Amnesty International has emphasised that a prominent energy company, Shell, must make every effort to clean up devastating oil spills in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.
According to Amnesty International’s Head of Business and Human Rights, Mr Mark Dummett, this is the right thing for the organisation to do.
Mr Dummett was reacting to reports that two Nigerian communities have filed claims against Shell at the High Court in London.
“More than 13,500 residents from the Ogale and Bille communities in the Niger Delta have now filed claims against Shell asking that the company clean up oil spills which they say have wrecked their livelihoods, poisoned their wells, and polluted their land and water, which means they can no longer farm or fish.
“Amnesty stands by these two communities in the Niger Delta, which have been engaged in litigation against Shell for seven years, asking that the company clean up the damage caused and compensate them for their lost livelihoods.
“Shell announced in 2021 that it plans to sell its onshore oilfields and assets in the Niger Delta after 60 years of highly profitable operations in the area. It is concerning that Shell has not explained how it plans to address the widespread and systemic pollution of Nigerian communities linked to its operations over many years before it sells up and leaves.
“This case is now proceeding to trial to determine whether Shell’s parent company in London, as well as its Nigerian subsidiary the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), is legally responsible for the harm caused to the communities in Nigeria,” Mr Dummett said.
Also, the Director of Amnesty International Nigeria, Osai Ojigho, while commenting on the matter, stated that, “Had this level of contamination and pollution occurred in Europe or North America, it is hard to imagine that there would not have been swift and severe consequences and legal redress.
“Shell should clean up the pollution the oil has caused in these communities and compensate those whose livelihoods have been devastated and whose health has been harmed.”