Nigerian NGOs Call for Shell to Clean Up Pollution Before Selling Land Assets

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Amidst mounting concerns over environmental degradation in the Niger Delta region, a coalition of forty civil society organizations, including Amnesty International, has vehemently opposed the sale of Shell’s onshore assets until the multinational corporation addresses the pollution left in its wake.

In January, the Anglo-Dutch major announced an agreement for the sale of its Niger Delta assets for up to $2.4 billion. An open letter urging Nigerian authorities to halt this sale was issued this Monday.

The signatory NGOs urge the Nigerian government to “refuse legal approval for the sale” of Shell’s land assets, which struck a deal in January with the Renaissance Africa Energy consortium, comprising four Nigerian companies and the company Pétrolin.

Amnesty International highlights “regulatory and legal shortcomings,” namely the absence of environmental assessments and an inventory of the physical assets being sold, “raising concerns about the possible state of disrepair of pipelines and infrastructure responsible for numerous leaks,” according to Amnesty.

There is a “risk” that Shell “pockets its millions of dollars (…) and leaves pollution victims without recourse, in a dangerous situation for their health,” the NGO warns.

“The sale should only be allowed when communities have been fully consulted, environmental pollution (…) thoroughly assessed, and sufficient funds to cover cleanup costs deposited by Shell,” states the open letter released this Monday.

Shell has already been ordered to pay €15 million in compensation to Nigerian farmers for oil spills that severely contaminated three villages, and thousands of fishermen are still seeking compensation from the multinational corporation.

Soukaina Sghir 

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