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AI: Shell can’t rely on Nigeria to clean up its ‘dirty work’

Ahead of the the federal government’s clean up of Ogoniland, Amnesty International has asked Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) to accept responsibility for continuous oil and environment pollution in the Niger Delta.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the human rights organisation said massive pollution from Shell’s oil facilities, including at least 130 oil spills from in 2015, have caused havoc in the environment, leading to several emergencies.

“Scores of oil spills from Shell operations in the Niger Delta have yet to be properly cleaned up, and even sites the multi-national company claims to have cleaned remain polluted. To make matters worse, there were at least 130 oil spills from Shell operations in 2015,” said Joe Westby, business and human rights campaigner at Amnesty International.

“The Niger Delta is one of the most oil-polluted places in the world. That is because companies like Shell are failing to prevent or clean up spills years, sometimes decades, after they happen. Shell cannot rely on the Nigerian government to clean up its dirty work for it.”

Amnesty says it is a tragedy that Shell’s activities caused thousand of Niger-Deltans their livelihood yet the company continues to shift blame, “lie about fictitious clean-ups”, instead of accepting responsibility despite evidences showing its “grave guilt” in the environmental pollution of the region.

“Whatever their cause, Nigerian law still says that the company which operates the pipeline has to clean up. That is something Shell has failed to do for decades,” Westby said.

“The start of the clean-up is a much-needed, long-awaited step for people who have lived with polluted waters and farmlands for decades. They have a right to be skeptical, they have seen clean-ups promised and people paid to do the work in the past, only for little improvements to be delivered. This time the rhetoric must translate into action on the ground.”