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Nigeria: United Nations Environment Programme assessment reveals contamination from oil pollution worse than previously thought, threatens human health

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Article
27 September 2011

UNEP report to trigger more lawsuits [Nigeria]

Author: Ifeoma Ikeji, Business Day [Nigeria]

Observers have noted that the report of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on Ogoniland will trigger more lawsuits on oil pollution in the Niger Delta environment. According to this group, the report has made readily available the needed technical evidence which was missing in such lawsuits in the past. A group of Ogoni activists, under the auspices of Ogoni Civil Society Platform (OCSP), during a recent rally in Bori, headquarters of Khana Local Government Area, said many aggrieved community people were already preparing for legal actions against oil companies.

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Company response
10 August 2011

Response by Shell: United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) assessment reveals contamination from oil pollution worse than previously thought, threatens human health & Amnesty Intl. comment.

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Article
10 August 2011

SPDC welcomes UNEP report and responds to recommendations

Author: Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria

SPDC Managing Director Mutiu Sunmonu said: "This report makes a valuable contribution towards improving understanding of the issue of oil spills and the environment in Ogoniland and we pledge to work with the government, UNEP and others on the next steps. I agree completely with the UNEP report that we also need the authorities to take concerted action to curb the illegal activities, in particular oil theft and refining, that are exacerbating so many of the environmental and social issues. Unless these activities are brought to a halt, any action we take will be of limited impact.”...SPDC has not produced oil and gas in Ogoniland since 1993...Importantly, the report identifies eight emergency measures. SPDC will support the government, UNEP and others in implementing these measures as soon as possible. The report also makes three recommendations that relate specifically to SPDC. SPDC supports these recommendations.

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Article
6 August 2011

UN’s Niger Delta Report: Ogoni, ERA, Mitee, reject report

Author: Uduma Kalu & Jimitota Onoyume, Vanguard [Nigeria]

NNPC…through its spokesman…[said] that it would not pay. “There is no question of paying because we already cleaned up all the spills,”…in reaction to the $1 billion proposal and comments made by UNEP that spills were not cleaned up.

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Article
4 August 2011

UN confirms massive oil pollution in Niger Delta

Author: Amnesty Intl.

The oil company Shell has had a disastrous impact on the human rights of the people living in the Niger Delta in Nigeria, said Amnesty International, responding to a UN report on the effects of oil pollution in Ogoniland in the Delta region...“This report proves Shell has had a terrible impact in Nigeria, but has got away with denying it for decades, falsely claiming they work to best international standards,” said Amnesty International Global Issues Director, Audrey Gaughran

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Article
4 August 2011

[DOC] Open letter on oil spills from the Managing Director of the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd (SPDC)

Author: Managing Director of the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC)

Oil spills in the Niger Delta are a tragedy, and the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) takes them very seriously. That is why we have always accepted responsibility for paying compensation when they occur as a result of operational failure. SPDC has always acknowledged that the two spills in the Bodo area in 2008, which are the focus of extensive media reports today, were caused by such operational failure. Even when, as is true in the great majority of cases, spills are caused by illegal activity such as sabotage or theft, we are also committed to cleaning up spilt oil and restoring the surrounding land. It is unfortunate that inaccurate reporting has created the impression that SPDC in particular and oil companies in general are responsible for all oil spills in Nigeria. The two spills at issue here resulted in around 4,000 barrels of oil being spilt. It is regrettable that any oil is spilt anywhere, but it is wildly inaccurate to suggest that those two spills represent anything like the scale which some reports refer to. Equally, speculation by the plaintiffs' lawyers as to the level of compensation which may be payable is misguided and massively in excess of the true position. Concerted effort is needed on the part of the Nigerian government (which itself owns a majority interest in the assets operated by SPDC under a joint operating agreement with the Nigerian state oil company, NNPC), working with oil companies and others, to end the blight of illegal refining and oil theft in the Niger Delta, both of which perpetuate poverty. This is the major cause of the environmental damage which media reports have so graphically illustrated.

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Article
4 August 2011

[PDF] Environmental Assessment of Ogoniland [Nigeria]

Author: United Nations Environment Programme

This report presents the results of an environmental assessment…in Ogoniland, Nigeria. The study covers thematic issues of contaminated land, groundwater, surface water and sediments, vegetation, air pollution and public health…Ogoniland has witnessed recurrent social unrest…over concerns related to oil industry operations…and petroleum related contamination. Although oil industry operations were suspended in Ogoniland in 1993, widespread environmental contamination remains. Upon a request from the Federal Government of Nigeria, UNEP undertook an independent study to determine the extent of the environmental impacts arising from oil industry operations in Ogoniland. This report sets out the background and context to the present-day conditions in Ogoniland, provides a synthesis of UNEP’s findings, and gives a set of overarching recommendations to deal with the multi-faceted environmental challenges currently facing the Ogoni people. [refers to Shell Petroleum Development Company (Nigeria), Shell International, Nigerian National Petroleum Company, Elf, Agip, Port Hardcourt Refining Company, Pipelines and Products Marketing Company, Eleme Petrochemicals Company]

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Article
4 August 2011

[PDF] UNEP Ogoniland Oil Assessment Reveals Extent of Environmental Contamination and Threats to Human Health [Nigeria]

Author: United Nations Environment Programme

A major new independent scientific assessment, carried out by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), shows that pollution from over 50 years of oil operations in the region has penetrated further and deeper than many may have supposed…and action to protect human health and reduce the risks to affected communities should occur without delay…In at least 10 Ogoni communities where drinking water is contaminated with high levels of hydrocarbons, public health is seriously threatened, according to the assessment… In one community, at Nisisioken Ogale…families are drinking water from wells that is contaminated with benzene...a known carcinogen--at levels over 900 times above World Health Organization guidelines. The site is close to a Nigerian National Petroleum Company pipeline…Among its other findings are:…[that] the Shell Petroleum Development Company’s own procedures have not been applied, creating public health and safety issues.

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