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Royal Dutch Shell Plc has failed to clean up four oil-spill sites in the crude-producing Niger River delta, three of which an under-resourced Nigerian regulator dealing with leakages said had been decontaminated, Amnesty International said in a report on Tuesday.
At Shell’s Bomu Well 11, Amnesty researchers found blackened soil and oil layers on the water 45 years after a spill took place, despite the company saying it cleaned the area in 1975 and 2012. At the three other sites, certified as clean by the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, or Nosdra, researchers also found soil and water contaminated close to where people lived, the rights group said.
“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, a London-based business and human-rights researcher at Amnesty, said in a statement. “Anyone who visits these spill sites can see and smell for themselves how the pollution has spread across the land.”
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said in August he’s accelerating plans for one of the world’s largest oil cleanups following 50 years of spillage at operations in the Ogoniland region of the Niger delta. Amnesty timed the release of its report a week ahead of with the 20-year anniversary of the death of Ogoniland activist and environmentalist Ken Saro-Wiwa, who campaigned for oil-spill compensation and was hanged by the then military government.