Growing up down south, Shell’s presence was enormously felt in my life because they had so many gas stations around that they were practically on top of each other! Although Shell’s gas seemed to always be a little “pricey” at times, people were willing to spend the extra money for its gas because it was known to be of a higher quality than its competitors. I also have a family member who is a manager at one of the gas stations in my area, so I view Shell in a positive light. However, upon reading the Shell case in class, I found the incident between Saro-wiwa and the Nigerian government to be very disturbing. I could not believe that Shell did not do more to try to help Saro-wiwa out.
For example, they could have used their dealings with the Nigerian government as leverage. They could have stated that if the government did not offer him fair proceedings, then they would cut off their relationship with them. Shell could have even looked into the case or acquired the best U.S. attorneys that money could buy in order to accurately and efficiently get to the bottom of matters at hand. Afterall, they were making tons of money in Nigeria so what would the cost of a few attorneys matter to them. Moreover, if Shell would have went all out for Saro-wiwa, this could have faired well with the public giving Shell a better image. But what really rubbed me the wrong way was how their operations affected so many lives and they did not take any ownership of it, but instead blamed it on sabotage. How can your company’s pipelines be woven throughout people’s yards and you take no responsibility in the harmful consequences that result because of it? Insane!
But if this was not enough, I found a recent blog, WashAfrica, about a recent happening involving Shell’s oil leaking from their pipelines and plaguing farmers and fishermen in Nigeria. Shell is now being sued because of it. Well I guess the saying, ” History tends to repeat itself”, is true after all. To my astonishment, Shell’s defense was that they could not be held responsible for the leaks because they occurred as a result of sabotage! Does this sound familiar or does this sound familiar? I believe it sounds familiar indeed! Shell should grow some “kahunas” and man up to its problems, solve them and be more responsible in the future.