Stop Human Right Abuse By Powerful Oil Companies In The Niger Delta – SERAP Urge Buhari | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Stop Human Right Abuse By Powerful Oil Companies In The Niger Delta – SERAP Urge Buhari

oil spills, niger delta
Posted: Jun 13, 2016 at 11:09 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

A civil society organisation, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), has urged the federal government of Nigeria to stand up to powerful oil companies that have continued to abuse the human rights of the people of the Niger Delta with impunity for decades to satisfactorily resolve the crisis in the region.

Against the background of the crisis in the region fuelled by the activities of the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) who are relentlessly bombing the country’s oil infrastructure and have slashed its crude output, SERAP in a statement yesterday by its Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, said an important part of the solution to the human rights crisis is for President Muhammadu Buhari to implement the ECOWAS Court judgment which ordered the federal government to punish oil companies over oil pollution and devastation in the region.

It was advised that the government should make sure that the activities of oil companies in Nigeria bring development to the people, rather than a string of needless human rights tragedies.

It accused former President, Goodluck Jonathan, of ignoring the judgment and showing no political will to hold to account oil companies that have for many years continued to destroy the livelihoods of tens of thousands of people with almost absolute impunity.

It called on President Buhari not to repeat Jonathan’s mistake, saying his government must adhere to the judgment without further delay.

The statement read further: “Oil companies, particularly Shell, have managed to evade responsibility for far too long. And successive governments have allowed them to do so, putting profits before people. As a result, communities badly affected by oil pollution are sinking further into poverty, unable to eat the contaminated fish or drink the water, stained black from the pollution.

“It’s also clear that oil companies wield tremendous influence over the regulatory regime that governs their operations. That has to change for the good and peace of the region. The change that Buhari champions should include justice for the victims of oil pollution in the Niger Delta, and that’s why the ECOWAS judgment is so significant because it provides the framework for action.

“The government should impose fines on oil companies for breach of regulations over the past 10 years and take measures to punish the companies. The government should also investigate the role that oil companies and others have played and continue to play in the environmental pollution in the region, and widely publish the outcome of any such investigation.”

The ECOWAS Court of Justice had in December 2012 in a case brought by SERAP, upheld the right of the people and communities of the Niger Delta to a general satisfactory environment and to an adequate standard of living.

The court unanimously ordered the government to: hold oil companies and other perpetrators of the environmental damage accountable; ensure reparation for the collective harm done to the communities; restore within the shortest possible time the environment of the Niger Delta; and prevent the occurrence of damage to the environment.