Friday, 11 November 2011

Report: “The True Tragedy In Niger Delta” By Amnesty International

Photo Credit: Amnesty International
“The Nigerian regulators appear to have taken no meaningful independent action at all, leaving the Bodo community at the mercy of a private company with a poor track record in addressing oil spills. The combined fall-out is devastating. All oil spills cause Damage, but failing to stop a spill, and to clean it up swiftly and properly, substantially increases the damage inflicted on the environment and on local people’s human rights.

This report is based on ongoing research including a visit to Bodo in May 2011 by Amnesty International and the Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development (CEHRD). CEHRD is an NGO and local partner of Amnesty International in the Niger Delta. The True “Tragedy” details the human cost of the oil spills in Bodo three years on. It outlines Nigeria’s obligations to address this under human rights law and the company’s internationally recognized responsibility to respect human rights. It examines how the protracted delays in reacting to the spills and subsequent failure to clean up the pollution have exacerbated human suffering and environmental damage. It also highlights the successive corporate and regulatory failures in the aftermath of the disaster.

In this report, Amnesty International and CEHRD are calling on Shell to finally address the “tragedy” it acknowledged responsibility for in 2008. The company must now undertake a comprehensive clean-up of the affected area, and properly compensate the people whose lives have been devastated by the oil spill.

This report argues that Shell’s failure to comply with Nigerian regulations for a timely and proper clean-up represents the true tragedy of the Bodo disaster. The company’s inaction and non-compliance, and the Nigerian government’s lack of regulatory enforcement, amount to a sustained assault on the economic, social and cultural rights of the people of Bodo.

Amnesty International and CEHRD are urging the Nigerian government to establish and enforce effective regulations that will hold the oil industry to account when spills occur. In July, September and October 2011, Amnesty International asked Shell for a response to the issues raised in this report. The organization also shared its Findings with the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), NOSDRA and the Nigerian National Petroleum

Corporation, and requested a response under Nigeria’s Freedom of Information Act.
Both NOSDRA and Shell responded. NOSDRA addressed some of the issues; however, Shell stated that as the Bodo spills were the subject of legal proceedings, the company was unable to respond to the allegations and questions raised by this report as directly as it would like to.”

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