Oil theft in Nigeria cost Shell some £160million in its last set of quarterly results and the Anglo-Dutch firm has sought Government help to deal with the fragile security situation in the county.
But sending weapons to Nigerian security forces risks further destabilising a dangerous situation, said campaign group Platform.
The UK has spent close to £12million in military aid to Nigeria since 2001, according to a Freedom of Information request, including on machine guns and other weaponry.
SPDC, Shell’s joint venture with the Nigerian government, also provides funding to the Joint Task Force, a military-police squad that helps protect its pipelines and rigs. And according to Platform, Shell lobbied the UK and US governments to increase military aid to Nigeria.
Minutes of a meeting between Shell’s Malcolm Brinded and the Foreign Office in 2006 state that Shell was ‘keen to see HMG [Her Majesty’s Government] looking for further opportunities to assist Nigeria with Niger Delta security and governance’.
The amount of military aid from the Government to Nigeria subsequently increased, helping offset Shell’s own costs in Nigeria. But Platform warned that no measures were put in place to prevent arms falling into the hands of militant warlords and human rights abusers.
Information from The Nation was used in this report.