Polluted by the oil industry: Life in Nigeria's Ogoniland

REVISITED
REVISITED © FRANCE 24

The Ogoniland area of southern Nigeria is one of the most polluted places on Earth. The crops are burnt to a cinder, ash and tar smother the land and the wells are polluted with oil, making the water totally undrinkable. Entire communities have suffered as their way of life has been destroyed by the oil industry. Our reporters take you to Ogoniland, in the Niger Delta, where pollution has become the norm.

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The problem is not new: oil was first discovered in Ogoniland in 1957. The UN says it will take 30 years of effort to clean up the mess. Amnesty International accuses the Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell of turning a blind eye to or even helping the military's use of rape, torture and unlawful killings amid protests against pollution and poverty back in the 1990s. Many of the issues are now subject to a series of past and ongoing court cases, both in Nigeria and abroad. In one of the latest cases, the UK Supreme Court ruled that oil-polluted communities can indeed sue Shell in the British courts.

Some cleaning up of the area is being carried out. For its part, Shell is often not disputing the huge pollution, but saying many of the leaks are due to sabotage, and that it cannot be held responsible for its Nigerian subsidiary.  It also says the subsidiary is working hard to clean up and to ensure new spills do not happen again. But is that really the case? FRANCE 24's Moïse Gomis and Emmanuelle Sodji report from Ogoniland.

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