Which country has the worst geographical disadvantage
Soil contamination, water and air pollution in the Niger Delta
Oil and gas have been produced in the Niger Delta since 1958. The massive pollution and destruction of living space cost thousands of people their lives, despite mass protests by the ethnic groups living there. The destruction of the environment and the habitat in the Niger Delta as a result of oil production are presented in detail in a report by Amnesty International.
Nigeria's environmental problems are most serious in the Niger Delta, where oil and gas are extracted. The destruction of arable land and mangrove forests, the contamination of fish-rich waters and increasing air pollution are directly related to the uncontrolled natural gas and oil production - such as the flaring of natural gas, the spillage of oil and poor maintenance of the pipelines. Although the environmentally harmful effects are known, the devastating practice of flaring has not been completely stopped even after more than 40 years. The pictures of Ed Kashi in National Geographic and Robin Hinsch in "The Guardian" show how fatal the pollution is. The full extent of the oil spill in the Niger Delta is illustrated by short videos. At the request of the Nigerian government, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) carried out an independent analysis of the oil pollution in Ogoniland and the Niger Delta. The UNEP came to the conclusion that decontamination of the Niger Delta was urgently needed. According to this, in addition to the blatant pollution of the landscape, 90% of the groundwater is contaminated by petroleum. In 2018, the Nigerian government finally began clean-up operations in the Niger Delta, which can take up to 25 years to clear the landscape of the worst pollution.
To this day, the big oil companies have hardly taken any responsibility for the pollution they cause. The lawsuit brought by five Nigerian farmers who held the British-Dutch company Shell responsible for the contamination of their villages in the Niger Delta with oil in a Dutch court was rejected in January 2013.
In June 2014, however, a British court found the Shell oil company responsible for one of the largest oil disasters in the Niger Delta for the first time and sentenced it to pay millions in damages. In January 2015, the oil company reached an out-of-court settlement with around 15,600 plaintiffs, fishermen and farmers from Bodo in the Niger Delta, on compensation payments totaling 55 million pounds (70 million euros).
In June 2017, four "Ogoni" widows from the Niger Delta filed another lawsuit against Shell in the Netherlands. In the 1990s, the Ogoni had fought against the pollution of their living space by oil production. The protest was bloodily suppressed by dictator Sani Abacha. In the indictment, Shell is charged with complicity in the November 1995 murder of the four men.
According to a report by Amnesty International (published December 2017), Shell also supported the military government of Sani Abacha (1993-1998) in brutally cracking down protests against pollution in the Niger Delta in the 1990s. In the report, Amnesty International concluded - on the basis of thousands of internal documents, testimony and archival material - that Shell played a key role in suppressing the protests in Ogoni Land.
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