In a new blog post on New Internationalist, Niger Delta activist Sokari Ekine provides a critical overview of Shell’s operations in Nigeria, including her first hand experiences in Rumuekpe, the town where Shell funded killings and militant clashes:
This week a report by Platform London, ‘Counting the Cost’, found that between 2000 and 2010, Shell fuelled violence in the Niger Delta by paying huge contracts to armed militants. One of the towns mentioned in the report is Rumuekpe, which I recently visited. I spoke with women activists from the town, who told me how militants paid by oil companies had terrorized the town to the point when everyone had to flee, abandoning their homes, property and farms, and seek refuge in nearby Port Harcourt. During the period of terror some 60 people were known to have been killed. What is left is a ghost town. On the day we visited, the women and I were fearful that we were being watched and it was too dangerous for me to stay for any length of time or walk through the town centre. The women also pointed out that in those towns and villages which did not have oil, people lived in peace, confirming for many that it was the oil and the oil companies who were responsible for the violence and militarization of their town.