The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project and 16 other Nigerians have filed a lawsuit against the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) over its “failure to investigate the activities of illicit oil pipelines between 2001 and 2022.”
This follows the discovery of at least 58 illicit oil pipelines used to plunder the country’s oil revenue.
According to a statement obtained by The PUNCH, “the stealing is reportedly carried out through the illicit pipeline connected to the trunk line via an abandoned pipeline and linked to a location in the high seas, where they load crude oil into vessels and sell overseas.”
The suit, ECW/CCJ/APP/53/22, was filed last Friday before the ECOWAS Court of Justice in Abuja by SERAP, Chief Eric Dooh (who is suing for himself as a leader of the Goi community in Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers State and on behalf of the Goi community), and 15 other concerned Nigerians.
The plaintiffs are arguing that the Buhari regime is failing to uphold its international legal obligations to ensure that the country’s oil wealth is used solely for the benefit of Nigerians and that the wealth does not end up in private pockets.
The suit read, “Despite the country’s substantial oil wealth, successive governments have largely squandered the opportunity to use the wealth to improve the lives and well-being of ordinary Nigerians.”
They argued that the illegal pipelines had been operated for many years without notice, implying a flagrant violation of international human rights obligations to ensure the proper, effective, and efficient management of the country’s wealth and natural resources.
The plaintiffs asked the ECOWAS court for some reliefs, which included “a declaration that everyone in the Niger Delta is entitled to the internationally recognised human right to an adequate standard of living.”
“An order directing the defendant to pay adequate monetary compensation of $500m ($500,000,000.00) to the victims of these crimes and human rights violations within the Niger Delta region and any other forms of reparation that the honourable court may deem fit to grant,” they added.