Nigeria and Oil Spills

It shocked me to find out that incidents such as the gulf disaster in US have been happening in Nigeria for over a decade. It is quite shameful that these events don’t make it to the news in quite the same way as they do in North America. As if that wasn’t enough, the companies implicated in this country are the  (in)famous Big Oil multinationals. And wouldn’t you know it one that is implicated in this latest report in The Guardian is BP!!!

Shell has acknowledged that corroded pipeline spills happen every year! To avoid public scrutiny they quickly point out the fact that equipment error accounts for 2% of the spills, the rest are attributed to the state of lawlessness and disorder in the country.

From the Nigerian Govt. standpoint, there seems to be a complete lack of leadership and control. The private companies work on the premise that their CSR is limited to paying the government and leaving the governance responsibilities to them.

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Posted in ecological degradation, energy, pollution
2 comments on “Nigeria and Oil Spills
  1. evigno says:

    One of the concerns raised in the article from ‘The Guardian’ is the whole issue of justice. The government and legislative bodies in Nigeria simply dont care and are unwilling to act. Justice, therefore, does not enter the equation.

    Nevertheless, in this article
    http://washafrica.wordpress.com/2010/01/04/nigeria-dutch-court-to-try-shell-for-oil-spills/
    I read that a Dutch court has claimed and won jurisdiction over a case of alleged oil spills brought against Royal Dutch Shell’s subsidiary in Nigeria by four Nigerian farmers and Friends of the Earth. It got me thinking about whether this could be the start of a trend, whereby, we see Big Oil being brought to justice outside of the host country’s juristiction. And if so, whether this would change the attitudes and practices of the offending MNC’s?

    My main concern is that this ‘justice’ may only be in the form of financial penalties – in which case these companies will only be too happy to pay up, if it means they can continue with business as usual. The likelihood is that a more radical approach is required, for instance, a complete overhaul of the current legal system. So we must ask ourselves, how easily can a change of this magnitude be achieved?

  2. jeremy says:

    Good post Umang.

    This is, indeed, encouraging news Eoghan. And, yes, the financial penalties must be commensurate with the scale of the offence and the ability to pay.

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