The US embassy cables
WikiLeaks cables: Shell's grip on Nigerian state revealed
US embassy cables reveal top executive's claims that company 'knows everything' about key decisions in government ministries
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* David Smith in Lagos
* guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 8 December 2010 21.34 GMT
* Article history
Nigerian oil, Shell: Despite billions of dollars in oil revenue, 70% of people in Nigeria live below the poverty line. Photograph: George Osodi/AP
The oil giant Shell claimed it had inserted staff into all the main ministries of the Nigerian government, giving it access to politicians' every move in the oil-rich Niger Delta, according to a leaked US diplomatic cable.
The company's top executive in Nigeria told US diplomats that Shell had seconded employees to every relevant department and so knew "everything that was being done in those ministries". She boasted that the Nigerian government had "forgotten" about the extent of Shell's infiltration and was unaware of how much the company knew about its deliberations.
The cache of secret dispatches from Washington's embassies in Africa also revealed that the Anglo-Dutch oil firm swapped intelligence with the US, in one case providing US diplomats with the names of Nigerian politicians it suspected of supporting militant activity, and requesting information from the US on whether the militants had acquired anti-aircraft missiles.