Nigerians take Shell campaign to Jersey

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The Channel island of Jersey is being urged to throw out the multi-national oil giant Shell after allegations that the conglomerate has "blood on its hands". The island's government is being asked to expel the firm in solidarity with oppressed Ogoni tribes people in Nigeria.

Senator Stuart Syvret told the States of Jersey, the Island parliament, that Shell's actions in Nigeria had unleashed an "environmental nightmare" and he claims Shell should not be allowed to renew its lease on land at the island's airport used to store aviation fuel. Shell also owns 60 per cent of the oil storage plant at the harbour in St Helier.

Tonight a delegation from the London association of the Ogoni tribe will attend a public meeting in Jersey to give their version of the bitter feud with Shell. The Jersey "parliament" will vote tomorrow afternoon to decide if Shell should be allowed to renew its lease.

Shell has admitted buying arms for the Nigerian police who guard its installations - 107 handguns bought 15 years ago - but it claims this is normal practice for any corporation operating in the country.

Spokesman Eric Nickson said: "These guns were purchased through the Nigerian police. They are purely for issue to police protecting Shell locations."

However, Terry Ndee, general secretary of the Ogoni Community Association, said: "Would a company really procure weapons for the police of a military administration? There's something seriously wrong."

Ken Soar, Shell's representative in Jersey said if the States refuse to renew the airport lease it will indicate that Shell is not welcome in Jersey. "We own 60 per cent of the fuel oil operation in Jersey. One hundred jobs are at stake."