Udo Street is in Akpayak community in Uyo Local Government Area of Akwa-Ibom state. It is located at the heart of Uyo main town in front of two streams- Idim Akpayak and Akpa Atakeka. Not far from the street is Uyo Local Government Secretariat, the Ministry of Agriculture and some other government parastatals.

The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) visited the street following a Save-Our-Souls from residents who complained about the discharge of industrial waste, human excreta from septic tanks and other unspecified wastes generated in the city into the stream which is about 100 meters from the street. When ERA/FoEN visited, it was observed that the closest residential building to the stream is about 5 meters and refuse trucks were noticed bringing in waste almost every 15 minutes. Some of their contents were dumped indiscriminately into the stream and in the environment.

Just as the locals alleged, it was observed that the wastes dumped in the stream ranged from sewage, domestic items, industrial and agricultural, even as the huge number of obviously authorized and unauthorized refuse officials involved made the place seem like a market place. There were also long queues of trunks waiting for their turn to empty the contents of their vehicles. Scavengers were also seen in large numbers searching for recyclable materials

Residents told the ERA/FoEN field reporter that the dump site is now a breeding ground for criminals who see the site as a hiding place where they smoke Indian hemp. Others are said to be there to intimidate people they view as threat to their activities.

The testimonies of some of the residents are captured below:


Chief Augustine Ibanga, Community Leader about 80 years

We had to write an emergency letter to ERA/FoEN for assistance and intervention because all efforts we have employed to persuade the relevant authorities to stop dumping dangerous wastes in the community has failed. This street is situated in the most important part of this city.  We want them to relocate the dumpsite but all our entreaties came to naught. The irony of the whole thing is that, the Ministry of Environment that is supposed to advise the state government and the industries involved against this unwholesome practice has turned out to be the main culprits in this ecological problem threatening to destroy our lives and environment.

Hon, Joseph Umoh, Secretary to the community, about 40 years married with kids

This sad state of affairs has gone on for decades now, since when I was much younger. The two streams I told you about are both dead because of this practice. In those days the stream was our swimming pool, a place where we organized parties and even go for fishing and also collect palm fruits. One family that lives closest to the dump site has lost two of its members to respiratory illnesses because of constant inhalation of the toxic odour that emanates from the stream. We have also lost about six young men of the 16-25 years age bracket. We suspect their sudden death to have resulted from this waste problem. Whenever the weather changes and about to rain we are always afraid because of flies that will surround the whole place, odour that makes breathing difficult and disease out break. In the dry period when the waste has become too much in the dump site, they set fire on it which is a practice that is regular, a practice they called waste minimization techniques. This has further polluted the air and the environment. We are always closing our windows because of what we inhale and we are suffering from suffocation because of lack of ventilation, this has made us and our little children to fall into regular sickness. I had to go for HIV test because of regular typhoid but the result showed negative.

The palm trees that used to be by the side of the rivers have been lost to massive erosion and landslide as a result of the waste dump and fire outbreak from the dumpsite. The state government has not seen anything wrong with the dumping of waste in a street that is at the heart of the city. At a time when the community dwellers reacted by blocking the entrance to the dump site, the government used mobile policemen against them all and forcefully gained access to the dumpsite so that they can continue with this evil act and pollution of the environment. A man named Mr. Valentine Akpan summoned courage and dragged the state government to court about 9 years ago, but the man died along the line. He was 66 years old when he died 7 years ago and since then nothing has been done about the case. We are appealing to Friends of the Earth Nigeria to come to our rescue.

Mrs. Samuel Williams 35 years, mother of 2 kids and the daughter of Late Valentine Akpan.

This whole problem started since the creation of Akwa-Ibom state. Since then we have been exposed to different ailments. Now, friends and relations are scared to visit us because of what they perceive each time they come. You can see our house is the closest to the waste dump site. This is what we experience 24 hours of the day, seven days of the week. Sometimes we wake up at night to see human excreta dumped in front of my house by Julius Berger. Because of this, my children are always being hospitalized. I spend close to N300,000 (three thousand naira) a year in solving health problems. I was recently diagnosed of toxins in my system due to this waste, and I am already spending a lot to detoxify my system. My father died in 2007 at age 66.  When his health problem and that of my mother started in 2003, he had a case with the state government titled Valentine Akpan Vs Akwa-Ibom State Government. The state government told him that he has no right to fight the government and ask them to stop the waste dumps.  They told him they will relocate or stop when it pleases them because all lands belong to the government. After his death, nothing has been done. A year later, in 2008 after the death of my father my mother Mrs. Ann Valentine died at 61 owing to the same respiratory problems. My younger ones have abandoned my father’s house and I do not want to abandon the house and pack out because the state government might turn this compound into a waste dump site. I am dying slowly, my children are having blood infections regularly, my children have been denied of their rights to play in the compound and they stay indoors always and you know it is stuffy. I may relocate for the sake of my kids.

What we see here is terrible. We will wake up and see dead bodies dumped at the site. Most times the bodies decay and produce odours that make breathing difficult. There is no fumigation or even treatment of the waste before dumping them. Julius Berger keeps on discharging sewage right in front of my house and no one can talk to them because of the power the state government has given them to continue dumping waste here. The building closest to the site was a church but they had to pack out. Today the waste has covered the whole place and that is what I don’t want to happen to my father’s house. To further fight for justice I went to the Ministry of Environment and the Commissioner told me that “I should go to other Ministries and complain because he does not have solutions to my problem. He said that what I am suggesting is that he packs out the waste and keep them in his house.

Our children can’t enjoy those things we used to enjoy from our stream that have been blocked by this waste- activities  like fetching of water, bathing, fishing, playing and collection of palm nut. The creation of this state has brought nothing good to us. I will thank God if you can use your office to help us because we have lost all hope.


The environmental situation and threat to the people of Udo Street is a gross violation of their human rights. It was noticed that there is no channel that can enable the sewage from Julius Berger facility to have a free flow from the point of discharge, as the sewage flows back into the community and there is no control on the way the waste are dumped. Wastes are dumped at any open space even close to peoples’ residents. We also observed that the waste dump site breed criminals and thugs that attack any one that comes to the site. The waste dump site at the Udo Street is where all the wastes generated in the capital city (Uyo) are dumped.


  1. The Akwa-Ibom state government properly designate dump sites and locate them in environments where they cannot pollute water or other things that people use
  2. The environment should be remediated in order for it to retain it ecological integrity.
  3. The state government provide alternative source of water and compensate the affected residents for the cost of the effluent discharge on their health. Government should complement this with free medicare to the residents of Udo Street that have suffered various ailments resulting from the contamination and impact of the wastes.

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ERA has recently received information that a group calling itself the "Niger Delta Coalition in the Diaspora" is still engaging itself in activities and communications giving the impression that it is linked with Environmental Rights Action (ERA).

This group issues out communications using ERA's headquarter address and mail box. We have never had any ties with this group and any views, comments or opinions expressed by them is not endorsed or authorized by any member of management or staff of ERA.

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