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Goi Case against Shell, Nigeria


In October 2004 a major oil spill occurred in the Trans-Niger pipeline, which runs through the Ogoniland to the Bonny Export Terminal. Following the spill, fire broke out. The oil and the fire reached the mangrove forest in the Tidal region of the village of Goi. For three days Shell unsuccessfully attempted to extinguish the fire. After four days the disastrous aftermath could be seen: 15 hectares of mangrove forest were devastated, 20 canoes destroyed, all the fish killed and hundreds of trees with high economic value (palm trees, mango trees, coconut palm, avocado and more) had gone up in flames.

It was not until July 2007, 33 months after the October 2004 oil spill, that Shell began the clean-up of his fishpond. But tragically, in August/September 2007 the fishponds again become polluted by a new oil leak in the Trans-Niger pipeline. No fish could be produced by Chief Barizaa and other community people after October 2004. In the meantime, the village of Goi has become deserted. The oil pollution has left it uninhabitable. There are no fish left in the creek or in the fishponds, agriculture is no longer possible and there is no way to make a living.

Despite this, the Goi community survives. Although the former residents of Goi live spread out among various villages in the area now, they still meet every week on the waterside which was once so lovely. This is how they keep their desire and their hope alive to someday return to their homeland, if the oil can ever be cleaned up.

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Goi Case against Shell, Nigeria
State or province:Rivers State.
Location of conflict:Gokana Local Government Area.
Accuracy of locationLOW (Country 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)
Specific commodities:Crude oil

Project Details and Actors

Project details

Project area:35
Type of populationRural
Company names or state enterprises:Royal Dutch Shell (Shell) from Netherlands
Relevant government actors:Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation.
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Environmental Rights Action (Nigeria), Friends of the Earth Netherlands(Milieu Defensie)

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Landless peasants
Social movements
Trade unions
Local scientists/professionals
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Occupation of buildings/public spaces


Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Fires, Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Waste overflow, Oil spills, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Potential: Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Noise pollution, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Health ImpactsVisible: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..), Health problems related to alcoholism, prostitution, Occupational disease and accidents, Deaths
Potential: Malnutrition, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Infectious diseases, Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Militarization and increased police presence, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..)


Project StatusUnknown
Conflict outcome / response:Migration/displacement
The Legal case between Shell and Goi Community is presently proceeding in a civil court in the Hague, Netherlands. The affected communities representatives claim that oil spills ruined their sources of livelihoods and therefore must be cleaned up. Due compensation is also firmly claimed.
Proposal and development of alternatives:Develop a solid plan to clean up the oil pollution in Goi 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 Goi and other Niger Delta Communities.
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 an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The fire destroyed 15 hectares of mangrove forest, all the fish was killed and hundreds of trees got lost.
Compensation and clean up by Shell has not been carried out. The court case is still going on in the Netherlands, and hopefully it en up in favour to the local affected community.

Sources & Materials

Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

National Oil Spill Detection and Remediation.(NOSDRA)

Federal Ministry of Environment.

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

The Goi Case: A reluctant Boxing Match against Shell - Friends of the Earth Neatherlands


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Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Court Trial:

Meta information

Contributor:Nnimmo Bassey
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:578