Spillage: Groups Charges Oil Firms, Stakeholders On Niger Delta Clean-up

WITH oil companies gearing up to divest from fossil fuels, groups in Niger state have called on the Norway Oil Fund to ensure that they clean up the environmental disasters that they have caused in the past 63 years of their operations in the region.

Stakeholders, including executive director, Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), David Ugolor; researcher at Fafo and associate professor at the Department of Sociology and Human Geography at UiO; Camilla Houeland; director at SLUG – Debt Justice Network Norway, Julie Rødje and member of Parliament for The Socialist Left Party (The Standing Committee on Energy and the Environment) Lars Haltbrekken, tasked the Norway’s Oil Fund to visit the Niger Delta and see for itself, the environmental damages caused by oil companies operating in the region.

Recall that the Norway’s Oil Fund (managed by Norges Bank Investment Management – NBIM) is a top three shareholder in some oil companies in Nigeria.

In 2013 Norway’s Ministry of Finance directed the Oil Fund to engage with Shell for up to ten years on the environmental and societal harms caused in the Niger Delta, which were exposed by Norway’s own Ethics Council.

The council found out that Royal Dutch Shell plc, is responsible for serious environmental damage in the Niger Delta, but that there is exceptional uncertainty linked to future developments. The council therefore recommended that Shell be put under observation for a period of up to four years.

10 years later, human rights groups, led by the Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, ANEEJ, visited Oslo, Norway, to raise awareness about environmental damage in the Niger Delta. They met with politicians and the Oil Fund (NBIM) to highlight Norway’s responsibility for climate and environmental impact abroad.