06/05/2019

NNPC pipelines' explosions, fires and spills in Ijegun's comminity and surroundings, Nigeria

The Ijegun community suffered a fire from an NNPC's pipeline explosion in May 2008, at least 100 people died. Again in 2014, another explosion in Ijegun-Imore killed at least ten people.


Description:

On the 20th of February 2013 the Environmental Rights Action (hereafter ERA), namely Friends of the Earth Nigeria, was alerted about the likelihood of an explosion in Ijegun, a community in Ikotun Local Government Area, in Lagos State. The community spokesman, Mr. Oluseni Soewu who raised the alarm, revealed that a section of the ground floor of the building his family resides (which was also gutted in the explosion during the pipeline rupture) gave way on the morning of February 18thand immediately after, the strong smell of petrol could be perceived in the environment, thus necessitating a warning to occupants of the building to avoid anything that could ignite a fire. Community people residing in other buildings also complained that the smell of petrol emanating from the earth around their premises since the pipeline rupture five years ago had worsened in recent time. The Ijegun community had already suffered a devastating pipeline rupture on May 15, 2008. The Nigerian Red Cross reports that at least a hundred people died by the explosion [1]. It occurred when a bulldozer belonging to Hitech (a company contracted by the Lagos government to dualise the Ijegun-Isolo-Jakande Estate road) unknowingly ruptured a Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (hereafter NNPC) pipeline which runs across the community to other parts of the state. Before the incident of 2008, the shallow depth of the pipeline had been a cause of worry to the locals who had written to the NNPC some weeks before to do something about it so as to forestall ruptures. Unfortunately, the corporation neither acknowledged receipt of the letter nor bothered to reply. On the day of the incident, it took the combined effort of men of the fire service and volunteers to put out the fires which had incinerated over 40 locals, mostly school pupils of a nearby school, destroyed 15 homes, 20 vehicles and other property running into millions of naira [2]. Subsequently the NNPC claimed it had carried out repair of the pipeline and remediated the environment. The community people have continued to counter this claim, saying the corporation only did a shoddy job since their environment still emitted the noxious odor of petroleum products. When ERA visited the community, one thing was certain in the environment of the buildings visited: everywhere the strong smell of petroleum hung thick in the air. In December 2010, another pipeline explosion occurred in Idu, only a few kilometers away from Ijegun. At least ten people were feared killed [3]. And once again, on January 14th2014, another NNPC pipeline ruptured, in the community of Ijegun-Imore, a community in Satellite town, less than 20 kilometers south from Ijegun. On Thursday January 30, 2014, ERA field monitors visited the Ijegun-Imore community (in the Ojo Local Government Area), following reports that a pipeline belonging to NNPC had ruptured, spewing refined products into the community creek and killing thousands of fish. In the course of the field trip, ERA field monitors learnt that the spill impacted groundwater, including boreholes and had forced households numbering about 1,000 to resort to patronizing water vendors. It was gathered that though the major rupture occurred on January 26th, for upwards of a month before the incident community folks had observed strong odor of petroleum products in the vicinity and noticed refined petroleum products oozing from the soil around the spill site. Community folks narrated that the landlords’ association of Ijegun-Imore which comprised about 1,000 home-owners had actually written several letters to the NNPC complaining of the strong odor of refined petroleum products and their fears of a possible explosion. The letters were ignored and the NNPC did not send any team to inspect the site. The people from the Ijegun community and its surroundings are continuously suffering from pipeline’s explosion and/or ruptures and spills. These accidents happen to be caused by acts of vandalism, they are not only due to the old and un-adapted infrastructure or caused by operational mistakes such as it was the case of the explosion of 2008 [4]. By the end of February 2019, the inhabitants of Ijegun were photographed scooping oil from a broken pipeline [5]. 

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:NNPC pipelines' explosions, fires and spills in Ijegun's comminity and surroundings, Nigeria
Country:Nigeria
State or province:Lagos state
(municipality or city/town)Ikotun and Ojo Local Governments Area
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict: 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict: 2nd level :Oil and gas exploration and extraction
Pollution related to transport (spills, dust, emissions)
Oil and gas refining
Specific commodities:Crude oil
Natural Gas
Project Details and Actors
Project details:

Type of populationUrban
Start of the conflict:20/02/2013
Company names or state enterprises:Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) from Nigeria
Relevant government actors:National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), Federal Ministry of Environment, National Environmental standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency, Department of Petroleum Resources, Lagos State firefighters
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Environmental Rights Action (Friends of the Earth Nigeria), Nigerian Red Cross
Conflict and Mobilization
IntensityUnknown
Reaction stageMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Women
Impacts of the project
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Health ImpactsVisible: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Deaths
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Loss of livelihood, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Other socio-economic impacts
Other socio-economic impactsExplosions of NNPC pipeline continuously happen in the area.
Outcome
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Under negotiation
Application of existing regulations
Development of alternatives:1. A proper investigation by NOSDRA and other relevant government agencies to determine the actual cause of the spill. Investigation should also determine why NNPC officials refused to identify and clamp the points of rupture more than a month after the community folks reported odour of refined products in the Ijegun Imore vicinity and the leaks.

2. The federal and Lagos State governments must compel NNPC to carry out a comprehensive audit and proper clean-up of the Ijegun environment. The clean-up must involve soil and water treatment in line with international best practice in the oil industry.

3. A revisit of the Ijegun rupture incident by the federal and Lagos state government, and prosecution of NNPC officials found culpable of dereliction of duty in responding to the alarm raised by the Ijegun community on the dangers posed by the shallow and poorly designated pipeline before the incident of 2008 occurred

4. Immediate provision of alternative water supply for Ijegun residents to ameliorate their plight.

5. The NNPC carry out regular maintenance and integrity checks on its pipelines in Ijegun and across the country.

6. The NNPC compensate the affected residents of the community.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The leakage was on for well over a month ago and the residents were perceiving the strong smell of refined petroleum products in their environment. They reported to the NNPC through a letter put together by the community landlords’ association but they did nothing about it until the leakage became very obvious on Sunday January 26th, 2014. NNPC should have responded early to halt the spillage before it escalated to the later level. People yet to be compensated.
Sources and Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[4] Nigeria pipeline blast kills at least 100: Red Cross, May 2008
[click to view]

Ijegun, Wikipedia
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[5] Residents of Ijegun Community in Lagos filmed scooping Fuel from broken Pipeline (Photos, Video), February 2019
[click to view]

[1] 2008 Ijegun pipeline explosion, Wikipedia
[click to view]

[3] Nigeria: Ten Killed in Lagos Pipeline Explosion, December 2010
[click to view]

5 years after, Ijegun pipeline explosion victims still waiting, June 2010
[click to view]

Au moins 100 morts dans l'incendie d'un oléoduc à Lagos, Mai 2008
[click to view]

[2]

Imminent Explosion in Ijegun Community in Lagos, Nigeria, Environmental Rights Action / Friends of the Earth Nigeria, 15 September 2009
[click to view]

Other documents

source: Reuters, George Estir
[click to view]

The fire from the pipeline explosion at Ijegun, February 2008 Source: Reuters, George Esrir
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Afoke Ohwojeheri & Maria Obaseki
Last update06/05/2019
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