Today, lead council for Mr. Henry Okah, detained Niger Delta activist, sent a letter to Nigeria's Inspector General of Police to request official copies of communications from 1994 between Shell and the government, allowing the multinational to import arms into the Niger Delta. As detailed in the letter, Mr. Okah is being charged with various crimes including the importation and distribution of various armaments, amounting to treason against the Nigerian Government. It seems Okah's lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, is attempting to prove that the Nigerian Army, with the consent of the Federal Government, has been likewise at the heart of flooding the Niger Delta with arms and creating an environment of instability and social chaos.
Here is the letter:
June 9, 2008
The Inspector-General of Police,
Louis Edet House,
REQUEST FOR CERTIFIED TRUE COPY OF APPROVAL GIVEN TO THE SHELL PETROLEUM DEVELOPMENT COMPANY NIGERIA LIMITED TO IMPORT ARMS AND AMMUNITION TO THE NIGER DELTA.
We are Solicitors to Henry Okah who is currently standing trial for treason, treasonable felony and related offences at the Federal High Court.
Specifically, our client is alleged to have committed treason by providing “250,000 assault rifles, General Purpose Machine Guns, Rocket Propelled Launchers/Canisters, Bazookas and assorted ammunition to armed groups” in the Niger Delta to levy war against the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
However, in the course of preparing our client’s defence we traced the proliferation of arms and ammunition in the Niger Delta to the Nigerian Army and The Shell Petroleum Development Company Nigeria Limited.
In the circumstances, we hereby apply for a Certified True Copy of the Approval dated 20th July 1994 given to The Shell Petroleum Development Company Nigeria Limited to import arms and ammunition to the Niger Delta.
It is hoped that this application will be favourably considered having regard to Section 36(6) of the Constitution which provides that every person charged with a criminal offence shall be entitled to be given “adequate time and facilities required for the preparation of his defence”.
Kindly find attached the relevant documents on the matter.
FEMI FALANA Esq.