SERAP urges FG to curb excesses of oil companies to end N’Delta crisis

By Olaolu Oladipo, Lagos
A civil society group, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged the Federal Government to curb the excesses of oil majors operating in the Niger Delta region of the country. 

While stating that this call would put a final halt to the crisis in the region, SERAP in a statement it issued on Sunday urged the government “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.”

SERAP in a statement by its Executive Director, Mr. Adetokunbo Mumuni said that, “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.

“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.”
Mumuni added that “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.”
He specifically mentioned Shell as having managed to evade
responsibility for far too long, adding “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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