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Nigeria: Are Human Rights In The Pipeline

A new report from Amnesty International accuses the Nigerian government of failing to “rigorously protect human rights” in the Niger Delta.

It says that failure is fueling violations of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights in the oil-rich area. The report is entitled – Nigeria: Are Human Rights in the Pipeline. Amnesty says it examines how human rights have been abused because of the practices of some oil companies.

Salil Tripathi is a researcher for Amnesty International. From London, he spoke to English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua about allegations brought against the Shell Petroleum Development Corporation and the Nigerian AGIP Oil Corporation.

He says, “There are several kinds of allegations at play from the communities. One is that there are specific things that communities attribute to acts of companies, such as disrepair or lack of repair of their infrastructure, which leads to a breach in a pipeline and that leads to a spill. And those spills are not being cleaned up. The companies claim these are sabotages and the communities claim that, no, this is because the pipes are very old.”

He also says if the oil companies voluntarily build clinics for local communities, they have a responsibility to maintain them.

The oil companies have said they are sometimes reluctant to pay their share of development funds, alleging local Nigerian agencies lack transparency or efficiency.

The Amnesty report says Nigerian regulations require oil companies to contribute three per cent of their annual investment plans in the country to the Niger Delta Development Commission to fund development activities.

It also says the Nigerian government has been slow in contributing its share to the commission’s budget. There’s been no official response from the oil companies to the report.