Nigeria: Bayelsa state launches new inquiry into the environmental and human damage caused by oil spills in the Niger Delta

Author: Bukola Adebayo, CNN, Published on: 1 April 2019

"Major new inquiry into oil spills in Nigeria's Niger Delta launched", 26 March 2019.

A major new inquiry into oil companies operating in the Niger Delta has been launched by the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu. The probe will investigate "environmental and human damage" in Nigeria's vast oil fields...This new commission, convened by Bayelsa Governor Seriake Dickson, says that it wants to make oil companies in the region more accountable...Big oil spills are common in the Niger Delta where over 40 million liters of crude oil is spilled annually, resulting in human deaths and damage to the local ecosystem...Experts from the United Nations Environment Programme, (UNEP) in the first scientific survey of the area found that people in Ogoniland had "lived with chronic oil pollution throughout their lives."...

Oil companies expected to clean up spills within 24 hours under Nigerian law have also been accused of falling short of this obligation. In a 2018 report, Amnesty International accused Shell and Eni, the two major operators in the Niger Delta, of negligence in their response to oil spills in the area. The campaign group said the companies' "irresponsible approach" to oil spills had worsened the environmental crisis in the Niger Delta, an allegation both companies have since denied. Shell in an emailed statement to CNN last year said the report failed to acknowledge the complex environment in which the company operates in the region. "Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria, in collaboration with government regulators, responds to spill incidents as quickly as it can and cleans up spills from its facilities regardless of the cause. We regularly test our emergency spill response procedures and capability to ensure staff and contractors can respond rapidly to an incident," Shell said at the time...

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Related companies: Eni Shell