Nigerian employees of the Anglo-Dutch oil company Shell ordered the deliberate vandalisation of oil pipelines for personal gain, a documentary in the Netherlands has reported.

Nigerian employees of the Anglo-Dutch oil company Shell ordered the deliberate vandalisation of oil pipelines for personal gain, a documentary in the Netherlands has reported.

Dutch television documentary programme Zembla, together with Dutch environmentalist organisation Milieudefensie, reported in a programme to be aired on Thursday that “multiple witnesses declared that SPDC, a subsidiary of Shell, caused the oil leaks”.

Long-term effects of oil spills in Bodo, Nigeria
“According to sources, Shell employees profit from these intentional oil leaks by pocketing money from clean up budgets,” Zembla said in a press release summarising an 18-month investigation of various leaks between 2010 and the present day.

Zembla added the SPDC, along with the Dutch embassy in Nigeria, were aware of the accusations but had failed to address them.

Oil spills in Nigeria have a decades-long history, making companies like Shell, whose headquarters is based in the Netherlands, a frequent target of criticism and protest from human rights and environmental groups.

Millions of litres of oil have leaked into the Niger Delta since Shell began oil extraction there in 1958. Zembla said the “greatest oil disaster in the world is unfolding in the Niger Delta”.

Shell says that 95 percent of leaks are as a result of sabotage. It denies responsibility for the leaks, which it blames on local criminals and organised gangs.

Accusations ‘credible’
However, residents in the Ikarama in the Nigerian state of Bayelsa told Zembla that Shell employees encourage local youths in the villages to sabotage pipelines in the area and then split funds allocated for the cleanup.

“If a clean up is necessary, these same youths are then hired to perform it,” Washington Odeibodo told Zembla.

A former Shell security guard, who claimed to have been responsible for sabotaging pipelines in the past, said Shell supervisors and employees “split the money from the clean up”

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