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Archbishop of York calls for end to oil spills in Nigeria

In 2009 there was an oil spill in Australia and, in 2010, there was the Deepwater Horizon spill of the Gulf of Mexico but oil spills are far more frequent in Nigeria.

Alongside the former Ghanian President, John Kufuor, and leaders from ClientEarth and Greenpeace, Dr Sentamu points out that 40 million litres of oil are spilt annually in the Niger Delta, an area rich in oil on the river Niger off the western coast of the Gulf of Guinea.

The letter highlights the disparity between worldwide reactions: "On each occassion the global community has reacted with horror, demanding the oil industry clean up local ecosystem and communities. Yet in Nigeria, and particularly in Bayelsa state in the Niger Delta, these callls are ignored".

They continue: "Oil has poisoned the land and water. The contamination of fish and crops has destroyed livelihoods, decimated local employement opportunities and pushed many into militancy.

"Life expectancy is 10 years below the national average".

The group, which also includes the Former UN under-secretary general for humanitarian affaris Valeria Amos and and professor from the University of California, argue that great efforts are made to claer up oil spills in Scotland, Norway and America but that oil is left to flow into the water in Nigeria.

"The people of Bayelsa have suffered at the hands of the oil industry."

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