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BBC News: Nigeria oil spills ‘spark environmental genocide’

The Archbishop of York has called for urgent action to stop the oil spills that are devastating communities in Nigeria’s Bayelsa state.

Speaking exclusively to the BBC ahead of the interim report of the Bayelsa State Oil and Environmental Commission, which he chairs, the archbishop said that a slow environmental genocide is taking place.

Bayelsa is the region where oil was first discovered in the country in the 1950s. There are hundreds of oil spills each year in Nigeria, some caused by equipment failure – others by sabotage.

Dr John Sentamu, who is the second most senior clergyman in the Church of England, said that oil companies needed to end a culture of double standards in Nigeria.

He accused Shell, AGIP and other oil companies of reaping environmental devastation and ignoring pleas for assistance from the people of Bayelsa.

Both Shell and AGIP say that they follow international standards and best practices and work in accordance with local laws.

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