News

November 28, 2022

Illegal pipelines, oil theft: SERAP drags Buhari to ECOWAS Court

By Olasunkanmi Akoni

THE Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, yesterday, sued the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration over its failure to probe the operations of illegal oil pipelines between 2001 and 2022, as well as mention the name and prosecute those suspected to be involved.

The suit was filed by Eric Dooh, (who is suing for himself as a leader of the Goi Community in Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers State, and on behalf of the Goi Community), and 15 other concerned Nigerians.

The suit, filed on their behalf by SERAP lawyer, Kolawole Oluwadare, followed recent reports of the discovery of at least 58 illegal oil pipelines used to steal the country’s oil wealth.

In the Suit filed last Friday before the ECOWAS Court of Justice in Abuja, the Plaintiffs are seeking “an order directing and compelling the Buhari government to immediately probe the reports of operations of illegal pipelines and oil theft, name and prosecute suspected perpetrators.”

The Plaintiffs also sought: “An order directing and compelling the Buhari government to fully recover any proceeds of crime, and to respect, protect, and fulfil the human rights of the people of Niger Delta that have continued to suffer the effects of oil theft by non-state actors.”

In the suit, the Plaintiffs argued that “The Buhari government is failing to uphold its international legal obligations to ensure that the country’s oil wealth is used solely for the benefit of Nigerians and that the wealth does not end up in private pockets.

“Poor and socio-economically vulnerable Nigerians have continued to pay the price for the stealing of the country’s oil wealth apparently by both state and non-state actors.

“Despite the country’s substantial oil wealth, successive governments have largely squandered the opportunity to use the wealth to improve the lives and well-being of ordinary Nigerians.

“The illegal pipelines have been operated for many years without notice, implying a flagrant violation of international human rights obligations to ensure the proper, effective and efficient management of the country’s wealth and natural resources.”

Meanwhile, no date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.