Implementing contaminated land remediation in Nigeria: Insights from the Ogoni remediation project

Kabari Sam*, Nenibarini Zabbey, Amarachi Paschaline Onyena

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Environmental contamination by hydrocarbons has negative effects on human health and other receptors including air, water and land resources. Following a United Nations Environment Programme report in 2011 which concluded that remediation strategies adopted in Nigeria did not meet international best practice, the Nigerian Government is attempting to develop a fit for purpose model of managing oil-contaminated land and wetlands. It has established the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) to coordinate the environmental remediation and the restoration of livelihoods of local communities in the Niger Delta, starting with Ogoniland. HYPREP has been implementing the remediation process for more than five years with limited expected sustainable outcomes. It is now 11 years following UNEP's recommendations for environmental and livelihood restoration in the region. The challenges of effective land remediation and restoration of traditional livelihoods are explored in the context of the Niger Delta, Nigeria's hub of oil and gas production. The preliminary appraisal indicates that HYPREP operations are bureaucratic, suffering from capacity gaps and a weak stakeholder engagement strategy. Other extant challenges include the slow implementation of recommended emergency measures, corruption and the absence of infrastructure for hazardous materials management. Additionally, HYPREP has not optimized quality assurance by engaging internationally accredited laboratories for chemical analysis of environmental samples. Opportunities exist for HYPREP to learn lessons from other regimes for effective contaminated land management. Roles for different stakeholders working towards sustainable contaminated land management in Ogoniland and the wider Niger Delta are outlined. These recommendations would benefit regions with similar contexts and contaminated land issues.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106051
Number of pages12
JournalLand Use Policy
Early online date21 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2022


  • Emergency measures
  • Nigeria
  • Oil spills
  • Oil theft
  • Re-pollution
  • Stakeholder participation

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