A new documentary has exposed the damage done on Bodo City by the 2008 Shell oil pipeline burst.
The documentary shot by Al Jazeera was released on Monday in partnership with Amnesty International and focuses on the story of Lessi Phillips who was only 16 when a Shell oil pipeline burst near her village, in 2008.
In the 77 days that followed, vast quantities of oil seeped into mangrove swamps near Bodo City, devastating the diverse ecosystem and destroying once-vibrant local fisheries and farms.
There was no report of the number of barrels that might have been spilled during the burst.
Al Jazeera’s virtual reality unit, caught up with Phillips as she explored how the environmental disaster impacted her community, and the ways in which local youth are bringing hope back to the area.
“We wanted to find a new way to retell this important story,” said Zahra Rasool, director of the 360° documentary.
“We immersed audiences deeper in the story so they could powerfully experience the scale of devastation in the community.”
In 2015, Shell announced a payout of $83.2m to compensate residents for the oil spill. Anyone affected could receive about 600,000 naira ($3,000) each.
But a promised clean-up effort was slow to get underway.
The documentary includes live-action footage of how the oil spill damaged the swamp, as well as animations showcasing how Lessi remembers her village looking before the disaster.
“For decades, Shell and other multinational corporations have directly contributed to the devastation of the land and livelihoods of the people who live in the Niger Delta,” said Osai Ojigho, director of Amnesty International Nigeria.
“Oil in Our Creeks allows viewers to grasp the havoc wrought by oil spills on Niger Delta communities. I urge the companies’ executives to watch this film to better understand the community’s plight.”