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Human rights impacts of oil pollution: Nigeria

Human rights impacts of oil pollution: Nigeria

This briefing outlines the human rights impacts of oil pollution in Nigeria.  Companies referred to include multinationals Shell, Chevron, Eni, ExxonMobil and Total, and the Nigerian state oil company, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).  We have invited each of these companies to provide responses or any further information it wishes to be added to this briefing.

For information on relevant international human rights standards referred to in this briefing, click here.


  1. Introduction

  2. Items comparing Nigeria situation with the Gulf response and coverage

  3. Overview of alleged impacts of oil industry on human rights in Nigeria
    - Amnesty International report on impact of oil pollution on human rights (2011)
    - Amnesty International report on impact of oil pollution on human rights in Niger Delta (2009)
    - Human Rights Watch report on complicity of oil companies with human rights abuses in Niger Delta (1999)
    - Social Action Nigeria report outlining role of oil industry in fuelling conflict in Nigeria (2009)
    - Climate Justice Programme, Environmental Rights Action report on impacts of gas flaring (2005)

  4. Examples of alleged human rights impacts of oil pollution

     - Lawsuit in United Kingdom against Shell over impacts of oil spills
     - Lawsuits in Netherlands against Shell regarding impacts of oil spills
     - Oil spills by ExxonMobil subsidiary in Akwa Ibom state and alleged impact on livelihoods
     - UNEP assessment of the impacts of oil spills in Ogoniland
     - Nigerian court orders Shell to pay damages to community for impacts of 1970 oil spill
     - ECOWAS Court case brought against seven oil companies over oil pollution in the Niger Delta
     - African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights decision on rights of Ogoni people in Nigeria
     - Other examples

  5. Examples of alleged human rights abuses against those protesting against oil pollution

    - Execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa and other activists, and subsequent lawsuit against Shell
    - Killing, injury and alleged torture of protesters on Chevron oil platform
    - Other examples

  6. General company statements

    - Chevron
    - Eni
    - ExxonMobil
    - Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC)
    - Shell
    - Total

  7. Examples of action & regulation by Government of Nigeria

    - Petroleum Industry Bill
    - Government orders to end practice of gas flaring
    - Nigerian Senate orders Shell to pay compensation to community over oil pollution
    - Other examples

  8. Videos

  9. Further information

    - Business & Human Rights Resource Centre website
    - NGO websites
    - Company websites

  10. Français: Rapports en français

  11. Español: Reportes en español


Business & Human Rights Resource Centre’s role is to impartially provide information reflecting the full public debate on issues relating to business & human rights.  The diverse views presented in these materials have been published by commentators, journalists, organizations and companies.  Any company or organization wishing to submit a clarification, response or further information is welcome to do so; for Nigeria, please contact:

Greg Regaignon, Research Director, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre - email, phone: +33 (0)6 0215 1919

This briefing is not comprehensive.  It highlights key materials reflecting a broad range of views, thereby facilitating constructive, informed decision-making and public discussion.  The briefing’s purpose is to keep an ongoing focus on these important issues, and to provide a platform to reflect the continuing public debate.  We will keep this briefing updated over the coming months and years.

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