Shell failed to clean up oil-spill sites: Amnesty

Royal Dutch Shell Plc has failed to clean up four oil-spill sites in the crude-producing Niger River delta, Amnesty International said in a report on Tuesday.

According to the Nigerian regulator dealing with leakages, three of the sites had been decontaminated.

Amnesty researchers found blackened soil and oil layers on the water 45 years after a spill took place at Shell's Bomu Well.

Shell said it cleaned the area in 1975 and 2012. At the three other sites, certified as clean by the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, or Nosdra, researchers additionally found soil and water contaminated close to where people lived, according to Amnesty.

''By inadequately cleaning up the pollution from its pipelines and wells, Shell is leaving thousands of women, men and children exposed to contaminated land, water and air, in some cases for years or even decades,'' Mark Dummett, a London-based business and human-rights researcher at Amnesty, said in a statement.

''Anyone who visits these spill sites can see and smell for themselves how the pollution has spread across the land.''

Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari said in August, plans were being accelerated for one of the world's largest oil cleanups following 50 years of spillage at operations in the Ogoniland region of the Niger delta.

Amnesty said Shell's claims of cleaning up spills that had destroyed the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Nigerians were "false."

The report quoted a contractor as saying his clean-up was "a cover-up."

Rejecting the findings of the Amnesty report, Shell Nigeria said it was "committed to cleaning up all spills" including in Ogoniland, where community protests forced Shell out in 1993.

According to Amnesty, Shell Nigeria did not use the same standards as its European parent company. It went on to accuse Nigeria's government, the majority owner in Shell Nigeria, of an "almost complete failure" to regulate the industry and protect people's rights.