Dams on the Niger and Sokoto Rivers, Nigeria


In 1964, construction of the Kainji dam, 800 km (497 miles) north of Lagos, was undertaken by a consortium of three Italian companies, Impresit Spa, Girola and Lodigiani, who then merged into Impregilo, together with the Netherlands Engineering Company (NEDCO) and the English firm Balfour Beatty Ltd.

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Basic Data
NameDams on the Niger and Sokoto Rivers, Nigeria
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Water Management
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Dams and water distribution conflicts
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific CommoditiesWater
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsAround 40,000 farmers were displaced due to The Kainji dam project, and other 13,000 residents because of the construction of the Bakolori dam.

It was created an artificial lake 135 km (83 miles) long and 30 km (18 miles) wide.

Project Area (in hectares)125000
Level of Investment (in USD)209000000
Type of PopulationRural
Start Date1962
Company Names or State EnterprisesSacyr from Spain
Fiat Impresit from Italy
Cogefar from Italy
Girola from Italy
Lodigiani from Italy
Balfour Beatty LTD
Relevant government actorsGovernmnet of Nigeria, Government of Holland
International and Financial InstitutionsThe World Bank (WB) from United States of America
US Agency for International Development (USAID)
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersResidents of the community of Bakolori, International Rivers, WWF International
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Informal workers
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Potential: Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming, Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsVisible: Accidents, Malnutrition, Deaths
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors
Project StatusStopped
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseDeaths
The dam has collapsed.
Development of AlternativesThe restoration of the area and a compensation for the affected population.
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.The dam activity has stopped not by a human decision, but due to a flood that crumbled the dam and damaged the area, killing some people and displacing other ones.
Sources and Materials

Conservation, Ecology, and the Management of African Fresh Waters. Crisman, Thomas L.; Chapman, Lauren J.; Chapman, Colin A.; Kaufman, Les S.. Ed.University Press of Florida. 2003.


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ContributorLucie Greyl
Last update08/04/2014