The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has said for the Federal Government to satisfactorily resolve the crisis that has engulfed the Niger Delta in recent times, it must stand up to powerful oil companies, which it claimed have continued to abuse the human rights of the people of the oil-rich region for decades unchallenged.
The group made the call against the backdrop of continuing crisis in the Niger Delta fuelled by the activities of the militant Niger Delta Avengers, who are relentlessly bombing the country’s oil infrastructure and have slashed its crude output.
In a statement issued on Sunday by its executive director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, SERAP said that, “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 Nigerian government to punish oil companies over oil pollution and devastation in the region”.
The statement reads in part: “This 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.
“The government of former President Goodluck Jonathan ignored the judgment and showed 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. President Buhari shouldn’t repeat Jonathan’s mistake. He should make sure that his government adheres to this judgment without further delay.
“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”.
Recall that the ECOWAS Court of Justice in December 2012 in a case brought by Femi Falana, SAN, on behalf of SERAP on 23 July, 2009 against the President of Nigeria, the Attorney General of the Federation, Nigerian National Petroleum Company, Shell Petroleum Development Company, ELF Petroleum Nigeria ltd, AGIP Nigeria PLC, Chevron Oil Nigeria PLC, Total Nigeria PLC and Exxon Mobil, 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.
The court also found that “oil spills pollute water, destroy aquatic life and soil fertility with resultant adverse effect on the health and means of livelihood of people in its vicinity. The government has failed in recent years to take any single action to punish perpetrators of oil pollution. It is incumbent upon the Federal Republic of Nigeria to prevent or tackle the situation by holding accountable those who caused the situation (with the clear expectation of impunity) and to ensure that adequate reparation is provided for the victims”.
The court further stated that the numerous laws passed to regulate the extractive oil and gas industry and safeguard their effects on the environment, the creation of agencies to ensure the implementation of the legislation, and the allocation to the region, 13% of the revenue that comes from natural resource extraction in the region to be used for its development, have totally failed to prevent the continued environmental degradation of the region, “as evidenced by the facts abundantly proven in this case and admitted by the very same Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Article 15(4) of the ECOWAS Treaty makes the Judgment of the Court binding on Member States, including Nigeria. Also, Article 19(2) of the 1991 Protocol provides that the decisions of the Court shall be final and immediately enforceable.
Saraki Leads PDP’s Nati youonal Reconciliation Panel
Former Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki has been appointed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the chairman of its National Reconciliation Committee.
The committee made up of five other members is expected to work to resolve grievances and disagreements among party members across the country.
This development was confirmed in a tweet late on Monday night by the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan.
— Kola Ologbondiyan (@officialKolaO) November 23, 2020
Other members of the committee are former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Pius Ayim; former Governors Liyel Imoke (Cross River), Ibrahim Dankwambo (Gombe), and Ibrahim Shema (Katsina); as well as former House Minority Leader, Mulikat Akande.
Fashola: If We Keep Our Promises, APC Will Retain Power In 2023
Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola has expressed optimism that Nigerians will still vote the All Progressives Congress (APC) back to power in 2023.
Fashola, however, added that the only thing that can make Nigerians not to vote for the APC is if the party fails to fulfill its campaign promises to them.
The Minister made this remark while speaking with journalists on Monday in Abuja.
He noted that even if the promises are not 100% fulfilled but the citizens see signs of commitment and progress, other parties should forget about displacing APC in 2023.
The former Lagos State Governor added that opposition parties are not doing better than the APC, hence should not expect Nigerians to vote for them come 2023.
He said: “Some governors have joined us, from where we think we could not get voters before. To retain power in 2023, certainly if we keep our promises, people will vote for us. It is that simple, that is politics,” the former Lagos governor said.
“If you do what you say you will do, even if you don’t do hundred percent and they see that you are making progress, they will even want you to finish what you started.”
Akeredolu Sacks Ondo Attorney-General, Olawoye
Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State has sacked the state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Kola Olawoye.
This was made known in a statement on Monday by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Segun Ajiboye.
Akeredolu immediately appointed a human rights lawyer, Mr. Charles Titiloye, as the new Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice.
According to the statement, the Ondo State governor would forward Titiloye’s name to the State House of Assembly for confirmation.
Akeredolu also expressed his appreciation to the sacked commissioner for services rendered to the state.
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