A worker dips his hands into the Siluko River in southern Nigeria to show the oil-contaminated water surrounding him.
The oil industry in Nigeria has generated billions of dollars for petroleum companies, but the environment and most of the Nigerian population have far from benefited. Between 1976 and 2001, millions of barrels of oil have spilled into Nigeria’s natural habitats. A 2011 United Nations report found that most people in Ogoniland, a region in the Niger Delta, have lived with chronic oil pollution throughout their lives. Oil companies have tried to escape responsibility for the spills and the Nigerian government has done little to address decades of ecological destruction. In June of 2016, Nigeria’s vice-president finally announced a $1 billion clean-up program in Ogoniland. Experts estimate that the restoration will take up to 25 years to complete.
Stéphane de Rouville is a freelance photojournalist based in France, whose work focuses upon nomadic life and endangered cultures.