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Shell faces UK supreme court case over Niger delta pollution

The fossil fuel company Shell must be held accountable for significant and systematic pollution caused by oil extraction in the Niger delta, lawyers will argue in the supreme court.

Nigerians from the Ogale and Bille communities say they have suffered decades of pollution, including the contamination of their water wells with potentially cancer-causing chemicals, as well as the devastation of mangrove vegetation, all of which was documented by the UN in a groundbreaking report in 2011.

The United Nations environment programme (UNEP) said in its report it could take 30 years to clean up the pollution caused by oil extraction and recommended an initial fund of $1bn (£800m) for the first five years to be paid by the oil companies that operate in Ogoniland – including the largest company, Shell.

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