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, Research Paper

Shell Oil and the Exploitation of Nigeria

Nigeria has been a state in political convulsion for a long clip. The state was created in 1914 under British colonial regulation and at that clip it was considered a associated state. It was non until 1960 that Nigeria received independency from the United Kingdom. One of Nigeria s jobs politically is that it has over three 100 different cultural groups. The three largest of these are the Hausa-Fulani, Igbo, and Yoruba. At the clip of the independency of Nigeria it was split up into three provinces with each province being under the control of one of the major cultural groups. The natural resources of the other 297 cultural groups were exploited for the major three groups, making a state of affairs of political agitation. This resulted in a military putsch vitamin D etat throwing out the Prime Minister and replacing him with a major Igbo General. The minorities wanted a political restructuring through provinces and they won. There was an Igbo sezession from Nigeria organizing Biafra in Eastern Nigeria including the Ogoni district. A three-year civil war broke out after this over the natural resources held by the minorities particularly the oil in the Ogoni district. After this Nigeria went through several signifiers of Military authoritiess and a public election in 1993 was considered void and null by Gen. Babangida, he was taken over by Gen. Abacha in 1993 who was to be by far the most horrid dictator of Nigeria yet.

The predicament of the Ogoni people has been heard around the universe, they figure around 500,000 and populate in an country really rich in rough oil. Shell and other companies have boring operations in the Ogoni district but Shell is by far the major extractor of oil in the part. Make to the boring and spillage of monolithic sums of oil the ecosystem of the Ogoni people has been devastated. It resembles a barren with small to no flora and wildlife being really barely. Furthermore the Ogoni people have received about nil for the all the oil exported from their land. An estimated 10 billion dollars a twelvemonth is earned for the Nigerian authorities most of which is embezzled by high ranking functionaries or set into the military to maintain the population oppressed. One adult male led his people to stand out against the dictatorship named Ken Saro-Wiwa a native Ogoni who had gone away and became educated and really successful, but he came back to battle for the right of his people. He formed MOSOP ( Movement for endurance of Ogoni people ) and vociferously spoke out against the authorities of Nigeria. He wrote a Bill of Rights naming for protection of the environment in the Ogoni part and basic rights for the Ogoni people. His Bill of Rights was wholly ignored by the authorities. He went on to make peaceable presentations against Shell s oil workss where particular constabulary forces came in and killed and injured many Ogoni people. In May 1995 Ken Sao-Wiwa and his close MOSOP associates were accused of the slayings of four Ogoni heads. Their test was closed to the public Ken Saro-Wiwa s legal defence resigned stating that the test was non impartial or independent and no affair what they would all be found guilty. Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight of his close associates were all hanged. Shell has since spent 1000000s seeking to mend the harm they unwittingly caused in Nigeria and the universe s major powers have taken little actions against Nigeria.

Misdemeanor of Human Rights, devastation of the environment, and denial of freedom of address and fold are the ethical issues raised in this instance. The Human Rights misdemeanors are many. The Nigerian particular constabulary force raped, tortured, and murdered 100s who spoke out against the oppressive authorities. All together they killed 2,000 Ogoni, razed 27 small towns and displaced over 80,000 people who fled into the shrub as refugees. The oil spills by the Shell Company, the prevarication of the grapevine across farming areas, and the extraction of the oil has raped the land of the Ogoni. The works and wildlife in the part is all deceasing the dirt becomes sterile and the air is no longer clean. These injuries against the environment will take 1000s of old ages to mend and can be seen as an atrociousness that can non be repaired. The last ethical issue I saw was the denial of the right of freedom of address and assembly. The Ogoni made many peaceable presentations against Shell workss where each clip the particular constabulary came out and gunned them down, certain times the constabulary were called into action by Shell functionaries who knew the patterns the constabulary used to halt these presentations. The Nigerian authorities stated that all these affraies and deceases were merely little communal battles. American functionaries went in to analyze these so called communal affraies and found that the arms used could hold merely been of a military beginning.

The human values which are at interest are similar to the ethical issues which the instance raises. In this instance there is a minority which is being oppressed by the bulk the ways they oppress are barbarous and take away unalienable God given rights. The ways the Nigerian authorities acted led by Gen. Abacha were flagitious. The mean Ogoni is unable to boom in his/her environment. Education and medical are non available to most of the population. Of the 5,000 Shell employees in the part merely 88 are Ogoni. For husbandmans their dirt is sterile and their works life is tainted. These people have no chance to boom in their environment that has been brought down upon them by their ain authorities and elephantine western oil companies. For humanity to boom it must esteem each other and assist those in demand. The Ogoni s ecosystem was all right before the oil companies came in. After the human rights misdemeanors happened Ken Saro-Wiwa stood up and he and his followings were hung for it. The full universe knew an guiltless adult male stood out against a oppressive authorities and was killed for offenses he did non perpetrate, and they stood by and did really small. Still today they do really small and all these things continue though non as out in the unfastened as they used to.

John Stuart Mill s Utilitarianism is the ethical context system for this instance. His basic theory was the greatest good for the greatest figure for the greatest sum of clip. Ecological injury hurts a big nu

mber of people in largely little ways one could disregard nevertheless, the sum of clip that this injury exists is really great and odds are it will be polluted in the hereafter faster than it takes for the Earth to mend itself. Where the Ogoni s oil was taken by Shell and parts of the net incomes allocated to the Nigerian authorities there is a major misallocation of who received the money generated by the oil. The oil generates 10 billion dollars a twelvemonth to the Nigerian authorities from bring forthing the huge sums of oil, this was embezzled by high ranking military functionaries. Purportedly 3 % of net incomes from the oil of the Ogoni was supposed to be reinvested in their community the existent per centum at best harmonizing to Greenpeace was.000007. So for the greatest good for the greatest figure we see many people losing their resources, farming area, and ecology while a few Military functionaries become crazily rich off the poorness of many. As for the human right misdemeanors, any ethical context system would happen them incorrect and unfair. I found though, that in this instance many people were hurt while few where helped and the manner those that were hurt was great and those that were helped it was fiddling since it was pecuniary. I chose Utilitarianism for this instance since its doctrine is to maximise good in the best manner for as many people for the longest clip.

The ethical defects in the instance are many but there are couple ethical strengths in the instance. Such as some of the things Shell oil company did to mend the harm done to the Ogoni part. The Ogoni part was rich in oil and that is where Shell drilled, they paid their just portion of gross to the Nigerian authorities for the oil, it is non their mistake the Ogoni received nil for the desolation of their land. When Shell functionaries called in the constabulary there were 1000s of dissenters outside their works, peaceful or non it is intimidating and no 1 wants to lose a multi-million dollar works. Shell has donated over a 100 million dollars specifically to the Ogoni part to assist its environment and people. Shell does keep portion of the incrimination but they do more than their just portion to rectify the jobs while the Nigerian authorities still does nil but oppress the people and maintain down revolutionists with an Fe fist. As for the many defects in the instance the violent death of peaceable dissenters, hanging guiltless work forces after a mock test in which imperativeness and public were out, the desolation of a civilization through slaying, plundering, and devastation of their land have already been discussed.

One struggle would be the necessity of oil in the modern universe and effects of taking it from the land in 3rd universe countries where compensation is non given to the country and people from where it was removed. Before the full Nigerian, incident Shell was ranked figure one in the oil industry ( it moved to three afterwards ) and it took a big part of its oil from Nigeria. As oil is necessary and Nigeria has oil sedimentations it will be drilled. Every twelvemonth monolithic sums of oil is spilled the effects of holding rough oil spilled is really rough on the land. Between 1982 and 1992 an estimated 1.6 million gallons of oil was spilled from Shell s Nigerian Fieldss. This is merely something that happens in countries where oil is being extracted and transported. Though what is go oning to the Ogoni is incorrect it is inevitable in a manner, due to the demand of oil, the natural resources the Ogoni part has and the destitute corrupt state in which the state of affairs takes topographic point.

Had I been the rule determination shaper, every bit shortly as I learned of how bad it was for the Ogoni people I would hold gone to General Abacha and told him he needs to rectify the state of affairs. When the remainder of the universe learned of it there would be a awful recoil. Foreign powers would cut off assistance, loans, and perchance curtail trade. There would be protests and consumers would halt purchasing the gasolene from our company doing gross revenues to drop. In the instance where it would go endangering the companies would hold to retreat and travel to other countries and as oil is 80 % of Nigeria s beginning of money the state would be left crippled.

My way is justified by Mill s Utilitarianism since it calls for a arrest to the hapless intervention of the Ogoni people. Mill states that one should move for the greatest good and the end of morality. How the Ogoni people are treated is a far call from the word good. Mill states that some pleasances are qualitatively better than other pleasances such as the rational pleasance is better than the physical 1. But what of the pleasance to populate that the Ogoni and those that protest against the authorities lose. The basic nucleus of Utilitarianism is greatest good for the greatest figure for the greatest sum of clip. In the application of this theory one would foremost believe halting the boring in the Ogoni country would be right. But there are two conflicting values though, the good of the Ogoni and the demand of the universe for gasolene. One good is greater and stopping points longer while the other good is for a much greater sum of people. I believe at that place would hold to be a mean where the Ogoni could populate a nice life and the universe would still have oil from the Ogoni and Nigerian oilfields.

Three policies the company could hold done to forestall or repair the state of affairs in Nigeria are, have a much more efficient transit system, better flow of hard currency back to the Ogoni part for the remotion of their oil, and holding a bulk of workers being from the part the workss were in. 40 % of all Shell oil spills were in Nigeria. Had they had a better system of traveling the oil much of this could hold been averted. Realistically how difficult can it be to set a barrel on a truck and do certain it does non fall off. Gen. Abacha was a powerful dictator with no understanding for the Ogoni people, it would be difficult to convert him to assist them out. But as most work forces like him they relate really good to money. Endangering him with the possible results of go oning the state of affairs as it was could perchance acquire him to deviate some financess back to the Ogoni. The last policy of engaging more Ogoni to work at the workss would at least increase the flow of money back into their community. Had Shell done one or more of these policies this crisis might non hold been every bit atrocious as it was.

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