Report: Independent Monitoring of the Ogoniland Clean-up

Biannual progress report July–December 2021

In 2020, Stakeholder Democracy Network (SDN) and Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development (CEHRD) commenced the Independent Civil Society Monitoring of the Ogoniland Cleanup project with support from the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and working in partnership with a range of civil society organisations and activists in the region. Via a network of trained monitors from civil society, we are regularly gathering a range of data to track the progress of a large-scale oil pollution clean-up in Ogoniland, Rivers State, Nigeria, conducted by a project of the Ministry of Environment: the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP). Our project will run from 2020 to the end of 2024.

This is the second bi-annual monitoring report of the Independent Civil Society Monitoring of the Ogoniland Clean-up project. It presents data collected from January-June 2021 by a network of trained civil society representatives who act as the project monitors.

Key messages from this report

  • Nearly 40% of clean-up lots handed over to contractors to remediate oil pollution at ‘simple’ sites have been government-certified as complete (19 out of 50), however, we have found contaminants above target levels at five of these.
  • We believe there is likely to be secondary contamination around the location of biocells (where contaminated soil is treated) due to poor practices, such as leaving contaminated soil exposed to rainfall over an extended period. No sampling is taking place to check this, and SDN is awaiting the response to a request to conduct this ourselves.
  • In response to our previous report, HYPREP proposed a risk-based approach to handling sites where we found contaminants above threshold levels, where the acceptable level of contamination and associated monitoring will be set based on the level of risk at each location. This means no action has been taken at any of the sites we have identified as needing remedial action, but a majority will be monitored for a further six months. Greater transparency is urgently needed in this process to allow all stakeholders to make an objective assessment of the appropriateness of this approach.
  • The delivery of emergency measures prescribed in 2011 remains very slow, however, construction of six water supply schemes has commenced, and the scheme in Alesa-Eleme is now providing water to parts of Alode community.
  • The bidding process for ‘complex’ sites is still ongoing and work has not commenced to set up an Integrated Contaminated Soil Management Centre, which is a prerequisite for proper complex site clean-up.
  • Levels of community satisfaction with HYPREP and clean-up contractors remains mixed and no action has yet been taken to address this. Dissatisfaction in communities continues to relate to the poor quality of opportunities offered by the clean-up (e.g. low pay in clean-up jobs), and management of complaints and potential conflict arising from the clean-up.

Some of the data that our biannual reports are based on is available via our online interactive dashboard–compare and generate your own graphs.

Updated: 15.08.2022

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