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Shell questioned on oil spills in Nigeria

WASHINGTON, Jan. 25 (UPI) — Royal Dutch Shell has a disastrous legacy of environmental damage through its lengthy involvement in the Nigerian oil sector, advocacy groups charge.

Shell faces questions Wednesday before the Dutch Parliament regarding its activity in the oil-rich Niger Delta region. Amnesty International and Friends of the Earth International announced they had filed formal complaints with the British and Dutch governments over Shell’s failure to take responsibility for the majority of the oil pollution in the region.

The advocacy groups said Shell in the 1990s took responsibility for much of the oil pollution in the Niger Delta. Now, however, the company is blaming sabotage by rebel groups for more than 90 percent of the oil spills in the region, the groups claim.

The advocacy groups note that under Nigerian law, Shell doesn’t have any liability for the oil spills if the environmental damage is found to be the result of sabotage

Nnimmo Bassey, who heads the Friends of the Earth branch in Nigeria, said evidence contradicts Shell’s claims in the Niger Delta.

“Several studies have placed the bulk of the blame for oil spills in the Niger Delta on the doorsteps of the oil companies; particularly Shell,” he said in a statement. “It should take its responsibility and clean up the mess it made in our country.”

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