Industry experts have found that a controversial deal with Eni and Shell has led to Nigeria losing an estimated $6 billion.
The campaign group Global Witness has calculated that only £164 million was kept by the Nigerian government, who missed out on an amount double the county’s annual education and healthcare budget.
Ava Lee, a campaigner at Global Witness, told the BBC: “We discovered that Shell had constructed a deal that cut Nigeria out of their share of profit oil from the block.”
“This amount of money would be enough to educate six million teachers in Nigeria. It really can’t be underestimated just how big a deal this could be for a country that right now has the highest rates of extreme poverty in the world.”
“Looking at the emails it seems that Shell knew that the deal they were constructing was misleading but they went ahead with it anyway even though a number of Nigerian officials raised concerns about this scandalous, scandalous deal,” she added.
The former Nigerian oil minister, Dan Etete, was previously found guilty of money laundering.
Both Shell and Eni have denied any wrongdoing in the deal. A court in Milan is considering charges of corruption against the Italian and Anglo-Dutch groups.
Shell said in a statement:
“Since this matter is before the Tribunal of Milan it would not be appropriate for us to comment in detail. Issues that are under consideration as part of a trial process should be adjudicated in court and we do not wish to interfere with this process.”
“We maintain that the settlement was a fully legal transaction and we believe the trial judges in Italy will conclude that there is no case against Shell or its former employees.”