By Zik Gbemre

It is really sad and rather unfortunate that ephemeral gains/benefit and profits in corporate business has become far more important and valuable than ‘human lives’. It makes one to wonder what the world is turning into. This was the exact impression we got when recently, the Shell CEO Ben van Beurden was straightforward in what he publicly stated at the 2014 AGM of Royal Dutch Shell Plc. The Shell CEO said that “Shell puts the interests of its shareholders first, above any geopolitical considerations.” And according to the earlier post on this subject; “that is his excuse for Shell’s dealings with evil regimes in Iran and Russia, irrespective of sanctions.”

The said statement credited to Royal Dutch Shell CEO, Ben van Beurden, can best be described as the most careless, callous, inhuman, non-empathetic and cruel statement disposition by such an oil giant. With this statement, it means that in spite of the condemnable attacks on Ukraine by Russia; in spite of the untimely deaths of 298 people that were lost (which includes Four Shell employees and 193 citizens of The Netherlands) in the crash of MH Flight 17; and in spite of the sanctions from the United States of America (USA) and EU on Russia, Shell still wants to continue its BUSINESS AS USAUAL in Russia. How does this stand by the Shell CEO, in any way justify its PRINCIPLES of “core values of honesty, integrity and respect for people?” 

by this statement, as credited to Shell CEO, Shell is telling the whole world that “profit first and the interest of its stakeholders” before anything else, including the lives of the citizens where Shell operates. That is the most ‘cold’ and inhuman disposition any corporate entity should stand on. It therefore means that Shell can also sponsor, aid and abate crimes against humanity in countries where it operates; just to protect and project its profit-oriented “business as usual”. And if we take a look at SHELL GENERAL BUSINESS PRINCIPLES (link: it means that all Shell is all about is to talk of high moral principles ONLY ON PAPER but in REALITY, it is a different ball game all together.

The above statement by Shell CEO simply justifies the fact that WHAT IS MORE IMPORTANT TO SHELL IS BUSINESS PROFITS OVER HUMAN LIVES AND HUMANITY AS A WHOLE. And like we said in our last letter on similar subject, Shell would rather continue smiling to the banks and turn a blind eye to all the atrocities daily committed by its host country – Russia in Ukraine. This automatically places Shell in the same position as Russia, as those perpetrating the crises in Ukraine and parts of Europe, including the missile-shot Jetliner MH17.

It is in this light that we believe that, if Royal Dutch Shell does not stop its operations in Russia (as a way of registering that the company is not in support with what Russia is doing in Ukraine), in the next few days, then we ask that the European Union (EU) and United States of America (USA) should place sanctions on Shell, for practically fueling, aiding and supporting Russia’s onslaught in Ukraine.

This is the only action on Shell that we believe would send a clear message to others of its kind to change their company policies and actions when it comes to “human lives against business interests.” The Shell CEO needs to understand this fact that, no amount of business interests of company stakeholders can be used to equate or replace the life of one single individual. There is need for the US and EU to seriously sanction Shell if the company does not stop its operations in Russia. We ask that the right thing should be done for posterity and humanity sake. 


Zik Gbemre, JP

National Coordinator, Niger Delta Peace Coalition (NPDC)