Contaminated land and wetland remediation in Nigeria: Opportunities for sustainable livelihood creation

K. Sam*, N. Zabbey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Niger Delta region of Nigeria is one of the most crude oil impacted deltas globally. The region has experienced over five decades of oil related contamination of the total environment (air, soil, water and biota). In 2011, UNEP released a seminal report on oil impact on Ogoniland environments, which up scaled demands for urgent clean up and restoration of degraded bio-resource rich environments of the Niger Delta, starting from Ogoniland. The Nigerian Government demonstrated renewed political will to remediate contaminated sites in Ogoniland with a launch of the clean-up exercise in June 2016. Stakeholders’ expectations from the clean-up include not only environmental remediation but also restoration and creation of sustainable livelihood opportunities to reduce poverty in the region. Most studies have focused on the environmental restoration aspect and identified bioremediation as the likely appropriate remediation approach for Ogoniland, given its low environmental footprints, and low-cost burden on the weak and overstretched economy of Nigeria. This study mapped opportunities for sustainable livelihood creation during the Ogoniland remediation and restoration exercise. Given the value chain of bioremediation and its ancillary activities, the study analysed opportunities and mechanisms for skilled and unskilled job creation and prospects for sustainable livelihoods and knock-on effects. It is anticipated that the clean-up process would lead to economic prosperity and mitigate resource-driven conflicts in the Niger Delta. The study provides an exemplar for waste-to-wealth transformation in regions where natural resource mining has impacted communities, and has dislocated local economies and age-old livelihood structures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1560-1573
Number of pages14
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Early online date29 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2018


  • Job creation
  • Livelihood
  • Niger Delta
  • Oil spill
  • Pollution
  • Remediation

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