By Ise-Oluwa Ige
ABUJAâ€”Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and the Elf Petroleum Nigeria Ltd have requested the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice sitting in Abuja to dismiss a suit instituted against them by the Registered Trustees of the Socio-Economic Rights & Accountability Project (SERAP) over pollution and associated human rights violations in the Niger Delta.
SERAP had alleged in the suit that the Niger Delta has an enormously rich natural endowment in the form of land, water, forests and fauna but that the assets have been subjected to extreme degradation due to oil prospecting by the oil companies
This has been a direct route to poverty, as natural resources have traditionally been primary sources of sustenance. Oil has generated an estimated $600 billion since the 1960s but the majority of the Niger Deltaâ€™s population lives in poverty.â€
Other defendants in the suit are President Umaru Yarâ€™Adua,the Attorney General of the Federation, Michael Aondoakaa (SAN), the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Agip Nigeria PLC; Chevron Oil Nigeria PLC; Total Nigeria PLC; and Exxonmobil Corporation.
Majority of them are yet to file any objection to the suit filed by Solicitor to SERAP, Mr Femi Falana. The group alleged â€œViolations 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.