Manufacturing and Energy

Amnesty International Insists Shell must clean up devastating oil spills in the Niger Delta

Amnesty International’s Head of Business and Human Rights Mark Dummett responded to the news that two Nigerian towns that have been ruined by oil spills have launched lawsuits against Shell in the High Court in London:

In the Niger Delta, more than 13,500 people have now filed lawsuits against Shell, demanding that the firm clean up oil spills that they allege have destroyed their livelihoods, poisoned their wells, and contaminated their land and water, making it impossible for them to produce or fish.

Amnesty supports these two Niger Delta villages, which have been suing Shell for seven years, and is requesting that the firm repair the harm done and pay them for their lost livelihoods.

After 60 years of extremely profitable operations in the region, Shell said in 2021 that it aims to sell its onshore oilfields and assets in the Niger Delta. The fact that Shell has not yet addressed the pervasive and systemic poisoning of Nigerian communities caused by its operations over many years is troubling.

If Shell’s parent corporation in London and its Nigerian subsidiary, the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), are held liable for the harm done to the communities in Nigeria, the case will now go to trial.

“It is difficult to conceive that there would not have been immediate and serious consequences and legal recourse had this amount of contamination and pollution occurred in Europe or North America,” said Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria. Shell should compensate those whose livelihoods have been destroyed and whose health has been impacted, as well as clean up the pollution that the oil has produced in these areas.

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