Despite a long history of blatant environmental and human rights abuses in Nigeria, Shell denied in a Dutch public hearing this week allegations of using "nontransparent, inconsistent and misleading figures" regarding the causes of oil leaked in the Niger Delta.The hearing was called by the Dutch Parliament's Economic Affairs Committee after Friends of the Earth and Amnesty International filed a complaint with Dutch officials.
Ian Craig, head of Shell Exploration & Production for Sub-Saharan Africa, told the hearing: "We do bear some responsibility, but we cannot bear it entirely."
John Ghazvinian, author of "Untapped: The Scramble for Africa's Oil," says, "In the last 50 years over all of the Nigerian oil industry roughly the equivalent of one Exxon Valdez oil spill has been spilt every year."
But Shell maintains that the majority—70 percent—of the oil spills are caused by sabotage, even though it also admitted the number of spills remains "unacceptably high."
234Next reports that Geert Ritsema, Friends of the Earth Netherlands campaigner who spoke at the Parliamentary hearing, said, "It was clear that a lot of members of parliament were unsatisfied by Shell's answers."
"Shell would never act this way in Holland. We hope this will mean the beginning of a political process to create a frame of laws that will force Shell and other companies to act responsibly in other countries as well."
Shells presence was supposed to bring economic development to Nigeria, but corruption prevents royalties from getting where they're supposed to—a problem Shell is in no way detached from, if not actively perpetuating.
Instead, spills continue and are never cleaned up, leaving the air, soil, and water all polluted and damaged—and in the Niger Delta, villages don't have anything resembling water treatment plants to remove pollutants from the water people are drinking and bathing in.
The company has no plans to leave the country anytime soon.
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