Nigeria a model for oil cleanup?

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LONDON, Aug. 10 (UPI) — The cleanup of oil contamination in Nigeria could serve as a model for other African producers though a local group said it is skeptical of that optimism.

United Nations said at least 6,800 oil spills occurred in parts of Nigeria from 1976-2001. At least 380 square miles of land and water need decontamination, an effort that would cost $1 billion for the first five years.

Nick Nuttall, a spokesman for the U.N. Environment Program, said the cleanup operations in Nigeria could be the biggest in the world.

“It is up to the government of Nigeria what happens now but there appears to be a willingness to act (from Abuja),” he was quoted by The Guardian newspaper in London as saying.

UNEP scientist Joseph Alcamo said 10 percent of the world’s oil comes from African producers, suggesting the Nigeria cleanup effort could serve as a regional model.

Royal Dutch Shell, which recently took responsibility for some to oil spills in the country, said it was behind the effort to remediate Nigeria. The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People, however, said it was skeptical of UNEP’s optimism because one of its recent reports was funded in part by Shell.

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