How to end Niger Delta crises – SERAP advises FG

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, has proffered solution to the lingering crises in the Niger Delta region, saying Federal Government must hold Oil Companies accountable for the devastation in the region.
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Soldiers in the CreeksIn a statement signed by the organisations Executive Director, Adetokumbo Mumuni, SERAP called on the Federal Government to “stand up to powerful oil companies that have continued to abuse the human rights of the people of the Niger Delta with impunity for decades if it is to satisfactorily resolve the crisis in the region.”

Recall that the Economic Community Of West African State, ECOWAS, Court of Justice had in December 2012 ordered the government to hold oil companies and other perpetrators of the environmental damage accountable, ensure reparation for the collective harm done to the communities; restore within the shortest possible time the environment of the Niger Delta; and prevent the occurrence of damage to the environment.

Proffering solution to the crises in the region which has being further fueled by the activities of militancy, SERAP said, “An important part of the solution to the human rights crisis is for President Muhammadu Buhari to implement the ECOWAS Court judgment which ordered the Nigerian government to punish oil companies over oil pollution and devastation in the region.”

The statement reads, “This government should make sure that the activities of oil companies in Nigeria bring development to the people, rather than a string of needless human rights tragedies.”

“The government of former President Goodluck Jonathan ignored the judgment and showed no political will to hold to account oil companies that have for many years continued to destroy the livelihoods of tens of thousands of people with almost absolute impunity. President Buhari shouldn’t repeat Jonathan’s mistake. He should make sure that his government adheres to this judgment without further delay.

Firefighters try to extinguish a blaze on Thursday in Lagos following an explosion on an oil pipeline.
Firefighters try to extinguish a blaze on Thursday in Lagos following an explosion on an oil pipeline.

“Oil companies, particularly Shell, have managed to evade responsibility for far too long. And successive governments have allowed them to do so, putting profits before people. As a result, communities badly affected by oil pollution are sinking further into poverty, unable to eat the contaminated fish or drink the water, stained black from the pollution.”

“It’s also clear that oil companies wield tremendous influence over the regulatory regime that governs their operations. That has to change for the good and peace of the region. The change that Buhari champions should include justice for the victims of oil pollution in the Niger Delta, and that’s why the ECOWAS judgment is so significant because it provides the framework for action.”

“The government should impose fines on oil companies for breach of regulations over the past 10 years and take measures to punish the companies. The government should also investigate the role that oil companies and others have played and continue to play in the environmental pollution in the region, and widely publish the outcome of any such investigation.”

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