‘‘In August and December 2008, two major oil spills disrupted the lives of the 69,000 or so people living in Bodo, a town in Ogoniland in the Niger Delta. Both spills continued for weeks before they were stopped. Estimates suggest that the volume of oil spilled was as large as the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska in 1989.1
Three years on, the prolonged failure of the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (Shell), a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell, to clean up the oil that was spilled, continues to have catastrophic consequences for the Bodo community. As the photographs in this report illustrate, oil pollution remains highly visible. It is everywhere – in the water, along the mangroves, and in the soil.
The scale of the pollution is confirmed by satellite images obtained by Amnesty International and analyzed by the Geospatial Technologies and Human Rights Project of the American Association for the Advancement of Science – see pages 8-9 and the last chapter of this report.
The human cost is also starkly apparent. The lives of tens of thousands of people have been directly affected by the spills and the ongoing pollution. Many are worried about their health and are afraid to eat locally caught fish or drink water from streams or rain water, as they did before the oil spills.
Those who used to rely on fishing for a living have lost their incomes and livelihoods. Farmers say their harvests are smaller than before. Overall, people in Bodo are now much less able to grow their own food or catch fish. With their livelihoods destroyed and food prices rising, many can’t afford to buy nutritious food’’.
Full Excerpts from the introduction to the report: THE TRUE TRAGEDY – Delays and failures in tackling oil spills in the Niger Delta