SERAP v. Nigeria, Ruling, Suit No: ECW/CCJ/APP/08/09 and RUL. No: ECW/CCJ/APP/07/10 (ECOWAS, Dec. 10, 2010)

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3. The complaint is based on violation of the right to adequate standard of living, including the
right to food, to work, to health, to water, to life and human dignity, to a clean and healthy
environment; and to economic and social development - as a consequence of: the impact of - oil
related pollution and environmental damage on agriculture and fisheries; oil spills and waste
materials polluting 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.
4. The applicant alleges that the Niger Delta, a region of federal Republic of Nigeria, has suffered
for decades from oil spills, which occur both on land and offshore. Oil on land destroy crops and
damage the quality and productivity of soil that the communities use for farming . Oil in water
damages fisheries and contaminates water that people use for drinking and other domestic
purposes. Widespread and unchecked Human Rights violation related to the oil industry have
pushed many people deeper into poverty and deprivation, fuelled conflict and led to a pervasive
sense of powerlessness and frustration.
5. Hundreds of thousands of people are affected, particularly the poorest and other most vulnerable
sector of the population, and those who rely on traditional livelihoods such as fishing and
agriculture. However, the Human Rights implications have received little attention from the
government of Nigeria or the oil companies, the Defendants herein.
6. Devastating activities of the oil industry in the Niger Delta continue to damage the health and
livelihoods of the people of the area. The failure of the oil companies and regulators to deal with
them swiftly and lack of effective clean - up greatly exacerbates the Human Rights and
environmental impacts of such spills.
7. Both African Commission on Human and peoples' Right and the UN Human Rights Committee
have expressed serious concern about pollution and called on the government of Nigeria to take
urgent action to deal with the Human rights impacts of oil industry pollution and environmental
degradation. However, the defendants have failed individually and/or collectively to remedy the
8. On 14th November 2005, a Federal High Court of Nigeria ruled that gas flaring in the Iwerekhan
Community of Delta State was a violation of the constitutional guaranteed rights to life and dignity,
which include right to " a clean, poison - free, pollution - free, healthy environment." Niger Delta
provides a stark case study of the lack of accountability of a government to its people and of
multinational companies almost total lack of accountability when it comes to the impact of their
operations on Human Rights.
9. The environmental damage that has been done, and continues to be done, as a consequence of oil
production in the Niger Delta, has led to serious violations of Human rights. People living in the
Niger Delta have to drink, cook and wash with polluted water; they eat fish contaminated with oil
and other toxins and the land they use for farming is destroyed because of the lack of respect for
the ecosystem necessary for their survival. After oil spills the air they breathes reeks of oil and gas

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