According to a Guardian report, the world's largest company by revenue had spent nearly $1 billion on worldwide security between 2007 and 2009; while 40 percent of the total cost had gone into security in Nigeria’s volatile Niger Delta region.
Nearly $65 million of the sum had also gone into paying 1,300 government forces – from the Nigerian military and the infamous “kill and go” police - to guard Shell's facilities in 2009, Platform said – which in turn has supplemented Shell’s own private security, who are believed to be a mixture of private security firms and individuals.
During the period, Amunwa added, Shell’s security spending fuelled conflict and enabled systematic human rights abuses by government forces and armed militants.
”Apart from its enormous size, what is striking about Shell’s security spending is how little security it actually created.
“Shell paid many millions of dollars to government forces with a track record for corruption and creating instability across Nigeria. Shell appear to have spent even larger sums on pacifying militant groups, a practice that has worsened the violence.”
On their part, Shell denies that they have any control over Nigerian government forces, especially those involved in a large-scale military attack in 2009, which displaced tens thousands of lives in the Niger Delta.
"Protecting our people and our assets is Shell's highest priority," said the company. "Our spending on security is carefully judged to meet this objective, wherever we operate in the world. We have always acknowledged the difficulties of working in countries like Nigeria. In the period that this report refers to, the armed militancy in the Niger delta was at its height, requiring a relatively high level of security spending there.”
"All our staff and contractors are expected to adhere to the highest levels of personal and corporate ethics, as set out in our code of conduct. We support the Voluntary principles on security and human rights (VPSHR), and we recognise that these principles help maintain the safety and security of our operations in a manner consistent with upholding human rights. We also investigate grievances under the VPSHR,” they said.
But Celestine Nkabari, of the Niger delta campaign group Social Action, insists that Shell’s actions in the Niger Delta has escalated violence and government abuse in the oil-rich region. In the past, Nkabari says, Shell has directly supplied government forces with gunboats, helicopters, vehicles and satellite phones.
"This proves what we in the Niger delta have known for years – that the air force, the army, the police, they are paid for with Shell money and they are all at the disposal of the company for it to use it any how it likes," said Nkabari.