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SERAP drags Yar’Adua, 6 oil firms to ECOWAS Court

By Innocent Anaba
ABUJA — The Socio-Economic Rights & Accountability Project (SERAP) has dragged President Umaru Yar’Adua, the Attorney-General of the Federation, Michael Aondoakaa (SAN), the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and six major oil companies operating in Nigeria before the ECOWAS Community Court sitting in Abuja, over pollution and associated human rights violations in the Niger Delta region.

Also joined as defendants in the suit are Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC); Elf Petroleum Nigeria Ltd; Agip Nigeria Plc; Chevron Oil Nigeria Plc; Total Nigeria Plc; and Exxonmobil Corporation.

The plaintiff is also claiming $1billion for victims of human rights violations in the Niger Delta, and other forms of reparation that the court may deem fit to grant.

SERAP’s counsel, Mr Femi Falana, in the suit is contending that “the government of Nigeria and the oil companies are individually and/or collectively responsible for serious 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.”

According to the suit, “the defendants have failed to effectively address the impact of oil-related pollution and environmental damage on agriculture and fisheries; oil spills and waste materials polluting water used for drinking and other domestic purposes; and to enforce laws and regulations to protect the environment and prevent pollution.”

The plaintiff is praying the court to declare that everyone in the Niger Delta is entitled to the internationally recognised human right to an adequate standard of living, including adequate access to food, to healthcare, to clean water, to clean and healthy environment; to socio and economic development; and the right to life and human security and dignity.

* A declaration that the failure and/or complicity and negligence of the Defendants individually and/or collectively to effectively and adequately clean up and re-mediate contaminated land and water; and to address the impact of oil-related pollution and environmental damage on agriculture and fisheries is unlawful and a breach of international human rights obligations it violates the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

* A declaration that the failure of the Defendants to establish any adequate monitoring of the human impacts of oil-related pollution – despite the fact that the oil industry in the Niger Delta is operating in a relatively densely populated area characterized by high levels of poverty and vulnerability, is unlawful as it violates the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

* A order directing the defendants to ensure the full enjoyment of the people of Niger Delta to an adequate standard of living, including adequate access to food, to healthcare, to clean water, to clean and healthy environment; to socio and economic development; and the right to life and human security and dignity.

* An order directing the government of Nigeria to establish adequate regulations for the operations of multinationals in the Niger Delta, and to effectively clean-up and prevent pollution and damage to human rights

* An order directing the government of Nigeria to carry out a transparent and effective investigation into the activities of oil companies operating in the Niger Delta and to bring to justice those suspected to be involved and/or complicity in the violation of human rights highlighted above

* An order directing the defendants individually and/or collectively to pay adequate monetary compensation of $1billion to the victims of human rights violations in the Niger Delta, and other forms of reparation that this court may deem fit to grant.


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