Nigerians to Oslo: Demand answers from Tangen about the worlds biggest environmental disaster

An action with ANEEJ in front of NBIMs offices in Oslo demanding justice for the Niger Delta.

Nigerians to Oslo: Demand answers from Tangen about the worlds biggest environmental disaster

Four representatives from the Nigerian organization Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ) have come to Oslo this week to talk about the disastrous consequences of the environmental damages and The Norwegian Oil Funds responsibility.

Shell has been expelling oil and gas from the Niger Delta since the beginning of the 1950s through subsidiaries. Through The Norwegian Oil Fund the Norwegien people own shares in Shell. The oil activity in the Niger Delta has been without adequate environmental protection, contrary to all international standards. The environmental crisis has resulted in millions of inhabitants in areas around the Niger Delta being deprived of their right of a satisfactory standard of living.

-The experiences from the ground show that Shells oil spill still has catastrophic consequences for the locals. Despite ten years of dialogue, the desired result has still not been achieved. We therefore expect The Oil Fund to take strong action to clean up, says Kathrine Sund-Henriksen, Executive Director of The Norwegian Forum for Environment and Development.

Together with Future in Our Hands, ActionAid and ForUM, a delegation from Nigeria will meet with political parties, The Norwegian Oil Fund (NBIM) and The Ethics Council to find an answer in how The Oil Fund has used its ownership in Shell and put a spotlight on Norway's responsibility for environmental impacts abroad.

In 2013 The Ethics Council recommended Shells subsidiaries under observation due to the serious environmental damages caused by the oil expelling in the delta. Instead, The Ministry of Finance concluded that The Oil Fund enter a dialogue with Shell about the “oil spill and the environmental conditions in the Niger Delta” for a period of five to ten years. This window of time is now closed.

Ten years after The Ethics Council concluded that Shell was responsible for serious environmental damages in the Niger Delta very little has happened with what is described as the world's biggest environmental disaster. The situation in the Niger Delta is still very serious. The Bayalsa Comission describes it as “environmental genocide”. Extensive oil spills have been detrimental to agricultural lands, forests, wetlands, fresh water, and mangroves.

In May this year 31 Nigerian organizations sent an open letter to Nicolai Tangen and The Oil Fund where they complained the clean-up was not satisfactory. The organizations asked representatives from The Oil Fund to travel to the affected areas to investigate the situation and gather information about the consequences for the locals in the areas.

The Oil Fund from their side draws attention to the dialog with Shell about the oil spills in the Niger Delta as a success story and applauds the company for their effort to clean up and reduce oil spills. In later years The Oil Fund has even increased their ownership share in Shell from 2,3 to 3,1 percent, and they are now the third largest owner.

- We have invested 60 billion of our pensions in what is described as the biggest environmental disaster in the world through The Oil Funds ownership in Shell. We have to take responsibility for this immediately. At the same time The Oil Fund has to learn from their mistakes and strengthen their routines for responsibility in the future, says Sund-Henriksen.

Watch ANEEJs Documentary on Oil Spillage in Niger Delta:

Watch the seminar and discussion by ANEEJ, Future in our hands, ActionAid, and ForUM here: