A major fire that forced Shell to close its Trans Niger Pipeline in southern Nigeria raises serious questions about the way the oil giant is operating, Amnesty International and the Nigerian National Coalition on Gas Flaring and Oil Spills (NACGOND) said.
The organizations called for an independent inquiry into the events that led to the fire at Bodo in Rivers State – an area already devastated by years of oil pollution.
Eight Shell contractors were arrested by Nigerian security services in connection with the fire that broke out last week (19 June), following an oil spill at a section of the pipeline near Bodo that was being repaired by Shell contractors.
A Shell-led investigation into the cause of the fire is due to begin this week.
Shell claims the fire was a consequence of oil theft. However, community members told NACGOND that in the days leading up to the fire Nigerian security forces prevented anyone other than Shell’s contractors going near the area of the spill. From the shore people saw barges being loaded with oil and taken away from the site.