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The Scotsman: Shell admits it may have had role in violence



12 June 04


SHELL has accepted that its presence in Nigeria could have unintentionally exacerbated violence, poverty, and corruption.


The embattled oil group acknowledged it was "difficult" to operate ethically in the Niger Delta, where conflict has surged periodically since the early 1990s, and admitted that its attempts at community development had been "less than perfect".


Emmanuel Etomi, Shellís community development manager in Nigeria, said an independent report by three internationally-known conflict experts had identified "how we sometimes feed conflict by the way we award contracts, gain access to land, and deal with community representatives." He added that although it was up to government and local communities to take the lead, "as part of an industry inadvertently contributing to the problem we are prepared to help."


Shell however denied suggestions that it could be forced to pull out of the oil-rich country by 2008. A spokesman said: "That is the view of the reportís authors and not a view that we share. The Niger Delta and Nigeria is one of our heartlands, and itís a place where we are going to continue developing our business."


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