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Niger Delta Oil Pollution

1958

“An estimated nine to thirteen million barrels of oil [PDF] are spilled in the Niger Delta over fifty years since commercial oil production begins there in 1958, mainly from oil operations jointly owned by Shell and the Nigerian government, making the delta one of the most polluted areas in the world. Civil unrest flares over how the government distributes oil wealth; and there are incidents of militants kidnapping and killing oil workers, blowing up pipelines, and stealing oil. Nigeria also faces unrest over extensive damage to fisheries as well as water and soil quality. In 2008, four Nigerian farmers file a lawsuit in a Dutch court against Shell, but the court dismisses most claims. Shell says only a small percentage of the spills are from operations failures and that most are caused by sabotage and theft stemming from the country’s internal conflict. In 2009, the company settles a lawsuit accusing it of colluding with the government in the 1995 executions of six activists but it admits no wrongdoing.” Council on Foreign Relations

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