This project set out to examine the compensation of oil spill victims
in the Nigerian oil industry. The compensation of these victims has become
clumsy and dark in the wake of oil bunkering, pipeline vandalism, sabotage,
since in the past, oil spill was as a result of the activities of the oil
companies or operators. The object is to discuss who is responsible for
payments of compensation to oil spill victims who are entangled in a political
system that lacks legislative and administrative guidelines and framework that
will effectively deal with the issue of petroleum compensations arising from
sabotage, bunkering and even activities of multinational oil companies. Nigeria
has become one of the most petroleum-polluted environments in the world. The
impact of the oil spill include habitat degradation, pollution from gas flaring
and these are cumulative and have acted synergistically with other
environmental stresses to impair ecosystems and severely compromise human
livelihoods and health. These unfortunate incidents make the victims
individuals and host community, landowners, pond owners and other property
owners to demand compensation. It is hereby recommended that the Nigerian
government should set up oil pollution compensation funds that will make
provision for compensation for oil pollution damage resulting from activities
of not only multi-national oil companies but that of oil thieves, saboteurs and
pipeline vandals. More so, legislations that will protect the environment of
host communities and ensure timely adequate and fair compensation to them are
to be urgently enacted.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
1.3 AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
1.4 SCOPE OF THE RESEARCH
1.5 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
1.6 LITERATURE REVIEW
2.2 CAUSES OF OIL SPILLAGE
OF OIL SPILLAGE ON THE PRODUCING
COMPANIES PERSPECTIVE ON SPILLAGE.
OF PROOF IN CASES OF ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION IN OIL RELATED CASES
3.1 LEGAL FRAMEWORK ON COMPENSATION
3.2.2 OIL IN
NAVIGABLE WATER ACT
TERMINAL DUES ACT
3.2.4 NESREA ACT
QUANTUM OF COMPENSATION ON
4.2 JUDICIAL ATTITUDE TOWARDS COMPENSATION
Recently, it was
announced amidst cheers and jeers that the Nigeria Economy has surpassed that
of South Africa after the most populous nation in Africa overhauled its Gross
Domestic Product (GDP) data for the first time in two decades. On paper, the
size of the Economy expanded by more than three-quarters to an estimated 80
trillion Naira (8488 billion) for 2013. Yemi Kale also
confirms that the revised figures make Nigeria the 26th biggest
Economy in the world. According to the new data, Nigeria’s Economy grew at 12.7
percent between 2012 and 2013.
Much of Nigeria’s Gross
Domestic Product (GDP) is driven by oil production, which accounts for 40
percent of its GDP; since oil was discovered in 1956 till the present time it
has dominated the Economy. Shell B.P and other developers in the pursuit of commercially
available petroleum found oil in Nigeria in 1956.
to the discovery of oil, Nigeria like many other African countries strongly
relied on agricultural exports to other countries to supply their Economy.
Many Nigerians thought
the developers were looking for palm oil but after
nearly 50 years of searching for oil in the country, shell B.P discovered the
oil at Oloibiri in the Niger-Delta. Wishing to utilize the new found oil
opportunity, the first oil field began production in 1958 after that,
the Economy of Nigeria would have seemingly experienced a strong increase and
truthfully it has, but not without leaving behind some adverse environmental
For nearly a century,
petroleum production and consumption has probably brought out both the best and
worst of Modern
The industry has
contributed enormously to the world Economy growth and higher standard of
living in our time the
mythos of oil and oil-wealth has been central to the history of
Industrial Capitalism, and annual oil revenue of over N50 Billion has ushered
in a miserable, undisciplined, decrepit and corrupt form of petro-capitalism
after over a half century of oil production from which over 400 Billion Dollar
in oil revenue have flowed directly into the Federal exchequer, paradoxically
oil producing states in the Federation, the Niger-Delta have benefitted the
least from the oil-wealth having been devastated by the Ecological cost of oil
spillage and the highest Gas Flaring rates in the world.
Oil spills in Nigeria are
a common occurrence, it has been estimated that between nine million to 13
million barrels have spilled since oil drilling started in 1958. The
Government estimates that about 7, 000 spills occurred between 1970 and 20047.
Spills take out crops and aquaculture through
of the ground water and soil. Drinking water is also frequently contaminated,
and sheen of oil is visible in many localized bodies of water. If the drinking
water is contaminated, even if no immediate health effects are apparent, the
numerous hydrocarbons and chemicals present in oil represent a carcinogenic
risk. While offshore spill which are usually much greater in scale, contaminate
coastal Environment and cause a decline in local Fishing Production.
The people of Niger-Delta
live in extreme poverty even in the face of great material wealth found in the
waters by their homes. According to Amnesty international 70% of the six
million people in the Niger-River Delta live off of less than 3 USD per day for
many people this mean finding work in labour market, which is in many instances
hostile to them.
The people of Niger-Delta
have been greatly affected by oil spill but worthy of note is the fact that it
is not only in the NigerDelta region that oil spillage occurs. Oil spillage
occurs from oil tankers across the states in Nigeria, due to breakdown of
operations of refineries in the country, oil tankers transport petrol and
kerosene from the Southern parts to the Northern parts of
Thousands of lives have
been lost when oil tankers spill the product they carry and properties worth
billions of Naira lost, oil producing communities have continually live in
poverty and serious health hazard resulting from Environmental degradation
caused by oil spillages.
Over the years, many
civil society have called on the Federal Government to come to the aid of these
communities and to curtail the excesses of oil producing companies, to this
moment little have been achieved by this call. The question then is asked, what
are the liabilities of oil companies to producing communities who perpetually
suffered from its activities? Who compensates them? It is an undisputable fact
that Nigeria Legislations are weak and are rarely enforced thereby allowing oil
companies in essence to self regulate and get away with all acts of
degradation as caused by their activities.
It is on this premise
that this project is set out, to critically examine the activities of oil
companies, to also examine various
Environmental Laws, Judicial stand on compensation claims arising from
spillage, the justifiability or otherwise of militancy and the campaigns of
Environmental right activists.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
takes diverse forms, ranging from pollution and destruction of the Ecosystem to
degraded fresh water supplies and arable land.
Environmental damages as a direct result of oil spill in Nigeria and lack of
reasonable measures of restoration to the victims is alarming. The
international agenda often focuses on broad-based concerns of Environmental
degradation such as desertification, climate change and Air Pollution. However,
for the world’s most vulnerable and marginalized groups, issued of
Environmental degradation tend to be more localized and immediate in their
due to oil spillage being suffered across the country most especially in the
Niger-Delta usually resulted more often than not in decreased Production, for
example reduced Soil Fertility may produce lower yields and deteriorated water
quality can impact on Fishing. These problems are of great concern to the oil
producing local communities and have direct impact on their livelihood, food
security and health.
The cogent question to be
asked at this juncture is who bears the responsibility of compensating the
victims of oil spill, would it be the oil company or the Government? So many
Nigerians have lost their lives in the struggle to ensure adequate compensation
to oil spill victims. How long would the local communities endure this untold hardship? Are the oil
companies and the Government literarily drilling dry these local communities
with out giving any thing in return? Thus, this project would discuss, analyze
and critically examine the urgent need for a legal frame work on compensation
of oil spill victims in Nigeria and by judicial review examined on whose the
liabilities lies for compensation; the oil companies or the Government.
1.3 AIMS AND
The main objective of
this project is to examine problems associated with compensation of oil spill
victims in Nigeria, to analyze and evaluate natural oil resources extraction,
its impact on the Environment and its effect on Development in the NigerDelta communities;
this would be reviewed in the context of world system analysis and theories.
1.4 SCOPE OF THE
This thesis will be
focused primarily in analyzing the devastating effect of oil spillage on the
Environment and its effect in the oil producing communities of Niger-Delta
region and Nigeria as a whole.
We shall also examine
Nigeria legislation on oil spillage, the judicial view on compensation claims
of victims of oil spillage.
This paper relies on both
the primary and secondary sources. The primary sources that will be relied upon
are the various petroleum Laws/Act, Environmental Laws/Act and case Laws as it
bothers on oil spillage and compensation claims.
This thesis also relies
on secondary data that are sourced from textbooks, journals, articles,
periodicals, magazines, news items and internet.
There are quite a number
of articles and Journals that have been written on Environmental degradation
caused by oil spillage, the suffering and neglect of the oil producing
communities but only few make an exposition into the causes if oil spillage,
Judicial attitude on compensation claims by the victims of oil spillage and the
burden of proof before compensation is awarded.
M.T. in his book Biodiversity, Environment litigation,
Human Right and access to Environmental Justice dwelt
basically on Environmental rights, sustainable development in Nigeria and
inaccessibility to Justice when it comes to Environmental matters. Adekunbi Imoseni
and Nzeribe Abangwu in their article;
of Oil Spill Victims in Nigeria: The More The Oil, The More The Blood
focuses more on the factors militating against compensation of oil spill
victims in the Nigeria oil industry, they wrote extensively on corruption in
the oil industry, oil bunkering, militancy, pipeline vandalism and sabotage.
Again they did not discuss the judicial stand point on matters of oil spillage.
This study will therefore
look at the adverse effect of oil spillage on producing communities,
compensation claims of victims of oil spillage, who pay compensations to oil
victims? the oil producing companies or the Government? The various program of
Environmental and Human rights activist, its successes or otherwise.
Oil spill is the leakage or discharge of petroleum
onto the surface of inland or coastal water. It assumes disastrous dimension
when an uncontrollable well blows out or pipeline ruptures
The magnitude of crude
oil pollution and damages occasioned by multi-national oil companies operating
in NigerDelta region of Nigeria is incredible. The growing trend of oil
discovery in many countries of Africa and news of the discovery of oil and Gas
deposits in the Anambra/Kogi basin is throwing attention once more in the
potential of many more states within the Nigeria Federation to join the league
of oil producing states within the shortest possible time.
With this blessing comes
with it an equal level of curse in the form of oil spillage, if and when oil is
discovered in the lake - Chad then the issue of oil spillage and Environmental
degradation would yet again be a frontline discussion.
It has become paramount
to look at his new development and to critically examine how the Niger-Delta
communities had feared, what remedy is there for victims of oil spillage, how
viable is the Nigeria legislation as it relates to Environmental degradation
occasioned by oil spill and provision of compensation to oil spills victims.
This study after its
conclusion will be of great addition to literary work and be of immense
assistance to Students, Lecturers, Legal Practitioners and Policy makers.
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