While it may no longer be news that Ikarama community has repeatedly experienced oil spill incidents, it is rather sad to hear that crude oil spewed from Shell’s ruptured facilities in the area has never been cleaned up using internationally acceptable methods. If Shell decides to clean up, they hire a clean up contractor who attempts to recover some of the spilled crude. Oftentimes the clean-up contractor sets fire on the impacted sites, an act which further degrades the environment.

This scenario played out again in Ikarama recently. ERA got a report of the spill fire from the women leader of the community, Mrs. Ayibakuro Warder. While approaching the community, ERA monitor observed the dark smoke rising above the location of the incident

At Ikarama
On arrival, ERA’s field monitor was led to the burning area by the Chief Security Officer of Ikarama, Mr. Washington Odoyibo. The area impacted by the December 7th, 2008 oil spill, all around the Oya and Obran lakes was on fire.



Mr. Washington Odoyibo
“You may recall that we have been telling you about Shell’s attitude towards clean up in this community. They, through their contractors/staff, always set fire on oil spill sites. It is nice that you have come to witness this one. This is the second time these lakes [Oya and Obran] have been heavily polluted with crude oil spewed from Shell’s pipeline. This time around, after leaving the ruptured spot [on the pipeline] unclamped for almost seven weeks, Shell came and clamped. After that, they awarded contract for recovery. The recovery process had been on for about three weeks before this fire. The volume of crude oil on the lakes was very heavy, spreading to the swamps of our neighbouring communities; Kalaba and Ayamabele. We cannot say we were really surprised, but we noticed the rising of thick clouds of smoke around 9:00 am today. When we investigated, we discovered that it was coming from the oil spill impacted sites behind our community. Some parts of Kalaba are also affected by the fire.

Shell has always hired some willing youths of the community to cause further degradation of our environment by setting fire on such sites. Like I said some time ago, these lakes and swamps used to be major sources of fish to most of our families here before they were polluted. Now, with what you are witnessing, you can see how our land, water resource and air are being polluted by Shell”.


Napoleon Tamuno
“Actually, I am not an expert on this matter but I know that this cannot be the best method to clean oil spill from the impacted environment. It is therefore not acceptable. Anybody who came here to see the volume of crude oil in the lakes would have been overwhelmed by the thickness; you could barely see water because of the high volume of crude oil spewed into them. It has spread even to Kalaba and Ayamabele communities, destroying all their swamps. Apart from loosing the swamps and lakes, with this burning you can see how the trees are falling. The raffia and palm trees, other economic trees and everything standing around the lakes are gone. Even though this is always Shell’s attitude we expect Shell to change and do the right thing.  They should effect real clean up of the environment and not increase our environmental problems. The fire couldn’t have started by itself; it was a willful act by some persons acting on Shell’s behalf”.


ERA demands

Shell’s practice of setting fire to oil spill sites is totally unacceptable. ERA demands that:

  1. The regulatory agencies and ministries of Environment [State and Federal] monitor oil spill sites and ensure oil companies do the right thing at the right time.
  2. Shell carries out proper clean-up in the affected spill sites.
  3. Shell be called to order and fined for the acts of further degradation of the environment and total disregard for the people’s health and means of livelihood.
Green Hotlines
Green Hotlines
Is there a spill, pipeline rupture, fire, gas flare, water, land or air pollution in your community or one you know about? Do you need assistance to respond, and prevent future occurrences or have you noticed any activity that threatens the environment?

In the event of any ecological disaster or threat to the environment, call our toll-free GREEN LINES:  08031230088 & 08031230089