their actions and attempting to shift the blame.  Read their full Facebook response:

shell facebook post

But the fact that the corporation even responded to the social media blitz means someone at headquarters is paying attention.  If only attention turned into action and Shell used just a fraction of its billions of dollars of profits to clean up its mess.

Shell says more than 70% of spills in the Niger Delta over the last five years were caused by sabotage or leaks caused by thieves. But such claims by Shell on the proportion of oil spilled as a result of illegal activity are not credible. Based on new evidence, more than half the oil spilled in the Niger Delta during 2008 – and possibly as much as 80 per cent – was due to operational failure, not sabotage.

Four years on from the Bodo spill, oil pollution in the Niger Delta continues to wreck jobs and futures, exposing people to serious health risks, destroying livelihoods and undermining access to clean water and food. Residents have told us about how they struggle to make a living and their serious health concerns. Alternative jobs are not easy to find.

In addition, independent evidence released this week shows the volume of oil spilled in a massive 2008 spill in Bodo was far worse than previously admitted – at least 7.8 million litres as opposed to the 260,000 litres repeatedly claimed by Shell.

Shell’s claims just don’t stand up to scrutiny. Help us tell them so by posting the following message as a comment on their Facebook wall:

Shell, you say you clean up no matter what the cause – but Bodo has been in a mess since 2008. And according to the UN, the clean up job you do does not comply with Nigerian regulatory standards or even with your own! Yes, sabotage is a real and serious problem, but it is not and never can be a defense for decades of failure to stop spills and clean up pollution. You need to own up, pay up and clean up.

And a big thank you to all of your Facebook, Twitter and email messages so far.  Here are a few examples of posts that are clogging Shell’s Facebook feed right now:

Remember to follow @amnesty and check out our Facebook page to get involved.