photo by Sosialistisk Ungdom – SU (source: Flickr Creative Commons)

Large spills in Nigeria are routine, and oil companies go largely unpunished for destroying the local environment as well as poisoning the human population.

Some of the damage is due to actions by rebel groups and criminals, who attack pipelines, but rusty old pipes continually leak oil, while gas flares both waste a valuable natural resource as well as release toxic pollution and greenhouse gasses.

In fact, more oil is spilled from the delta’s network of terminals, pipes, pumping stations and oil platforms every year than has been lost in the Gulf of Mexico, the site of a major ecological catastrophe caused by oil that has poured from a leak triggered by the explosion that wrecked BP‘s Deepwater Horizon rig last month.


Neither the Nigerian government nor the oil companies demonstrate concern for the environment or the people suffering in this region, considered the oil pollution capital of the world. Environmental and human rights activists claim that hundreds of spills happen yearly in the Niger delta.

Deepwater Horizon may have exceed Exxon Valdez, but within a few years in Nigeria offshore spills from four locations dwarfed the scale of the Exxon Valdez disaster many times over. Estimates put spill volumes in the Niger delta among the worst on the planet, but they do not include the crude oil from waste water and gas flares. Companies such as Shell continue to avoid independent monitoring and keep key data secret.

– Ben Amunwa, London-based oil watch group Platform

Read the entire article ‘Nigeria’s agony dwarfs the Gulf oil spill. The US and Europe ignore it’ by John Vidal in the Observer.