Thursday, June 11, 2009

Shell Settles Nigerian Lawsuit Alleging Human Rights Violations

Earlier this week, oil giant Shell announced that it has agreed to a $9.6 million settlement to end a lawsuit alleging that its Nigerian subsidiary colluded with the former military government in Nigeria to silence environmental and human rights activists who protested the construction of a pipeline in the Ogoni region of Nigeria.  In particular, the lawsuit also alleged that Shell helped the Nigerian government capture and hang six activists in 1995. The suit was brought in U.S. District Court in New York under the Alien Tort Statute.  The money from the settlement will be used to compensate the families of the alleged victims, pay legal fees, and set up a trust that will invest in social programs in the country, including educational endowments, agricultural development, support for small enterprise and adult literacy schemes.  While $9.6 million may seem like a lot of money to persons from the Ogoni region in Nigeria, it represents less than one-hundredth of one per cent of Shell's annual revenue and, thus, is unlikely to have any significant impact on Shell's shareholders.

(cgb)   

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