Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) has faulted the claim by Amnesty International that the Anglo-Dutch oil giant’s complicity had a hand in the crimes committed by the Nigerian military in the 1990s.
Amnesty International’s report claimed that the military intervention to suppress peaceful demonstration in Ogoniland, Rivers State, at the time was at the instance of Shell.
It also called for a probe into the rights abuses.
But in its reaction, Shell denied the claim saying there was no truth in it.
Said the oil company: “The allegations cited in your letter against (Royal Dutch Shell) and [Shell Nigeria] are false and without merit.
“Shell Nigeria did not collude with the military authorities to suppress community unrest and in no way encouraged or advocated any acts of violence in Nigeria.
“In fact, the company believes that dialogue is the best way to resolve disputes. We have always denied these allegations, in the strongest possible terms.”
This point was also stressed by Mr. Bamidele Odugbesan, spokesperson of Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC), in a statement he issued.
The statement reads in part: “We have always denied, in the strongest possible terms, the allegations made in this tragic case.
“The executions of Ken Saro-Wiwa and his fellow Ogonis in 1995 were tragic events that were carried out by the military government in power at the time.
“We were shocked and saddened when we heard the news of the executions. Shell appealed to the Nigerian government to grant clemency.
“To our deep regret, that appeal, and the appeals made by many others within and outside Nigeria, went unheard.”
The statement reads further: “Support for human rights in line with the legitimate role of business is fundamental to Shell’s core values of honesty, integrity and respect for people.
“Amnesty International’s allegations concerning SPDC are false and without merit. SPDC did not collude with the authorities to suppress community unrest and in no way encouraged or advocated any act of violence in Nigeria.
“We believe that the evidence will show clearly that Shell was not responsible for these tragic events.”