Ikot Ado Udo Case, Nigeria


Shell placed an oil installation in the village of Ikot Ada Udo nearly 50 years ago at the head of an oil well. Shortly after it installed the wellhead, Shell decided not to produce oil in that place but left the installation in place. Since then, the wellhead has been left abandoned among the vegetable gardens of the village of Ikot Ada Udo. It has been nicknamed the Christmas tree because it resembles one.

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Basic Data
NameIkot Ado Udo Case, Nigeria
ProvinceAkwa Ibom State
SiteIkot Ada Udo Local Government Area
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional 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)
Aquaculture and fisheries
Specific Commodities
Crude oil
Project Details and Actors
Project Area (in hectares)50
Type of PopulationUrban
Start Date1996
Company Names or State EnterprisesRoyal Dutch Shell (SPDC) from Netherlands
Royal Dutch Shell (RDS) from Netherlands
Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) from Nigeria
Relevant government actorsNOSDRA , Federal Ministry of Environment
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersFriends of the Earth, Netherlands (Milieu Defensie)
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Landless peasants
Social movements
Trade unions
Local scientists/professionals
Fisher people
Forms of MobilizationDevelopment of a network/collective action
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Official complaint letters and petitions
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Street protest/marches
Development of alternative proposals
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
Land occupation
Media based activism/alternative media
Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Public campaigns
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Waste overflow, Oil spills, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Potential: Fires, Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Genetic contamination, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsVisible: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Potential: Malnutrition, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Infectious diseases
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Militarization and increased police presence
Project StatusProposed (exploration phase)
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseUnder negotiation
Development of Alternatives-Develop a solid plan to clean up the oil pollution in Ikot Ada Udo community and the entire Niger Delta.

As recommended by the UN, this plan should include Shell depositing $1 billion to a special emergency fund for the most urgent clean up operations in the Niger Delta.

-Close all oil wells that are illegally flaring gas before January 1, 2013 in Ikot Ada Udo and other Niger Delta -Develop a clear plan to improve the maintenance of the pipeline network in Nigeria, and protect them against theft and sabotage.

-Offer serious financial compensation to farmers and fishermen whose means of living have been destroyed as a result of the oil leaks in the community and the entire Niger Delta.
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.Aquaculture is still not possible and residents have still received no compensation. Shell has provided the village with funding for a drinking water tank and water pipes. In the meantime, a small wall has also been constructed about the Christmas tree, and Shell has ordered a concrete plug to be installed.

In early November 2007 the Nigerian parliament passed a resolution to ensure that shell clean up the community. But this has not yielded meaningful results as the pollution still prevails.

Although the case has be charged to court in the Netherlands, waiting Justice in favour of the affect community.
Sources and Materials

National oil spill Detection and Remediation Agency.(NOSDRA)

Federal Ministry of Environment


The Ikot Ado Udo Case: The hissing and Leaking Christmas Tree.Facts sheet by Milieu Defensie.

Knee Deep in crude Volume 1. A Publication of Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria.


Justice Nigeria Now
[click to view]

'Nigerian farmers sue Shell over oil pipe leaks'
[click to view]

[click to view]

[click to view]

Milieu Defensie
[click to view]

Milieu Defensie
[click to view]

Milieu Defensie
[click to view]

Legal Oil
[click to view]

CBC News
[click to view]

All Africa
[click to view]

Worse then Bad
[click to view]

Sweet Crude Reports
[click to view]

Nigeria Current

Other CommentsANGLO-Dutch oil and gas super major, Shell, will appear in a Dutch court to account for damage it caused in Nigeria. This is the first time in history; a European company is appearing in a Dutch court.

The court case against Shells oil spills in Nigeria has been filed by four Nigerian plaintiffs in conjunction with Friends of the Earth Netherlands and supported by Friends of the Earth Nigeria.

Lawyers for both parties will plea at a key hearing in The Hague this coming October 11 2012, at 9:30am. The verdict is however, expected early in 2013.
Meta Information
ContributorNnimmo Bassey
Last update08/04/2014