Shell embedded in Nigerian government: cable

Oil giant has 'access to everything' being done in certain ministries, claims exec

A newly surfaced U.S. diplomatic cable suggests that oil giant Shell has inserted staff into all of the main ministries in the Nigerian government. In a memo from October 2009, U.S. ambassador Robin Renee Sanders relates a conversation with Ann Pickard, Shell’s former vice-president for sub-Saharan Africa, in which Pickard said that Shell had seconded people to relevant Nigerian government ministries and therefore had “access to everything that was being done in those ministries.” “Shell claims to have nothing to do with Nigerian politics,” said Ben Amunwa of the London-based oil watchdog Platform. “In reality, Shell works deep inside the system, and has long exploited political channels in Nigeria to its own advantage.” Nigeria has vigorously denied the claim. Levi Ajuonoma, spokesman for the state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, said: “This cable is the mere interpretation of one individual. It is absolutely untrue, an absolute falsehood and utterly misleading.” Pickard intended to share intelligence with the U.S. regarding militant activity and business competition in the contested Niger Delta, the Guardian reports, but she appeared reluctant to open up because she suspected that the U.S. government was “leaky.”

The Guardian


Looking for more?

Get the best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.