Please zoom in or out and select the base layer according to your preference to make the map ready for printing, then press the Print button above.

River Ethiope Polluted by massive oil spill, Nigeria


A long stretch of River Ethiope, which is the main source of drinking water for rural dwellers in Ethiope West Local Government Area and Ovwore, Eko, Amukpe, Okirighwre, Sapele Okpe and Ogorode communities in Sapele Local Government Area of Delta State, has been polluted by crude oil, leaking from one of the oil pipelines belonging to Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, which runs across the river, at Eko village.

The people of the affected communities have cried out to the federal and state governments, as well as NNPC, the Ministry of Environment, and security agencies to come to their aid and evaluate the crude oil from the river, which is their major source of drinking water and fish farming.

Basic Data

Name of conflict:River Ethiope Polluted by massive oil spill, Nigeria
State or province:Delta State
Location of conflict:Sapele Local Government 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)
Specific commodities:Crude oil

Project Details and Actors

Project details

Type of populationSemi-urban
Start of the conflict:30/07/2012
Company names or state enterprises:Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) from Nigeria
Royal Dutch Shell (Shell) from Netherlands
Relevant government actors:Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation , Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Nigerian Media, Trade Unions, ERA

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Social movements
Trade unions
Local scientists/professionals
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Public campaigns


Environmental ImpactsVisible: Food insecurity (crop damage), Oil spills, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Potential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Genetic contamination, Soil erosion, Waste overflow, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Health ImpactsVisible: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Potential: Malnutrition, Infectious diseases, Other environmental related 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, Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession


Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Under negotiation
Proposal and development of alternatives:The affected communities demands that that the Government should clean the spill, so that they can go about their Fishing activities again.
The Government should provide alternative fish ponds, to engage Fisher folks, during clean up.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The affected communities continue to count their losses, as long as the spill remains unabated. They have called on the relevant institutions to clean up the spill and pay compensation.

Sources & Materials

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

Ministry of Environment, Nigeria

Nigeria Federal Government agencies, such as NESREA and NOSDRA. NESREA (National Environmental Standards and Regulation Agency) has responsibility for the protection and development of the environment, biodiversity conservation and sustainable development of Nigerias natural resources in general and environmental technology including coordination, and liaison with, relevant stakeholders within and outsider Nigeria on maters of enforcement of environmental standards, regulations, rules, laws policies and guidelines.

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

NESREA ACT, Federal Republic of Nigeria Official Gazette. No.92, Vol 94. Lagos ,31st July, 2007.

Ethiope polluted by massive oil spill

Meta information

Contributor:Afoke Ohwojeheri
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:545