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fire; afterward, a representative from Willbros praised the troops’ actions. After the incident, Udofia wrote to the military governor, requesting “the usual assistance” so the work on the pipeline could proceed. Shell defended its position, stating that the company is required by law to contact the Nigerian authorities in the event of a disturbance, and that otherwise contact with the Nigerian military is limited. But a 1994 article in the Multinational Monitor, by Greenpeace campaigner Steve Kretzman, suggested that a revolving door exists between the management of Shell and the Nigerian government. For example, two prominent Nigerian officials, Chief Rufus Ada George, the former governor of the River State Region where Ogoniland is located, and Ernest Shonenkan, former President of Nigeria \(preceding current dictator both Shell alumni. Human Rights Watch says Shell representatives meet regularly with the director of the local security service, and with Lt. Colonel Paul Okuntimo, Danu commander of the Internal Security Task Force. Okuntimo reportedly admitted to detained Ogoni activists that he had been “risking his life” to protect Shell Oil installations. A spokeswoman for Shell Oil Company in Houston declined to comment directly on the “highly complex” Nigerian situation, saying only that the American subsidiary has no operations or employees in Nigeria. She directed all inquiries to the London offices of Shell’s Nigerian subsidiary. But she also called attention to a two-page advertisement published in The New York Times purports to represent the viewpoint of a Nigerian citizen defending the executions of Saro-Wiwa and the other activists. But, critics of the Nigerian military regime have pointed out that the ad parrots the military’s version of events, and its cost \(more than one hundred thousand dolNigerian government. Julius Ihonvbere is a professor of government at the University of Texas, and president of the Organization of Nigerians in America, which took part in protests of the executions at the state capitol in Austin and at Shell’s offices in Houston. He argued that while Shell Oil Company does not have direct operations in Nigeria, they are part of the same multi-national corpo rate body, and that while claiming no involvement, they have been quietly sustaining and disseminating Royal Dutch/Shell’s position. Ihonvbere described the Times ad as a notorious instance of Nigerian government propaganda: “So [for Shell Oil Company] to point to that advertisement [in] defense of their position, to me is a clear demonstration that they know what is the anti-apartheid movement in the 1980s, U.S. activists were pressuring companies to divest their holdings in South Africa. Shell responded to a boycott by hiring the PR firm Pagan International and developing what they called the “Neptune Strategy”recruiting a front group of black clergy, the “Coalition of Southern Africa.” The ostensible purpose of COSA was to develop black-black business links between South Africa and the United States, to promote education and training for South African blacks, and to pressure the South African government to end apartheid. But according to Donna Katzin, one of the leaders of the boycott against Shell, the COSA was in fact a front group created to “divide and weaken the position of the religious community with regard to South Africa.” Other companies with South African operations began pointing to the COSA as proof that not all blacks supported divestment in South Africa. Finally, after someone at Pagan leaked the Neptune Strategy, public embarrassment forced Shell to end its contract with Pagan, and company revenues plunged. In the aftermath of the Saro-Wiwa execution, Shell again finds itself the object of international scorn. The U.S. Congress is considering a bill that would impose sanctions against Nigeria. Human rights groups are calling for a boycott of Shell gas stations worldwide. And on the day of the Nigerian executions, the Interna ALAN POGUE tional Finance Corpora tion \(the investment arm with Shell in the Ogoni region, where the company intends to resume operations. The IFC cited “macroeconomic considerations,” and also hinted that it would ask its members to veto a one-hundred-milliondollar loan planned for the project. “Their [the activists] bodies weren’t even cold before Shell started plans to re sume operations in the region,” said Mike Fleshman of the Africa Fund. “Even the World Bank was uncomfortable doing busi ness in the Ogoni region after the deaths of Saro-Wiwa and the oth ers.” Greenpeace’ s Kretzman doubts that the loss of one hundred million dollars will hurt Shell, but he believes that the action of the IFC has added fuel to a growing coalition of groups pushing for an oil embargo against Nigeria and Shell. “This is by far the largest growing coalition of groups that I have seen,” Kretz man said. “The groups include environmen talists, labor, human rights groups and civil rights organizations. This has the potential to be even larger than the coalition that helped to end apartheid in South Africa.” Shell remains defiant and says it plans to go ahead with the Ogoniland project before the end of the year. Speaking to the indus try publication Oil and Gas Journal, a spokesman for Shell said that it’s too early Mark, Kea Village, Nigeria going on there, they are involved in what is going on there, and they are as responsible as any other branch of Shell.” [see related interview, page 9] Other observers have noted that Shell’s current embarrassments in Nigeria are not without precedent. “Shell activities in Nigeria are not isolated incidents,” says John Stauber, editor of the newsletter PR Watch. According to Stauber, Shell has engaged in similar activities in other parts of Africa. For example, during the height of “Their [the activists’] bodies weren’t even cold before Shell started plans to resume operations in the region.” 8 JANUARY 12, 1996