A Review of the Nigerian Energy Industry

ECOWAS Court blames govt for oil polution in Niger Delta

OLA AJAYI

16 December 2012, Sweetcrude, Ibadan – THE ECOWAS Community Court of Justice in Ibadan has blamed the Federal government of Nigeria for the oil spillage which has polluted the Niger Delta.

At a two hour judgment delivered by Justice Benfeito Mosso Ramos, the Vice President of the ECOWAS Community court, said the lackadaisical attitude of the federal government actually led to the environmental pollution of the region.

While delivering the judgment weekend, the court said the degradation of the environment was primarily caused by the multi-national oil corporations.

Registered Trustees of the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) had filed a suit against the Federal Government and six oil companies over alleged violation of human rights and associated oil pollution in the Niger Delta.

The court noted further that the defence by the federal government that the Niger Delta Ministry, offered 13% derivation to the area did not hold water.

Instead, the court is of the view that the derivation could not compensate the region for what it had suffered.

According to the court, “it clearly shows that the said agencies or ministry established by the federal government exist on papers”, and The court then ordered the federal government to obey all the relevant laws under the ECOWAS law and Africa Treaty.

On the $1billion USD damages demanded by the plaintiff, Justice Ramos did not agree with them saying the plaintiffs failed to identify who will collect the money and share it.

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) had filed the suit marked ECW/CCJ/APP/07/10 against the Federal Government and six oil companies over alleged violation of human rights and associated oil pollution in the Niger Delta.

The plaintiff in the suit dated 25 July 2009, had alleged violations of the rights to an adequate standard of living.

The rights, according to the suit, include right to food, work, health, water, life and human dignity.

The ECOWAS court attended to other cases filed by Togo, Cote Divoire, Niger and ECOWAS.

Five cases were brought from Togo, two from Cote D’ivoire, one each from Nigeria, Niger and ECOWAS commission.

One of the cases was between Gnassingbe Kpatcha and others vs. Republic of Togo.

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  • Even though the ECOWAS Court has stated the obvious well known fact about oil pollution and those behind it in Nigeria, we thank the court for being forthright.