Monday, 17 December 2012
ECOWAS court asks Nigeria to punish oil firms for pollution
In a suit SERAP v. Nigeria, filed by SERAP counsel, Femi Falana SAN, Adetokunbo Mumuni and Sola Egbeyinka, it was alleged that the government and six oil companies were involved in violation of human rights and associated oil pollution in the Niger Delta.
SERAP 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.”
In the judgment which was delivered by a panel of six judges, Justice Awa Nana Daboya, Justice Benefeito Mosso Ramos, Justice Hansine Donli, Justice Alfred Benin, Justice Clotilde Medegan and Justice Eliam Potey, the court unanimously found the Nigerian government responsible for abuses by oil firms and made it clear that the government must hold the firms and other perpetrators to account.
The court also found that Nigeria violated Articles 21 (on the right to natural wealth and resources) and 24 (on the right to a general satisfactory environment) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights by failing to protect the Niger Delta and its people from the operations of oil companies that have for many years devastated the region.