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ERA Field Report # 50
Dispatch: Bodo City, Ogoni Land, Rivers State
From: Patrick Naagbanton
Date: December 27, 1999


a. Continuous oil spills from Shell's abandoned and over-aged facilities in Ogoni
b. Crisis imminent
c. Local people cry out

"I have been reading in the newspapers about Shell's return to Ogoniland and even to our Bodo-west oil field after these many years. It sounds ridiculous and annoying. We have not been contacted, I doubt how that can work."
--Mr. John Baridi, member of Federated Bodo-City Youth Movement [FBYM]

"On Thursday, December 23, 1999, while I was picking periwinkles near the pipelines that runs to Eelevinmogho creek I saw think crude oil coming out of the pipe uncontrollably and in large quantity. When I got home I reported the matter to the people because any time it occurs, our periwinkles dies in their hundreds"
--Mrs. Felicia Kaduto, 48 years old and mother of four.


In 1993, following mass protests by Ogoni people against environmental devastation and rights abuse by Shell and the Nigerian government, the transnational oil company was forced to cease operations in the Ogoni area of the Niger Delta. However, the facilities abandoned by Shell in communities and farmlands continue to worsen the already endangered environment of the area as blowouts, oil spills and fires from the unattended oil wells, flow-lines and pipelines occur frequently [see ERA FIELD REPORT No. 31].

Among Ogoni communities affected by the environmental hazards wrought byShell is Bodo, in whose land the oil wells of the Bodo-West oil field arelocated.


Most abandoned oil wells and flow-lines in Ogoniland spew crude oilcontinuously. Some of the discharges occur in trickles making it difficult for community people to locate the source. As Dimkpa Baridum, a fisherman in Bodo narrated to ERA, "for several days in the months of October and November and early December (1999), any time I got to fishing, most especially along the Kpaadoo and Boobe Sibeate Rivers, you will see thick patches of fresh crude oil floating, although, the source I don't know, but I feel it is within these areas".


On further investigation, ERA discovered that during the month of December, 1999 larger quantity of crude was spilled from a flow-line connected to Well 4 in the Bodo-West oilfield. Characteristically, the spill damaged large expanse of the rich wetlands in the area. Mangroves, mud-skippers, periwinkles, the mangrove oyster, the blood cockle etc were destroyed.

The affected area is surrounded by extensive network of creeks and the tidal regime extends the flow of such spills to other areas making it difficult to contain.

Incessant spills in the area have left a permanent odour of crude in the air and left surface waters shimmering with oil film. Contaminated creeks and farmlands pose serious threat to the health of local people, whose occupation is mainly subsistence farming and fishing.

Local populations also complain of encroachment of the exotic nipa palm in contaminate areas.


  1. Shell should decommission its facilities in the area to avert further incidence of oil spills and blowouts.
  2. Shell should cleanup contaminated areas.
  3. Shell should pay compensation to the Bodo people for the damage caused to the environment and the local economy by its activities.
  4. Shell should respect the genuine wish of the Ogoni people and stay out of the area pending the resolution of demands contained in the Ogoni Bill of Rights.

  1. Send protest letters to Shell. Send copies of your letters to the local newspapers, the Federal and Rivers State ministries of Environment.
  2. Send copies to your legislators from your constituency [Nigerians] requesting them to raise issues of environmental concern as part of their mandate and obligation to the people.