ECOWAS Court to deliver judgment in Nigeria oil pollution case Friday

Lagos, Nigeria (PANA) - The ECOWAS Community Court of Justice sitting in Nigeria's South-west city of Ibadan will deliver judgment Friday in a case brought by the NGO Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) against the Nigerian Government and six oil companies over alleged violation of human rights and associated oil pollution in the oil-producing Niger Delta region

According to a SERAP statement obtained by PANA here Thursday, the court will decide whether the government is responsible for the pollution devastation primarily caused by the operations of multinational corporations in the region, and whether the government has breached its due diligence obligation.

In the case, dated 25 July 2009, the Nigeria-based SERAP had alleged  “violations of the right to an adequate standard of living, including the right to food, to work, to health, to water, to life and human dignity, to a clean and healthy environment; and to economic and social development – as a consequence of: the impact of oil-related pollution and environmental damage on agriculture and fisheries.”

The organisation also alleged “oil spills and waste materials polluting water used for drinking and other domestic purposes; failure to secure the underlying determinants of health, including a healthy environment, and failure to enforce laws and regulations to protect the environment and prevent pollution.”

But while the court initially held that the Nigerian government and its body, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) “can be held accountable for human rights violations in the Niger Delta”, it declined jurisdiction against Chevron Oil Nigeria PLC; Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC); Elf Petroleum Nigeria Ltd; Exxon Mobil Corporation, Agip Nigeria PLC; and Total Nigeria PLC.

“One of the most controversial issues in International Law is the accountability of Companies, especially multinational corporations, for violation or complicity in violations of human rights especially in developing countries. In fact, one of the paradoxes that characterise international law presently is the fact that States and individuals can be held accountable internationally, while companies cannot,” the Court said.
-0- PANA SEG 13Dec2012

13 december 2012 10:13:00

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