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Amnesty: Royal Dutch Shell failed to clean Nigeria oil spill sites
Amnesty: Royal Dutch Shell failed to clean Nigeria oil spill sites

[JURIST] Royal Dutch Shell (Shell) [corporate website] has failed to clean oil-polluted areas of the Niger Delta despite the company’s assurances that it has properly handled the oil spills, Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] reported [text, PDF] Monday. Under Nigerian law, any company that controls an oil pipeline or well is responsible for beginning to clean up any spill within 24 hours. AI also claims that Nigeria’s National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) [official website], which is responsible for ensuring completed cleanups, has been making false reports as many spill sites remain contaminated. AI said it attempted to reach out to both Nigeria’s regulatory agency and Shell, but both have failed to reply or comment. AI has previously accused Shell of making false claims about the impact of the oil spills [JURIST report] in court documents [text, PDF] presented to a UK court last November. Shell claimed that only 4,000 barrels of oil spilled in two incidents, but AI believes the number is closer to 100,000 barrels for the first spill alone.

Shell has previously faced legal action in the UK, Netherlands and Nigeria for these oil spills [JURIST news archive] and other cases. In 2012 35 Nigerian villages brought a suit against Shell in a London court alleging [JURIST report] Shell’s slow response in cleaning up two oil spills in a neighboring river. The villages claimed there was continued contamination due to the inadequate clean-up process following the spill. In 2009 a USD $15.5 million settlement [JURIST report] was reached between Shell and the families of nine Nigerian activists who were killed in 1995. In 2006 a Nigerian court in the southern city of Port Harcourt ordered [JURIST report] Shell to pay $1.5 billion to compensate local communities for environmental pollution caused by the company’s activities in the southern Niger Delta region.