AN APPRAISAL OF HUMAN RIGHT AND ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION OF OGONI LAND IN NIGERIA

AN APPRAISAL OF HUMAN RIGHT AND ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION OF OGONI LAND IN NIGERIA

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ABSTRACT

The right to healthy environment is closely integrated in the basic concept of human right,

namely the „dignity inherent to all members of the human family„‟ But an environment de predated by pollution and defaced by the destruction of all beauty and variety as in the case of Ogoni land in Nigeria ,is harmful to physical and moral health There is of course an integrals link between the right to healthy environment and other human right in general .oil development has been going on in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria since 1957 and it comes at certain cost to the oil communities ,the magnitude of which remains highly debatable .the task of assessing the precise impact of oil development in the Niger Delta region is daunting and often an impossible one. For most of the studies done so far including the UNEP report commissioned August 2011 are highly controversial. As they appear to largely influenced. Thus a study undertaken by environmental or human rights ,NGOS for example, will lump most of the social and environmental problems in the are on oil development ,while report of the oil companies always insist that their operation are conducted with the highest environmental standard and that oil development is not responsible for most of the environmental problems .Another most popular factor for the inability to determine the impact of oil development in the area, are farming ,fishing .forestry and other activities .these activities combined with oil and gas development and the fragile nature of Niger Delta environment, pose great environmental dangers to the area and which in turn affect the socio-economic life of the people ,which affect the right to life, health, work, dignities of human person ,privacy of the home ,education, among other rights .however it is sad to know that the right to healthy environment is yet to be enforceable in Nigeria ,as well as some other jurisdictions. In this project the writer intend to show the in evitable interrelationship between the right to a healthy Environment, which in the broader sense includes the right to information ,right to participate in decision making by people likely to be affected by such decision and right to available and effective demostic remedies to victim (such right is not yet understood and entrenched in the Bill of right of many jurisdiction) the attainment of all the entrenched right ,such as right to life, dignity of human person, right to health etc, that may be expressly guaranteed under the Bill of right in some jurisdiction .It is intended to show that since 1972 Stockholm conference and all the conventions, protocol and treaties signed pursuant thereto. .It can be shown that not many jurisdiction have it entrenched in their bill of right, the courts have to a very large extend recognize and uphelp the right to a healthy environment as a basic fundamental human right without which all other right Cannot be enjoyed. The project examine the impact of non inclusion of right to environment in the fundamental right in section of the 1999 constitution as amended.

CHAPTER ONE

GENERAL INTRODUCTION

1.1       Background to the Study

Ogoni people are one of the many indigenous people in Nigeria, in the region of

Southeast Nigeria shared common related Environmental problems with the Ijaw people

of Niger Delta. But Ogonis are not listed in the list of people historically belonging to

Niger Delta. They number about one million (1,000,000) people and live in a 404

square-mile (11050km2) referred to Ogoni land.

They rose to international attention after a massive public protest campaign

against Shell Oil, led by the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP).

Ogoni land sits between Port Harcourt, the oil capital of Nigeria and home to

Shell Nigeria and Bonny Island where the main oil-export terminals are located-most

Ogoni settlements are near the main river that connects Port Harcourt to the Atlantic

Ocean or along other tidal creeks.

Traditionally, the Niger Delta was a fertile region important for food production.

The Ogoni were a thriving ethnic nationality. Shell had to leave Ogoni land in 1993 and

has not been there since. In early 2011, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation

(NNPC) announced it planned to restart oil production in Ogoni land on behalf of the

Shell Joint Venture. The Ogoni made clear that NNPC is not welcome either.1

As anger in Delta grew, government and oil companies became convinced that

action should be taken to prevent a real uprising; they turned to UNEP, an independent,

1 www.UNEP.org./cp/briefs/2010 August 24. accessed on the 14th June, 2014

1


outside institution. State and federal governments agreed on the project plan. The project

was started in 2010. The aim was to map all polluted sites in the land so that a plan for

clean-up could be constructed. The project was paid by Shell as a UN institution.

The people have been victims of human Right violations for many years. In 15

years period from 1976-1991, there were reportedly 2,976 oil spills of about 2.1 million

barrels of oil, the once alluvial soil of Niger Delta is no longer viable for agricultural

use and attributes to wide spread land degradation and groundwater tested high levels of

hydrocarbons or contaminated with benzene.

In May 1994, nine activities from the movement, among them Ken Saro-Wiwa

were denied due process, upon found equity were hanged, the trail were criticized by

human Right; as violation of their Rights under chapter IV 1999 constitution of the

Federal Republic of Nigeria.

In Nigeria, though Environmental protection is provided for in chapter II of the

1999 constitution (under fundamental objectives and directive principles of state policy)

and not in chapter IV. The Federal High Court Benin has interpreted the constitutionality

guaranteed Right to life2 to include the Right to clean, poison-free, pollution-free,

healthy environment. In Gbemre v Shell Petroleum Development Company Nigeria

Limited and Ors3 the court elevated the status of the Right to environment, to that of a


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