No action from Shell, Nigeria on oil pollution report: Amnesty

Aug 04, 2014
A bank of the Bodo waterway is polluted by spilled crude oil allegedly caused by Shell equipment failure in Ogoniland, Nigeria August 11, 2011

Nigeria and Shell have done almost nothing to ease oil pollution in the Ogoniland area of the Niger Delta, three years after a landmark UN report called for a $1 billion dollar clean-up, Amnesty International said Monday.

Environmental devastation in Ogoniland has for many come to symbolise the tragedy of Nigeria's vast oil wealth.

Decades of crude production filled the pockets of powerful government officials and generated huge profits for oil majors like Shell, while corruption and spills left the people with nothing but land too polluted for farming or fishing.

Exactly three years ago, a United Nations Environment Programme report said the area may require the world's biggest-ever clean-up and called on the oil industry and Nigerian government to contribute $1 billion.

"Three years on and the government and Shell have done little more than set up processes that look like action but are just fig leaves for business as usual," said Godwin Ojo of Friends of the Earth Nigeria, which partnered with Amnesty and three other groups in a new report called "Shell: No Progress".

Shell has not pumped crude from Ogoniland since 1993, when it was forced to pull out because of unrest.

Two years later, environmental activist Ken Saro Wiwa, who had fiercely criticised Shell's presence in Ogoniland, was executed by the regime of dictator Sani Abacha, one of the most condemned episodes in the region's history.

Three years ago, a United Nations Environment Programme report said the Ogoniland area may require the world's biggest-ever clean-up and called on the oil industry and Nigerian government to contribute $1 billion

Nigeria returned to civilian rule in 1999 after Abacha's death, but critics say the governments elected since have done little to improve pollution in the Niger Delta.

"No matter how much evidence emerges of Shell's bad practice, Shell has so far escaped the necessity to clean up the damage it has caused," said Audrey Gaughran of Amnesty International.

In April of 2013, Shell staff returned to Ogoniland for the first time in two decades to study how best to decommission their decaying assets in the region.

The company described the move as "a key step" in complying with the UNEP report.

Nigeria is Africa's largest producer, pumping out roughly two million barrels per day.

Explore further: California farmers agree to drastically cut water use

Related Stories

Nigerian community urges action on oil devastation

Sep 03, 2012

Nigerians from a region devastated by oil spills on Monday called on the president to take action, more than a year after a UN report said the contamination may require the world's biggest cleanup.

Shell shuts key Nigeria pipeline due to oil leak

Feb 27, 2014

Shell has shut a key oil pipeline in southern Nigeria to stop a leak caused by oil theft and sabotage, a spokesman said on Thursday, without disclosing the volume of output loss.

Nigerian community fights Shell in UK court hearing

Apr 29, 2014

Legal arguments begin in court on Tuesday in a compensation claim brought by about 15,000 members of Nigeria's Bodo community against oil giant Shell for the damage caused by two spills in 2008.

Recommended for you

Pipeline that leaked wasn't equipped with auto shut-off

3 hours ago

The pipeline that leaked thousands of gallons of oil on the California coast was the only pipe of its kind in the county not required to have an automatic shut-off valve because of a court fight nearly three ...

California farmers agree to drastically cut water use

May 23, 2015

California farmers who hold some of the state's strongest water rights avoided the threat of deep mandatory cuts when the state accepted their proposal to voluntarily reduce consumption by 25 percent amid ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.