Amnesty International said the claims by oil giant, Shell, that it has cleaned up heavily polluted areas of the Niger Delta have been are “blatantly false.”
Amnesty International and the Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development (CEHRD) disclosed this in a new report published in Abuja, yesterday.
The report titled: “Clean it up: Shell’s false claims about oil spills in the Niger Delta,” documents ongoing contamination at four oil spill sites that Shell said it had cleaned up years ago.
Amnesty International said “the report is being published to mark the 20th anniversary of the execution, on 10 November, 1995, of the environmental activist and writer, Ken Saro-Wiwa, who campaigned tirelessly against the damage caused by the oil industry in the Niger Delta.
“By inadequately cleaning up the pollution from its pipelines and wells, Shell is leaving thousands of women, men and children exposed to contaminated land, water and air, in some cases for years or even decades.”
Mark Dummett, Business and Human Rights researcher at Amnesty International, said “Oil spills have a devastating impact on the fields, forests and fisheries that the people of the Niger Delta depend on for their food and livelihood. Anyone who visits these spill sites can see and smell for themselves how the pollution has spread across the land.”
The report also documents the failure of the Nigerian government to regulate the oil industry.
According to AI, the Federal Government’s watchdog, “the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), is under-resourced and continues to certify areas as clean that are visibly polluted with crude oil.
“As people in Nigeria and around the world remember Ken Saro-Wiwa and the eight other Ogoni leaders who were executed in 1995, Shell and the government of Nigeria cannot ignore the terrible legacy of the oil industry in the Niger Delta.”
Stevyn Obodoekwe, CEHRD’s Director of Programmes, said “for many people of the region, oil has brought nothing but misery. The quality of life of people living surrounded by oil fumes, oil encrusted soil and rivers awash with crude oil is appalling, and has been for decades.”