Federal Government has been dragged to the Community Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, by aggrieved oil-producing communities in the Niger Delta Region over the allocation of oil blocks to some Nigerians.
They asked the court to declare as unlawful and a violation of their Fundamental Rights, the unilateral allocation of crude oil blocks to private Nigerians and their firms by the respondent.
The communities demanded $30billion and remedial damages done to them and their environment by the oil firms operating in the region.
The plaintiffs described the Federal Government’s action as a total disregard of the rights of the people of the communities in whose land the crude oil is located as entrenched in Articles 21, 22 and 24 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, ACHPR, as well as Article 1 (1-3) of the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, ICCPR, and Article 1s (1-3) and 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, ICESCR.
The plaintiffs are Mr. Nosa Ehanire Osaghae, Mr. Joseph Gbemre, Mr. Peter Aiko Obobaifo and Mr. Daniel Ikpomwosa, who sued on their behalf and their communities.
Represented by Mr. Solomon Omobude who filed the case for themselves and on behalf of the Niger Delta people of Nigeria, they prayed for a declaration on the unbridled oil exploration, gas flaring and resultant pollution and deaths of people in the Niger Delta region in the past 30 years which has led to severe environmental degradation and destruction without proper steps taken by the Federal Government to prevent the clear violation of their fundamental rights to life and dignity as Nigerians living in the oil-producing areas.
They further contended the development had affected their rights to self-determination, right to healthy environment which contravened the provisions of Articles 1, 2, 4, 16 and 24 of the Africa Charter on Human and Peoples Rights as well as Articles 1 and 6 of the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and that of Articles 1 and 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
The applicants prayed the court for an order directing the government to immediately declare a moratorium on all oil blocks transactions by suspending or ceasing all onshore and offshore oil blocks acquiring, awarding, leasing, renewing, prospecting, buying and selling in any form whatsoever, pending the hearing and the determination of the substantive matter.
The petitioners also want the court to direct the government to immediately pay $30billion being remedial damages for the immediate clean up of the polluted Niger Delta region for the excess of nine million barrels of spilled crude oil as well as for the hazardous gas flaring over the last 50 years of oil exploration and exploitation in line with the relevant Articles of the Africa Charter on Human and People’s Rights, among others.


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