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Massive Oil Spill at Ilaje Communities, Nigeria


OriOke Iwamimo is a small rural community in Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State. Oil companies Chevron, Agip, Exxon Mobil, Conoil, Express and Kavendish started exploring for crude oil when it was discovered in neighbouring Ogorogo Village in 1968. The companies laid pipelines, established both onshore and offshore locations and dug canals.

While doing this, their activities impacted negatively on the people of OriOke Iwamimo and surrounding communities, who are mostly fishermen and farmers.

Despite the impact, the oil companies refuse to conduct environmental impact assessment to ascertain the level of damage, and proceed to clean up the communities and pay due compensation to the locals.

The press talked about a protest that was taking place in July 2011, and reported "Youth from the Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State have accused the Oil giant, Chevron Nigeria Limited, of failing to implement the General Memorandum of Understanding. That general memorandum, or GMOU, was signed with the people of the area because they had refused to merge communities in the Oil producing sector together. Leaders of the march had said Chevron Nigeria limited had deprived them much of their rights in their own land, by capitalizing on the unresolved rejection of a merger proposed for the oil communities in the area” [1]

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Massive Oil Spill at Ilaje Communities, Nigeria
State or province:Ondo State
Location of conflict:OriOke Iwamimo community, Ilaje 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)
Specific commodities:Crude oil

Project Details and Actors

Project details

Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:26/06/2007
Company names or state enterprises:Chevron Nigeria Limited from Nigeria
Chevron Polska Energy Resources Sp. z o.o. from United States of America
Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC) from Nigeria
Agip Group from Italy
Eni group from Italy
ExxonMobil Corporation (Exxon) from United States of America
Express Oil and Gas Limited from Nigeria
Cavendish Petroleum Nigeria Ltd from Nigeria
Conoil PLC from Nigeria
Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) from Nigeria
Relevant government actors:Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation. NNPC
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Environmental Rights Action

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Landless peasants
Social movements
Trade unions
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions


Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Oil spills, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Potential: Fires, Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Food insecurity (crop damage), Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsVisible: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Potential: Infectious diseases
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Displacement, Violations of human rights


Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Migration/displacement
Proposal and development of alternatives:-Government should compel the oil companies in Ilaje land to openly conduct tests to determine which oil company is responsible for the spill.
-The guilty oil company should clean up the spill and provide immediate relief services to the affected communities.
-After the clean up the oil company should do a post impact study of the affected areas with a view to rehabilitating the people and the environment and pay compensation to the people.
-The relevant agencies should compel the oil companies to operate with international best practices
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Despite the impact, the oil companies refuse to conduct environmental impact assessment to ascertain the level of damage, and proceed to clean up the communities and pay due compensation to the locals.

Sources & Materials

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

The Marginalization of the Ilajes of Ondo state, a case of Chevron

The Concern Ilaje Citizens


The Effects of Oil Spillage on Aquatic Environment in Ilaje Community, Nigeria

Environmental Implications of Oil Exploration and Exploitation in the Coastal Region of Ondo State, Nigeria: A Regional Planning Appraisal

Olujimi Julius Ajilowo Bayode, Emmanuel Adebayo Adewunmi and Sogbon Odunwole

Journal of Geography and Regional Planning 03/2011; 4(3):110-121.

[1] Oil Producing Community In Ondo State Protest Over Chevron's Reluctance To Fulfill Agreement

Era report

Oil Spill: Ilaje Coastal Communities Demand Compensation from Shell

Ilaje communities demand compensation from Shell over spill

Meta information

Contributor:Nnimmo Bassey
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:573



Protesters against Chevron activity