THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Nigeria Lawmakers Threaten Sanctions Over Shell Pollution: “Nigerian lawmakers said Wednesday that they were considering penalties against the local subsidiary of Royal Dutch/Shell Group after the oil giant allegedly rejected a Senate demand to pay $1.5 billion for oil pollution.” (ShellNews.net) Posted 2 Dec 04
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ABUJA, Nigeria (AP)--Nigerian lawmakers said Wednesday that they were considering penalties against the local subsidiary of Royal Dutch/Shell Group after the oil giant allegedly rejected a Senate demand to pay $1.5 billion for oil pollution.
The payment order by the Nigerian Senate in August 2004 came in response to a petition by ethnic Ijaws in the oil-rich state of Bayesla, and doesn't have the force of law.
John Brambaifa, who leads the senate committee on Nigeria's Niger Delta, said Shell wrote a letter to the legislators dated Nov. 14 rejecting their decision as "flawed."
Brambaifa blasted the Shell subsidiary Wednesday for what he called "its effrontery and its flagrant challenge to the sovereignty of Nigeria."
The committee will give the Senate its recommendation for measures against the Shell subsidiary in two weeks' time, the lawmaker said.
The Senate committee is also launching a wide-ranging investigation on the activities of the company in Nigeria in the past four decades, and the impact it has had on livelihoods in the Niger Delta, he said.
A Shell spokesman in Lagos couldn't confirm immediately the company had written to the Senate committee. Shell was opposed, however, to paying the compensation demanded by the Senate, he said.
The firm is the biggest oil multinational in Nigeria, accounting for half of the 2.5 million barrels pumped daily. Nigeria is the largest oil exporter in Africa, the seventh largest in the world and the fifth-biggest source of U.S. oil imports.
The Ijaw people and others in Nigeria's oil-rich Niger Delta have long complained that oil operations pollute creeks and rivers in their region, which remains among the poorest in Nigeria despite vast petroleum riches.