Shell pipeline spill pollutes Niger Delta’s farms, river

Bisola David
Bisola David
Delta govt urges FG not to sack pipeline surveillance companies

The Niger Delta, which has long suffered from environmental pollution brought on by the oil industry, has recently seen an oil spill at a Shell plant in Nigeria that has contaminated farmlands and a river, disrupting the livelihoods of fishing and farming populations there.

The Trans-Niger Pipeline, which is run by Shell and passes through communities in the Eleme area of Ogoniland, was the source of the spill, according to the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, which was quoted by the Associated Press Shell, a London-based energy company which has long faced opposition from the local population over its oil exploration.

Although the amount of spilled oil is unknown, campaigners have shared photographs of agricultural and water surfaces covered with oil sheens and dead fish mired in sticky crude.

According to an environmental activist, Fyneface Dumnamene, whose nonprofit keeps track of spills in the Delta region, it is “one of the worst in Ogoniland in the last 16 years.” It started on June 11.

“It lasted for more than a week, burst into the Okulu River, affects several communities, and displaces more than 300 fishers,” said Dumnamene of the Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre.

According to him, tides have pushed oil sheens around 10 km (6 miles) farther into creeks close to Port Harcourt, the nation’s oil sector capital.

“The leak has been stopped, but the treatment of the spill’s effects at farms and the nearby Okulu River has stagnated,” according to NOSDRA Director-General Idris Musa.1

The NOSDRA reported a total of 822 oil spills in 2020 and 2021, releasing 28,003 barrels of oil into the environment.

Dumnamene predicted that hundreds of farmers and fishermen who had lost their livelihoods will demand environmental rehabilitation first, followed by compensation.

The UN Environment Programme carried out an independent environmental study of Ogoniland at the request of the Nigerian government, and it issued a report in 2011 criticizing Shell and the Nigerian government for 50 years of pollution and recommending a thorough, billion-dollar cleaning.

Despite the government’s announcement of the cleanup in 2016, there has been no indication that the area has been restored. The government claimed that work has been hampered by local activist lawsuits and protests in the community.

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