CAPPA Urges Nigerian Government to Halt Shell’s Onshore Oil Business Sale

Calls Intensify for Shell to Address Environmental Damage Before Divestment

by Adenike Adeodun

Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) has urged the Federal Government of Nigeria to prevent the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) from selling its onshore oil business. This move comes amid concerns that the sale would allow Shell to evade responsibility for its historical environmental damages in Nigeria.

This reaction follows the news of SPDC’s intention to sell its Nigerian onshore assets to a consortium of local companies for over $1.3 billion. CAPPA highlighted that Shell has been attempting to offload these troubled assets since 2021. The organisation stressed that allowing the sale would enable Shell to abandon its liability for oil spills and other environmental issues that have devastated communities in the Niger Delta, some of which have led to legal actions.

According to a report by The Guardian, CAPPA expressed skepticism and discontent regarding Shell’s recent claims of maintenance burdens, rampant theft, and increasing lawsuits impacting its operations. These justifications come after years of alleged irresponsible exploration and neglect of the host communities’ plight.

Recalling Shell’s history, CAPPA noted the company’s significant role in altering the Niger Delta’s ecological landscape since the 1930s and its exploitation of weaknesses in Nigeria’s environmental governance.

Akinbode Oluwafemi, Executive Director of CAPPA, emphasized the importance of opposing Shell’s exit plan. “At a time when historical damages are increasingly recognized, and accountability is demanded, it is vital for the government to compel Shell to take responsibility for its actions,” he said.

Ogunlade Olamide, CAPPA’s Programme Manager, added that the Niger Delta communities are not prepared to inherit toxic legacies and decaying infrastructure, exacerbating social imbalances and poverty.

The Renaissance consortium, comprising ND Western, Aradel Energy, First E&P, Waltersmith, and Swiss-based Petrolin, is set to purchase Shell’s assets. CAPPA expressed concerns about these entities’ capability to manage the inherited environmental liabilities.

CAPPA insisted that divestment should adhere to international standards of informed, transparent, and inclusive decision-making. The organisation urged the government to enforce measures ensuring that corporations in the extractive industry align with sustainable development and take responsibility for their environmental impacts.

The NGO called for the government to conduct comprehensive asset integrity tests and thorough environmental audits of Shell’s portfolio before concluding any divestment process, ensuring that Shell’s environmental liabilities are appropriately addressed.

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