Toxic mud swamps fortunes of Niger Delta women years after oil spill

Ogoniland women produce most of the family’s food but the twin pressures of land grabs and pollution are making it impossible for them to survive.

Their creek is in Ogoniland, in the heart of the oil-producing Niger Delta, the source of most of Nigeria’s wealth. But they and thousands of women who live in the region are destitute.

Devastating pollution, government land grabs without compensation and ever-increasing violence on top of a strong patriarchal culture are making it near-impossible for many women, in what was once Nigeria’s land of plenty, to survive and sustain their families.

Oil suffuses the creeks and wells many miles downstream from Shell’s decade-old spill sites in Ogoniland.

The few fish and shellfish left are coated in oil; crops cannot grow; the drinking water is poisoned. Entire communities have had to move away.

The UN said in 2011 it would cost $1bn to clean up the spills, around a third of which is to be provided by Shell, and the rest by other stakeholders in the Shell Petroleum Development Corporation Joint Venture (SPDC). A government agency, the hydrocarbon pollution remediation project (Hyprep), was set up to organise it. An initial $10m was released.

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Source: The Guardian

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