Self Determination: Edoexit 2017 Referendum

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NIGER DELTA INDEPENDENCE REFERENDUM

(SELF DETERMINATION)


DOWNLOAD THE LEGAL DOCUMENTS HERE

Ecowas Suit No: ECW/CCJ/APP/20/15

Ecowas Court Jugdments

Ecowas Court Game Plan

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IN THE COURT OF JUSTICE OF THE ECONOMIC COMMUNITY OF WEST AFRICAN STATES

HOLDEN AT ABUJA

SUIT NO: ECW/CCJ/APP/2O/15

 

BETWEEN

1) NOSA EHANIRE OSAGHAE

2) JONAH GBEMRE

3) PETER AIKO OBOBAIFO ————————–   (PLAINTIFF)

4) DANIEL IKPONMWOSA

(suing for themselves and on behalf of

The Niger Delta people of Nigeria)

                      AND

  • FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA    (DEFENDANT)

 

 

APPLICATION

 

BROUGHT PURSUANT TO

 

  1. ARTICLE 32 (1-5) & ARTICLE 33 (1-7); OF THE RULES OF THE COMMUNITY COURT OF JUSTICE.

 

  1. ARTICLE 11 (1-2) OF THE COMMUNITY COURT OF JUSTICE PROTOCOL.
  • ARTICLE 10 OF THE SUPPLEMENTARY PROTOCOL.

 

  1. ARTICLE 1, 2, 4, 9, 16, 21, 22, 23 & 24 OF THE AFRICAN CHARTER ON HUMAN AND PEOPLES RIGHTS (ACHPR).

 

  1. ARTICLE 1, 2, 3, 6 & 8 OF THE UNITED NATION’S INTERNATIONAL COVENANT ON CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS (ICCPR).

 

  1. ARTICLE 1, 2, 3, 5, 9, 11, 12 & 13 OF THE INTERNATIONAL COVENANT ON ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS (ICESCR).

 

NAMES AND ADDRESSES OF THE PLAINTIFF:

 

The Plaintiffs are Mr. Nosa Ehanire Osaghae, Mr. Jonah Gbemre, Mr. Peter Aiko Obobaifo and Mr. Daniel Ikponmwosa. Their contact address is No. 18 Ezoti Street, Off Airport Road, Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria.

 

DESIGNATION OF THE DEFENDANT:

 

1) FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA

 

SUBJECT MATTER OF PROCEEDINGS:

 

FOR THE VIOLATION OF THE PLAINTIFF’S FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN, CIVIL, SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC RIGHTS AND THAT OF THE NIGER DELTA PEOPLE OF NIGERIA.

 

FACTS:

 

WHEREAS:

  1. The Federal Republic of Nigeria is a signatory to the Revised Treaty Establishing the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) dated 24th of July, 1993.

 

  1. The Plaintiffs are Community Citizens within the meaning of Article 1 (1) (a) of the Protocol A/P3/5/82 relating to the definition of Community Citizen.

 

ORDERS SOUGHT BY APPLICANT:

 

  1. A DECLARATION that the unilateral allocation of Crude Oil Blocs to private Nigerians and their firms by the Federal Government of Nigeria in total disregard to the people of the communities in whose lands the crude oil is located is unlawful and same violates their Fundament Rights as entrenched in Article 21, 22 & 24 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (ACHPR); Article 1 (1-3) of the United Nation’s International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR); and Article 1 (1-3) & 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).

 

  1. A DECLARATION that the unbridled crude 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 being taken by the Federal Government of Nigeria to prevent same is unlawful and a clear violation of their Fundamental Rights to life, and the dignity of Nigerians living in the oil producing areas of the Niger-Delta Region, Right to Self Determination, Right to healthy Environment and same is contrary to the provisions of Article 1, 2, 4, 16 & 24 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (ACHPR); Article 1 & 6 of the United Nation’s International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

(ICCPR); Article 1 & 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).

 

  1. AN ORDER directing the Federal Government of Nigeria to immediately declare a MORATORIUM on all oil blocs transactions by suspending or ceasing all onshore and offshore Oil Blocs acquiring, awarding, leasing, renewing, prospecting, buying and selling in any form whatsoever pending the hearing and determination of the substantive matter (ACHPR: Article 1 & 21.2).

 

  1. AN ORDER mandating the Federal Government of Nigeria to re-allocate the ownership of all onshore and offshore oil blocs in the Niger Delta region back to the indigenous oil communities (ACHPR: Article 21 & 22) & (ICESCR Article 11).

 

  1. AN ORDER directing the Federal Government of Nigeria to immediately pay remedial environmental damages for an immediate clean up exercise in the oil polluted Niger Delta region to the tune of $30 billion for the excess of 9 million barrels of spilt crude oil in the Niger Delta region and for hazardous gas flaring over the last fifty years of oil exploration and exploitation in the Niger Delta region (ACHPR: Article 1, 21 & 24;) & (ICESCR Article 12).

 

  1. AN ORDER mandating the Federal Government of Nigeria to facilitate an enabling environment for the people of Niger Delta in actualizing their innate desire, yearning, cry, call and demand for the conduct of a SELF-DETERMINATION REFERENDUM for the over 30 million people of the Niger Delta region who are impoverished, deprived, aggrieved, and who are unlawfully and unjustly being marginalized by successive Federal Governments of Nigeria since independence till date (ICCPR & ICESCR: Article 1.1, 1.2 & 1.3).

 

ANY OTHER ORDER OR FURTHER ORDERS that this Honourable Court may deem fit to make in the circumstances of this case.

 

 

3.0 LEGAL ARGUMENT AND SUBMISSIONS

 

  • There are several international laws and treaties that have been ratified by the Federal Republic of Nigeria and made part of her municipal laws. The essential provisions of some of these laws are germane to the just determination and the enforcement of the Fundamental Human Right of the Niger Delta people of Nigeria. They include but not limited to:

 

(a)  AFRICAN CHARTER ON HUMAN AND PEOPLES RIGHTS (ACHPR)

 

Article 1

The Member States of the Organization of African Unity (Africa Unity-AU) parties to the present Charter shall recognize the rights, duties and freedoms enshrined in this Charter and shall undertake to adopt legislative or other measures to give effect to them.

 

Article 2

Every individual shall be entitled to the enjoyment of the rights and freedoms recognized and guaranteed in the present Charter without distinction of any kind such as race, ethnic group, colour, sex, language, religion, political or any other opinion, national and social origin, fortune, birth or other status.

 

Article 21

  1. All peoples shall freely dispose of their wealth and natural resources. This right shall be exercised in the exclusive interest of the people. In no case shall a people be deprived of it.
  2. In case of spoliation the dispossessed people shall have the right to the lawful recovery of its property as well as to an adequate compensation.
  3. The free disposal of wealth and natural resources shall be exercised without prejudice to the obligation of promoting international economic cooperation based on mutual respect, equitable exchange and the principles of international law.
  4. States parties to the present Charter shall individually and collectively exercise the right to free disposal of their wealth and natural resources with a view to strengthening African unity and solidarity.
  5. States parties to the present Charter shall undertake to eliminate all forms of foreign economic exploitation particularly that practiced by international monopolies so as to enable their peoples to fully benefit from the advantages derived from their national resources.

 

Article 22

  1. All peoples shall have the right to their economic, social and cultural development with due regard to their freedom and identity and in the equal enjoyment of the common heritage of mankind.
  2. States shall have the duty, individually or collectively, to ensure the exercise of the right to development.

 

Article 23

  1. All peoples shall have the right to national and international peace and security. The principles of solidarity and friendly relations implicitly affirmed by the Charter of the United Nations and reaffirmed by that of the Organization of African Unity shall govern relations between States.

 

Article 24

All peoples shall have the right to a general satisfactory environment favourable to their development.

 

We submit that the above provisions in the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights is plain and unambiguous as same gives the Niger Delta people the right to economic, social and cultural development. The attainment of these rights is now being denied the Niger Delta people by the 1st Respondent.

 

(b & c)       INTERNATIONAL COVENANT ON CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS (ICCPR) &

INTERNATIONAL COVENANT ON ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS (ICESCR)

 

The Covenant was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly the Covenant had been ratified by 147 states of which Nigeria is one.

The Covenant elaborates further the civil and political rights and freedoms listed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Under Article 1 of the Covenant, the states commit themselves to promote the right to self-determination and to respect that right. It also recognizes the rights of peoples to freely own, trade and dispose of their natural wealth and resources. In accordance with the Universal Declaration, the Covenants recognize that “… the ideal of free human beings enjoying civil and political freedom and freedom from fear and want can be achieved only if conditions are created whereby everyone may enjoy his civil and political rights, as well as his economic, social and cultural rights.” It provides thus:

 

Article 1

  1. All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.
  2. All peoples may, for their own ends, freely dispose of their natural wealth and resources without prejudice to any obligations arising out of international economic co-operation, based upon the principle of mutual benefit, and international law. In no case may a people be deprived of its own means of subsistence.
  3. The States Parties to the present Covenant, including those having responsibility for the administration of Non-Self-Governing and Trust Territories, shall promote the realization of the right of self-determination, and shall respect that right, in conformity with the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations.

 

4.0 CONCLUSION

Finally, we passionately pray this Honourable Court to grant all the reliefs being sought in this application for the enforcement of the Fundamental Human Rights of the Niger Delta people who continue to suffer injustice in the hands of the Respondents and their collaborators. We are ready to call witnesses to give oral evidence subject however to the court’s discretion.

 

                                                                           Dated this  _____26th____  day of ____May______ 2015

                                                                                                                                        _______________________

                                                                                                                                        SOLOMON OMOBUDE, ESQ.                                                                                                                                                                   WISE COUNSEL CHAMBERS

APPLICANTS’ SOLICITOR                                                                                                                                                                     129, SILUKO ROAD,

BENIN CITY.

Tel: 08065290655

1ST RESPONDENT

THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OF NIGERIA,

C/O ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION,

 

ADDRESS FOR ALL SERVICES / CORRESPONDENCE

All court processes and notices may be served via registered mail only to the listed address

 

The Legal Adviser,

Institute for Benin Studies,

18 Ezoti Street (Behind Oba Palace),

Off Airport Road, Benin City,

Tel: 081 8171 3624, 080 3390 9089

 

ECOWAS COURT CLASS ACTION GAME-PLAN

 

LEGAL CAMPAIGN STRATEGY

 

  1. First Lawsuit is an APLLICATION to re-allocate ALL Oil Blocs (both the Local Content Venture & NNPC Joint Venture) back to a newly set up Oil Communities Petroleum Corporation (OCPC) comprising of stake holders and indigenous board of directors and staff while remitting taxes & royalties to the federal government.

 

  1. Second Lawsuit is a MOTION EXPARTE to suspend or freeze all Oil Bloc renewals, leases, transfers, sales & awards until the case before the Ecowas Court is finally resolved in order to forestall any attempt to renew the expired and expiring Oil Blocs for another tenure of up to 20 years.

 

III. Third Lawsuit is a DAMAGE CLAIM to the tune of $30 billion for the over 9 million barrels of crude oil spilled in the Niger Delta region over the last 50 years of oil production at the average international rate of $3000-$4000 per barrel of which:

 

  1. $10 billion is earmarked for the entire Niger Delta environmental clean up & regeneration of the polluted farm lands & fishing waters together with the rejuvenation of the old ecosystem and re-introduction of a new eco-system within the next 10 years under the auspices of international experts and NGOs like Amnesty International, Friends of the Earth & ERA.

 

  1. $10 billion is earmarked for fast-track industrialization & infrastructural developments within 3 years such as Specialist hospitals & health centers; free education private schools & skills acquisition centers; low cost housing estates; stable gas turbine electricity; free potable water boreholes; world standard roads / bridges; cheap commuter buses & boats in all the Niger Delta oil producing creek communities under the auspices of an independent Trust Fund with all community traditional rulers, elders, youth leaders, politicians, clerics and activists as stake holders to guarantee a free, fair, equitable & judicious disbursement of the funds.

 

  1. $10 billion is earmarked for the financial empowerment of the 10 million unemployed, employed & retired “poverty stricken” Niger Delta indigenes from 21 years and above who live below the N18,000 ($100) per month minimum wage spectrum to the tune of N200,000 ($1,000) each as business start-up capital payable thru Micro Finance Banks as special Oil Gratuity Relief Fund.

 

  1. Fourth Lawsuit is an APPLICATION for Self Determination and the right to conduct a United Nations standard legally binding 2015 NIGER DELTA REFERENDUM FOR SELF DETERMINATION according to the International Laws & Charters of the United Nations (ICCPR & ICESCR) and the African Union (ACHPR) to which Nigeria is a state party and signatory. This LAST RESORT guarantees that the oil blocs must be owned by the oil communities if the federal government is uncooperating, uninterested, unprepared and unwilling to freely and legally hand them over under the current constitutional Nigerian Federation.

LOCAL & INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN STRATEGY

 

  1. Arrowhead of Litigants streamlining with Locus Standi to spearhead the Legal Campaign and raise preliminary funds of up to N1 million required to file the suit and sustain the legal expenses of the team of lawyers fighting the case for the next 3 months.

 

  1. Letters of Consent solicitations and publications (within 3/4 weeks after filing the lawsuit) with the prominent indigenous Niger Delta Leadership Groups, Politicians, Corporations, Intelligentsias, Academia, Activists, Ex-militants and Diaspora Associations of the six Niger Delta states such as the: Traditional Rulers Council; Niger Delta Youth Organizations; Oil Communities Elders & Youth Leaders; Senatorial & Constituency District Offices; NDDC & Niger Delta Ministry; Corporate Bodies & Trade Unions State Chapters; Achievers, Icons & Elder Statesmen; AASU & SUG State Chapters; Environmental, Human, Civil & Social Rights NGOs; Ex-militant Amnesty Groups; and Edo Delta Communities in Europe & North America.

 

III. Youth Conference consultations with the people by Sponsoring & hosting a weekly 30 minute TV Show / Program on satellite aired Niger Delta owned Local TV Stations like AIT, ITV, STV or Channels TV coined the Niger Delta Youth Conference where indigenous youths and stakeholders will freely, publicly and democratically discuss their opinions on the pros & cons as well as the benefits & consequences of the on going Ecowas Court Litigation. The TV Show / Program is billed to be held on rotational basis in all the core cities of the six Niger Delta states from Benin City to Warri to Yenagoa to Port Harcourt to Uyo to Calabar as well as a parallel international version in the core countries abroad where the majority of Niger Delta diasporas are resident from USA to Canada to Italy to Spain to Germany to Ireland to Holland to France, Belgium and UK.

 

  1. Citizen Sensitization campaigns both online with blogs & offline with flyers that will go along way to propagate & popularize this message as well as sensitize & show Niger Delta Citizens anywhere they are in the world the way forward to their civil, political, social & economic INDEPENDENCE & AUTONOMY as well as how to achieve & accomplish it peacefully, legally and democratically according to our liberal International Laws which is superior to our constraining Constitutional Laws.

 

  1. Fund Raising campaigns both online & offline using every multimedia means available to generate over N100 million to finance both local the international campaigns at the UN General assembly, US White House, EU Parliament, Israel & Canada.

 

FOR MORE INFO VISIT: www.edodeltamovement.wordpress.com   OR CONTACT: +234 (0)8181 713 624

LEGAL INFO ON INTERNATIONAL CHARTERS & LAWS TO WHICH NIGERIA IS A PARTY & SIGNATORY

 

AFRICAN CHARTER ON HUMAN AND PEOPLES RIGHTS

Article 21:

  1. All [Niger Delta] peoples shall freely dispose of their [oil] wealth and natural [gas] resources. This right shall be exercised in the exclusive interest of the people. In no case shall a people be deprived of it [by a Federal Government 1978 Land Use Act]

 

  1. States parties [Nigeria] to the present Charter shall undertake to eliminate all forms of foreign economic exploitation particularly that practiced by international monopolies [Shell BP & Co.] so as to enable their peoples to fully benefit from the advantages derived from their national [oil & gas] resources.

 

Article 24:

All [Niger Delta] peoples shall have the right to a general satisfactory [oil pollution & gas flaring free healthy] environment favourable to their development.

 

UNITED NATION’S INTERNATIONAL COVENANT ON CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS (ICCPR) &

INTERNATIONAL COVENANT ON ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS (ICESCR)

Article 1:

  1. All [Niger Delta] peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.

 

  1. All [Niger Delta] peoples may, for their own ends, freely dispose of their natural [oil & gas] wealth and resources without prejudice to any obligations arising out of international economic co-operation, based upon the principle of mutual benefit, and international law. In no case may a people [Niger Deltans] be deprived of its own means of subsistence [by the Federal Government 1978 Land Use Act].

 

  1. The States Parties [Nigeria] to the present Covenant, including those having responsibility for the administration of Non-Self-Governing and Trust Territories, shall promote the realization of the right of self-determination, and shall respect that right, in conformity with the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations.

 

NIGERIA’S CONSTITUNAL LAW & LAND USE ACT OF 1978

 

In a nutshell, the main fault of the Land Use Act of 1978 was Section 1 of the Act which transferred title and ownership of land from individuals and communities to the governors who hold the land in trust but many of whom have been known to have abused the power and privileges conferred on them by the Act. It also made acquisition of land by individuals and corporate bodies for commercial and economic development purposes extremely difficult. Despite all the cries and agitations for review of the Act, the federal government before now obstinately refused to embark upon such review exercise. To further exacerbate the situation, the federal government further placed the Land Use Act under the 1999 Constitution thus making it extra difficult to review and amend it because any such review and amendment will have to go through the same process of a two thirds majority of all the legislative houses of parliament in the country from the national to the state to the local government councils as stipulated for the review and amendment of the entire Constitution itself under section 9 of the said Constitution. The reason for the federal government making it so difficult to constitutionally repeal this Land Use Act can only be implied from the fact that it was trying to ensure that it was well nigh impossible to do so without actually amending or re-writing the entire constitution so as to ensure that the ownership of the landed property whereupon the crude oil in the Niger Delta is located remains firmly in their possession. This is a throwback to the British Colonial Treaties & Laws that vested the ownership of all mineral resources under our land to the British Colonial Crown. A clear case of NEO-COLONIALISM!

 

THE EVIL-COLONIALISM CHAIN OF BRITISH-BONDAGE WAS REPLACED AFTER THE 1960 INDEPENDENCE BY THIS EVIL NEO-COLONIALISM CHAIN OF BRITISH-BONDAGE USING THE SHELL BRITISH-PETROLEUM REMOTE CONTROLLED FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OF NIGERIA FOR ITS AFROCENTRIC “BLACK AGAINST BLACK” DIVIDE & INDIRECT RULE TACTICS.

FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT:   http://www.edodeltamovement.wordpress.com

 

IN THE COURT OF JUSTICE OF THE ECONOMIC COMMUNITY OF WEST AFRICAN STATES

HOLDEN AT ABUJA

IN THE MATTER OF APPLICATION FOR THE ENFORCEMENT OF THE FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHTS OF SELF DETERMINATION OF THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLE OF THE NIGER DELTA REGION

BETWEEN

NOSA EHANIRE OSAGHAE

(On behalf of the Niger Delta people)

AND

1) FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA

2) ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION

MOTION EXPARTE

 

BROUGHT PURSUANT TO THE AFRICAN CHARTER ON HUMAN RIGHTS (ARTICLES: 1, 2, 21, 22, 23.1, 24); THE INTERNATIONAL COVENANT ON CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS (ARTICLES: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3); AND THE INTERNATIONAL COVENANT ON ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS (ARTICLES: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3) UNDER THE INTERNATIONAL / ECOWAS JURISDICTION OF THIS HONORABLE COURT

 

TAKE NOTICE that this honorable court will be moved on the __________day of ________________ 2015 at 9 O’clock or afternoon or soon thereafter as the applicants or counsel on their behalf may be heard praying the court for the following reliefs.

 

1) AN ORDER instructing the Federal Government to facilitate an enabling environment for the people of Niger Delta in actualizing their innate desire, yearning, cry, call and demand of SELF DETERMINATION REFERENDUM of well over 90% of the impoverished, deprived, and aggrieved 30 million people of the Niger Delta region who have inequitably, unlawfully and unjustly been marginalized by successive federal governments since independence till date in virtually every strata of their human, civic, political, cultural socio-economic and environmental rights that have been repeatedly abused and denied for decades in the Nigerian state. Also to guarantee a continuous peaceful religious co-existence of all its multi-ethnic religious indigenes by being severed from the ever present Islamic Sharia-Agenda & Terrorism threat of Boko Haram and its known affiliations to similar international Terrorist Organizations like Alqaeda, ISIS, Hamas, Islamic Maghreb and Al Shaabab from sooner or later spreading to the Niger Delta region with the ever increasing population of Moslems both indigenes and non-indigenes lest this most volatile region presently awash with a lot of heavily armed Christian youths and militants maintaining a very fragile peace “paid for” by a government sponsored Amnesty Program erupt into an explosive religious / civil war that will have huge global implications and ramifications in the Sub-Saharan region and global crude oil industry. In human history no nation has ever survived two civil wars so it is better to separate in peace than in pieces!

We firmly hope and believe that this peaceful legal recourse for justice to be served and seen to be served in the Niger Delta might just be the palliative to defuse a potential ticking Time-Bomb waiting to explode when and not if there is a resurgence of militancy in the region which will definitely blossom into a rebel army of sorts especially due to the political fact of a change from the out-going Christian presidency of Dr. Good Luck Jonathan that was very benign and favorable for the militants to the in coming Moslem presidency of General Buhari (Rtd.) that is generally perceived with ample reason to be hostile and unfavorable for the militants as there is already the veiled threat of the in-coming administrating probably resorting to military means to curtail the excesses of the militants in the oil & gas industry granted them by the incumbent President Jonathan to appease them and guarantee their peaceful co-existence with the Multinational Oil Companies operating in the region. It is now absolutely imperative for the sake of Peace, Progress and Prosperity to reign in the Niger Delta in principle and Nigeria in particular and also Sub-Sahara Africa in general that the long suffering but restive Niger Delta People be forthwith given the opportunity by this Honorable International Court to decide their own future and exercise their Fundamental Human Right of Self Determination as dictated by the African Charter on Human Rights (Articles: 2, 21, 22, 23.1, 24); the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Articles: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3); and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Articles: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3) which has been deliberately and purposefully withheld from them since the days of British colonization over 100 years ago and all through the last 55 years of independence under the Nigerian state as evidenced (See Videos 001 – 011) by the independent reports of the United Nations, Amnesty International, International NGO’s Journalists & others on the human rights abuse of the Niger Delta people by the Nigerian state and its contracted oil companies. Failure to promptly respond to this innate and passionate CRY FOR FREEDOM will be a TRAVESTY OF JUSTICE and our people will have no other choice but to take our own destiny into our own hands BY ALL LEGAL MEANS NECESSARY!

a. We pray the Honorable Court to grant the legal basis to unilaterally conduct a transparent free and fair NIGER DELTA REFERENDUM FOR INDEPENDENCE AND SELF DETERMINATION under the observation, guidance and auspices of accredited international organizations like the United Nations, Organization of African Unity, ECOWAS, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International as evidenced (see document 001) by the Plebiscite or Referendum employed in the creation of the Midwestern Region now known more or less as the Niger Delta as the only state in Nigeria that was created via a referendum.

b. We pray the Honorable Court to grant the funds required to conduct a transparent, free and fair referendum in the Niger Delta made payable from the oil revenues from the Niger Delta oil production accrued to the Federal Government to the tune of $1 billion that will ensure procurement and even distribution of biometric identification voter’s cards with its attendant accreditation machines and software application that will enable all of the ±30 million Niger Deltans both in the country as well as in the ±5 million in the Diaspora that are eligible to vote to participate by registering and casting their votes for or against INDEPENDENCE from the Nigerian state wherever they are located in the world on the day(s) of voting.

c. We pay the Honorable Court to grant immunity to all the Niger Delta activists, organizers and campaigners of the Niger Delta Referendum for Independence and Self Determination from any form of threat, victimization, attack, arrest, harassment, intimidation and such like from the federal, state or local government organs, authorities, agencies and agents.

2) AN INTERLOCUTORY INJUNCTION directing the Federal Government of Nigeria to immediately declare a MORATORIUM on all oil bloc transactions by suspending or ceasing all onshore and offshore Oil Blocs acquiring, awarding, leasing, renewing, prospecting, buying and selling in any form whatsoever until this matter has been concluded by this Honorable Court so as to avoid any manner of malicious, panic or forced sales of the oil blocs by its present owners that might lead to unwarranted litigations because of the perceived consequences of the current court process that might eventually lead to their losing ownership of the oil blocs as evidenced (see document 005) by the Reuters report on Shell’s oil assets divestments.

3) AN ORDER mandating the Federal Government of Nigeria to re-allocate the ownership of all onshore and offshore oil blocs in the Niger Delta region back to the indigenous oil communities as it was before the advent of the undemocratic, unlawful and unethical Military Junta regime’s Decree No. 6 coined the Land Use Act of 1978 that was cunningly drafted just after the 1977 Oil Boom in lieu of taking possession of all lands in Southern Nigeria where the crude oil is primarily located to strictly and uncompromisingly usurp and vest the right of ownership of the landed property of the indigenous people inclusive of its mineral resources to the Nigeria state which is typically reminiscent of the British Colonialist draconian laws in Africa that fundamentally claimed that all the land under the British Protectorate Crown with its mineral resources belonged to them as evidenced (see document 002) by the independent reportage in crass violation of the African Charter on Human Rights. This is the root cause of the Federal Government’s apparent impunity in plundering, pillaging and polluting of the Niger Delta oil producing lands and waters because of oil production as they always cite and claim that the land belongs to the Federal Government by constitutional right so the indigenous owners of the land have no say or claim to what happens to their own ancestral land be it polluted or not forgetting that they were in possession of their land long before the British colonial government came and went and they will still be in possession of their land long after the Nigerian government comes and goes.

a. It is now absolutely imperative for the ownership of the Niger Delta land to return back to its rightful owners by repealing the 1978 Land Use Act degree enacted by the military junta of Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo (Rtd) so that they can heal and recuperate their deeply wounded land back to what it was before the Nigerian state and their conniving oil companies irredeemably destroyed their one and only prized possession in the whole world so as to pass it on to their children’s future generations in good condition as it was passed on to them by their ancestral fathers lest their children have no viable land to live on after they are gone. This will certainly enable and empower them as land owners to negotiate with the current oil producing companies operating in their land in a manner that will be favorable and beneficial to their health, wealth and environment as dictated by the African Charter on Human Rights (Articles: 2, 21, 22, 23.1, 24); the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Articles: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3); and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Articles: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3).

b. If the Federal Government in its self acclaimed bid to facilitate local content in the oil & gas industry by awarding oil blocs to many undeserving Nigerian individuals and companies with no credentials or experience whatsoever in oil & gas upstream / downstream prospecting and production using its own discretionary powers; then to really guarantee that local content is highly represented in the oil & gas sector of the economy that same presidential discretionary powers should also be used to award the same oil blocs especially the expired, expiring and yet to be awarded oil blocs to the Oil & Gas Cooperative Societies that can easily be registered and set up by the indigenous oil communities in the same way some of these present Nigerian oil companies were registered and set up within a couple of months or years before they were awarded their oil bloc leases without prior bidding or proper field experience in oil production whatsoever which precipitated their partnering with foreign oil companies to help them do the real job of oil production because if they possessed the technical know-how themselves as some of them are claiming, why then did they bother to invite foreign companies from abroad to help them do what they can do by themselves as evidenced (see document 003) by the independent reportage on the following local content oil companies such as Sapetro, Seplat, Malabu, Conoil, & Famfa to mention but a few that own / operate the major oil blocs with the highest yields in the Niger Delta onshore and offshore regions with several billions of barrels in reserves translating into hundreds of billions of dollars worth of oil & gas assets making several of their Nigerian owners (male & female) to become the richest black billionaires in the world according to Forbes List at the expense of the polluted & poverty stricken indigenous oil communities.

c. There is no excuse whatsoever that the indigenous oil communities cannot be able to do exactly what these Nigerian oil companies have done and have been doing (by inviting foreign oil companies to partner with them in terms of oil production) without any meaningful effect since the last 20 years as they are still only accounting for about 10% of local content production as opposed to the other 90% of the multinational oil company production in the country as evidenced (see document 003) by current official NNPC reports. It is believed that with the full participation of duly registered oil communities cooperatives in the oil & gas industries the target of increasing the local content production to over two thirds of total production can easily be realized by local content because of the fact that the indigenous oil communities will take the matter of oil production beyond the “business as usual” level to become a “national profession” for all their employable youths and indigenes both graduates and non-graduates who will all be very much keen on playing an active role in their oil & gas industry from the production to the marketing of their petroleum products to the all important restoration, protection and preservation of their polluted creek waters, flora and fauna in their land and water ecosystems.

d. If the oil communities are awarded the said oil blocs then the issue of oil bunkering and pipeline vandalism that is perpetrated to the tune of 400,000 barrels per day will surely be mitigated if not eliminated as all the oil communities themselves will set up their own community vigilante and security groups who will ensure that no one from their own communities or elsewhere will be able to vandalize the oil pipelines in their vicinity because they are now the major stake holders in the oil industry who would not want to see their all important investments depleted or jeopardized via vandalism and oil theft. A simple case of taking proper care of your own personal garden!

e. If the oil communities are fully in charge of their oil wealth then it is obvious that they will surely be able to take their own destiny in their hand so as to massively improve their health, wealth and social welfare as well as develop their under developed land and most importantly clean up and regenerate their grossly polluted environment which these oil companies will not willingly do because it is not their own land or back yard. The simple analogy is that if they fail to do so then they have no one else but themselves to blame in these present circumstances after all the pain, agony and misery that has befallen them at the hands of the Federal Government from marginalization to poverty to deprivation to pollution to mass murder and crimes against humanity as evidenced (see document 004) in the Odi Community Massacre of November 20, 1999 in Bayelsa state ordered and orchestrated by a democratically elected president who was also a former military head of state in the person of General Olusegun Obasanjo reported by the international NGO namely Environmental Rights Action & Friends of the Earth wherein about 2500 men, women and children with their names listed were murdered in ice-cold blood with their houses and buildings callously torched and scorched by the Nigerian military all in the name of reprisal attacks on the killing of several investigating police officers by militant groups operating in the area. Now why would a government go all out to mass murder thousands of its own innocent citizens including the aged, women and little children just because some armed groups attacked, ambushed and killed some government security agents seeking to arrest them instead of going all out to bring the real perpetrators of such a crime to justice is a question we believe must be answered by that ex-president and his collaborators in that heinous crime against humanity in the appropriate International Criminal Court of justice (ICC) at the appropriate time.

4) AN ORDER compelling the Federal Government of Nigeria to immediately pay remedial environmental damages for an immediate clean up exercise in the oil polluted Niger Delta region to the tune of $36 billion for the excess of 9 million barrels of spilt crude oil in the Niger Delta region over the last fifty years of oil exploration and exploitation in the Niger Delta region at the internationally estimated rate of about $4000 per barrel as evidenced (see video 001 & document 005) in the US Court proceedings against Shell-BP on the Gulf of Mexico oil spillage of about 4 million barrels. This pecuniary relief will be made payable by installments at the minimum rate of $10 billion per year for the next 3 to 4 years as a certain fixed percentage of not lower than 10% from the oil revenues of the Federal Government of Nigeria and all the oil producing companies operating in the region both onshore and offshore into a special Niger Delta Development Trust Fund set up in an accredited international bank account where every oil producing community and Local Government Area most especially the ones worst hit by oil spills and gas flaring will be parties and beneficiaries of the fund which will primarily be channeled towards their infrastructural and industrial development for wealth and job creation as well as the cleaning and regenerating of their farmlands and fishing waters with re-introduced new ecosystems of cultured and cultivated plants, insects, fish and animals known to be naturally dwelling and thriving in the region before the advent of oil production and pollution in the region. This special trust fund will incorporate and carry along all major stakeholders in the oil communities such as the traditional rulers, elders, politicians, religious leaders, youth leaders, intelligentsia, academia, activists, environmentalists, international NGO’s and such like under the auspices of the appropriate United Nations governing body for transparency, equity and efficacy in its disbursement and deployment.

a. This is due to the Federal Government’s culpability and liability based on its failure, reluctance and outright refusal to enforce its own federal and environmental laws in the country’s Petroleum Act on oil spill prevention, management and clean up as well as cessation of the outlawed gas flaring against the local and international oil companies contracted and permitted to operate in the upstream and downstream sectors of oil & gas production in the Niger Delta.

b. This intractable problem of oil spills and gas flaring need not arise today had the Federal Government of Nigeria but enforced their own environmental laws against oil spills and gas flaring against defaulting oil companies both local and multinationals with severe consequences such as heavy fines and oil lease revocation as it is done in the European Union and United States and many other oil producing countries who take seriously their legal and responsibility and constitutional duty of ensuring an oil pollution free healthy environment for their citizens in oil producing communities

c. The lame and perennial excuse of the Federal Government and the oil companies of oil bunkering and pipeline sabotage as the prime cause of oil pollution is untenable because even in the days before pipeline vandalism started there have always been oil spills as well as the fact that many of the pipelines are over fifty years old, rusted and need immediate replacement. Noted is the fact that if the oil communities were financially empowered the same way the Federal Government and oil companies have been over these fifty years instead of being neglected and abandoned by them there would have been virtually no pipeline vandalism as the indigenous communities will ensure that no one vandalizes the pipelines on their watch as they have a vested interest in the oil production business. As things stand, there is no incentive for them to take such a stand against pipeline vandals who are also trying to have a share of the “black gold” in their own back yard through the back door based on the premise that the oil is being piped out of their land leaving their land polluted and their pockets penniless in the process.

d. Suing for individual damages from individual communities have been found to be counter productive as these oil companies are seemingly happy to keep paying a paltry few million dollars here and there to the aggrieved or injured individuals and communities like the Saro Wiwa family ($15 million) and Bodo Community ($83 million) as evidenced (see document 005) by the respective court rulings, as long as they are still able to conduct their oil business in the billions of dollars like their recent divesting of their onshore oil blocs, rigs and pipelines they have been profitably drilling for donkey years to the tune of several billions of dollars as reliably reported by Reuters International News Agency. That is why a Final Settlement is sought in this honorable court where the oil communities themselves will be financially and logistically empowered by the controlling ownership of the oil blocs to dictate the terms and conditions of oil drilling operations to the partnering oil companies that will guarantee the cessation of oil spills and gas flaring in the communities as well as guarantee their civic, socio economic rights to a healthy living condition and the full financial benefits of oil production in their land as dictated by the African Charter on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

e. The damages of $36 billion will be immediately used to fund the purchasing of state of the art oil pollution detection, management and clean up equipment worth several millions of dollars and their effective deployment all over the Niger Delta for early detection, rapid response and deployment oil spill & clean up units specially trained to operate independently from the federal government and oil companies in an all inclusive initiative on a Pan Niger Delta Oil Community clean up exercise comprising a cohesive team of both local and international environmental NGO’s (renown for their anti oil-pollution Niger Delta activism) and qualified environmentalist firms and graduates from the Oil Communities themselves that is geared towards recovering and regenerating our oil & gas polluted farming lands and fishing waters starting from those farmed out and desolated oil community lands of Oloibiri oil field in Bayelsa State where oil exploration started over fifty years ago to every other oil producing community that has suffered the worst cases of oil pollution as well as set up free health care centers in communities worst affected by gas flaring in order to provide free medication to cater for their dire health needs which till date no one has been seriously bothered about including the federal ministry of health and the oil companies causing the damage.

5) A DECLARATION that the Federal Government of Nigeria be found wanting of disregard and contempt of court judgments, rulings and decisions as regards oil pollution and gas flaring notably passed by both a Federal High Court of Nigeria ruling in Benin City between Mr. Jonah Gbemre and Shell Petroleum Development Company Nigeria Ltd, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Attorney General of the Federation (Suit No: fhc/b/cs/53/05 Judgment of 14 November, 2005) as evidenced (see document 007) as well as this Ecowas Community Court of Justice ruling in Ibadan between SERAP and the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Suit No: ECW/CCJ/APP/08/09; Judgment No: ECW/CCJ/JUD/18/12 of 12 December, 2012) as evidenced (see document 007) that obligated and mandated both the Federal Government and its operating oil companies in the Niger Delta region to act up to their international legal obligations, civic duties, human rights responsibilities and best practices policies to immediately remediate the issue of oil spilling and gas flaring in the region. Which unfortunately has fallen on stubborn and deaf ears till date as both parties erroneously believe they have an apparent air of impunity, invincibility and “untouch-ability” in the country so they are still lifting crude oil in the millions of barrels daily at the expense of hazarding the health of the indigenous oil community populace with their continually polluted environment with oil spills and constant gas flaring that is further desolating their already desolated expanses of farming lands and fishing waters which will remain so for generations to come if immediate remedial action is not concretely taken to reverse the process in lieu of commencing to recover and regenerate their farming land and fishing waters. Note that it is still necessary to produce hard evidence of these oil spills and gas flaring in this Honorable Court though the facts / realities of such have been well and truly proven in other similar court cases where the Federal Government was found wanting both by international and constitutional law. In conclusion we wonder why these same oil companies are able to curtail oil spills and totally stop gas flaring in other countries and their own lands where they produce the same crude oil but in our own country and land it becomes a mission impossible. We Wonder!

6) A DECLARATION that the Federal Government of Nigeria during the military junta regime of Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo using the 1977 Justice Mamman Nasir Boundary Commision for no just cause unlawfully and arbitrarily ceded the oil fields / wells in the land of the Itsekhiri people in the Niger Delta region of old Bendel State now Delta State to the western region of Ondo state to favour his own Yoruba ethnic group so as to also make them become the only oil producing state in the western region of Yoruba land as evidenced (see document 008) in the independent report of the then Surveyor General of the Federation. This classic case of usurping the land and oil wealth of the Niger Deltans as in robbing Peter to pay Paul led to a series of lawsuits between the Itsekhiris in Delta state who lost about 200 oil wells and their accruing oil revenues in the process to the neighboring Ilajes in Ondo state who more or less became the “overnight” beneficiaries of the largesse of such oil wells that never belonged to them in the first place and consequently making it a major oil producing state in the country even above Delta state when indeed it is not. This has left a very bitter and bile taste of injustice, oppression and human rights abuse in the lips, hearts and minds of all Niger Deltans especially after the ceding of the Bakassi Pennisula also in the Niger Delta region to a foreign country called Cameroon based on the ruling of the International Court of Justice. We just want our land back!

7) AND FOR SUCH ORDER OR OTHER ORDERS as this Honorable Court may deem fit in the circumstances of the case.

ATTENTION: Therefore it is absolutely needful that all these aforementioned issues be speedily, equitably and judiciously re-assessed and re-dressed properly by this Honorable International Court (which sadly cannot be guaranteed in the Nigerian Constitutional Courts as past experience has shown) in order for this fragile peace to continue in the very volatile Niger Delta region that is seething and simmering for Freedom & Independence from the repressively oppressive Neo-Colonial Nigerian State like a volcano ready to violently erupt into a second Civil War like the 1967 Biafran Civil War because of all these human rights abuses/violations. Before the British Colonialists 1897 Invasion of Benin & 1914 Amalgamation of Nigeria; Niger Delta was for 500 years (1450 -1897) the most advanced, accomplished, acclaimed, acknowledged, civilized, powerful, wealthy, developed and Independent Nation in West Africa. The pride of Africa & envy of Europe a.k.a Great Benin Empire

I Rest My Case!

 

TAKE NOTICE that at the hearing of this Application, the Applicants will rely on the provisions of the African Charter on Human Rights (Articles: 1, 2, 21, 22, 23.1, 24); the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Articles: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3); and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Articles: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3) and International Law.

 

Dated this ________ Day of ____________________ 2015                                                                    

 

For Service on:

1st Respondent: The Federal Government of Nigeria

2nd Respondent: The Attorney General of the Federation

 

EXCERPTS OF EVIDENCE FROM DOCUMENT 006:

TENETS OF INTERNATIONAL LAW & CHARTERS ON UNIVERSAL HUMAN RIGHTS

 

AFRICAN CHARTER ON HUMAN AND PEOPLES RIGHTS

Adopted in Nairobi June 27, 1981

Entered into Force October 21, 1986

 

Preamble

The African States members of the Organization of African Unity, parties to the present Convention entitled »African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights »; RecallingDecision 115 (XVI) of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government at its Sixteenth Ordinary Session held in Monrovia, Liberia, from 17 to 20 July 1979

Reaffirming the pledge they solemnly made in Artide 2 of the said Charter to eradicate all forms of colonialism from Africa, to coordinate and intensify their cooperation and efforts to achieve a better life for the peoples of Africa and to promote International cooperation having due regard to the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights…Convinced that it is henceforth essential to pay a particular attention to the right to development and that civil and political rights cannot be dissociated from economic, social and cultural rights in their conception as well as universality and that the satisfaction of economic, social and cultural rights is a guarantee for the enjoyment of civil and political rights…Conscious of their duty to achieve the total liberation of Africa, the peoples of which are still struggling for their dignity and genuine independence and undertaking to eliminate colonialism, neo-colonialism, apartheid, zionism and to dismantle aggressive foreign military bases and all forms of discrimination, particularly those based on race, ethnic group, colour, sex, language, religion or political opinion.

Article 1

The Member States of the Organization of African Unity parties to the present Charter shall recognize the rights, duties and freedoms enshrined in this Charter and shall undertake to adopt legislative or other measures to give effect to them.

Article 2

Every individual shall be entitled to the enjoyment of the rights and freedoms recognized and guaranteed in the present Charter without distinction of any kind such as race, ethnic group, colour, sex, language, religion, political or any other opinion, national and social origin, fortune, birth or other status.

Article 21

  1. All peoples shall freely dispose of their wealth and natural resources. This right shall be exercised in the exclusive interest of the people. In no case shall a people be deprived of it.
  2. In case of spoliation the dispossessed people shall have the right to the lawful recovery of its property as well as to an adequate compensation.
  3. The free disposal of wealth and natural resources shall be exercised without prejudice to the obligation of promoting international economic cooperation based on mutual respect, equitable exchange and the principles of international law.
  4. States parties to the present Charter shall individually and collectively exercise the right to free disposal of their wealth and natural resources with a view to strengthening African unity and solidarity.
  5. States parties to the present Charter shall undertake to eliminate all forms of foreign economic exploitation particularly that practiced by international monopolies so as to enable their peoples to fully benefit from the advantages derived from their national resources.

 

Article 22

  1. All peoples shall have the right to their economic, social and cultural development with due regard to their freedom and identity and in the equal enjoyment of the common heritage of mankind.
  2. States shall have the duty, individually or collectively, to ensure the exercise of the right to development.

 

Article 23

  1. All peoples shall have the right to national and international peace and security. The principles of solidarity and friendly relations implicitly affirmed by the Charter of the United Nations and reaffirmed by that of the Organization of African Unity shall govern relations between States.

 

Article 24

All peoples shall have the right to a general satisfactory environment favourable to their development.

 

INTERNATIONAL COVENANT ON CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS.

This Covenant was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 16 December 1966 and entered into force on 23 March 1976. By the end of 2001, the Covenant had been ratified by 147 states.

  • The Covenant elaborates further the civil and political rights and freedoms listed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.§ Under Article 1 of the Covenant, the states commit themselves to promote the right to self-determination and to respect that right. It also recognises the rights of peoples to freely own, trade and dispose of their natural wealth and resources.

 

Article 1

  1. All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.
  2. All peoples may, for their own ends, freely dispose of their natural wealth and resources without prejudice to any obligations arising out of international economic co-operation, based upon the principle of mutual benefit, and international law. In no case may a people be deprived of its own means of subsistence.
  3. The States Parties to the present Covenant, including those having responsibility for the administration of Non-Self-Governing and Trust Territories, shall promote the realization of the right of self-determination, and shall respect that right, in conformity with the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations.

 

INTERNATIONAL COVENANT ON ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS

ICESCR 1966 together with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR 1966) make up the International Bill of Human Rights. In accordance with the Universal Declaration, the Covenants recognize that “… the ideal of free human beings enjoying civil and political freedom and freedom from fear and want can be achieved only if conditions are created whereby everyone may enjoy his civil and political rights, as well as his economic, social and cultural rights.”

 

Article 1

  1. All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.
  2. All peoples may, for their own ends, freely dispose of their natural wealth and resources without prejudice to any obligations arising out of international economic co-operation, based upon the principle of mutual benefit, and international law. In no case may a people be deprived of its own means of subsistence.
  3. The States Parties to the present Covenant, including those having responsibility for the administration of Non-Self-Governing and Trust Territories, shall promote the realization of the right of self-determination, and shall respect that right, in conformity with the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations.

 

EXCERPTS OF EVIDENCE FROM DOCUMENT 007:

 

FEDERAL HIGH COURT OF NIGERIA BENIN JUDICIAL DIVISION

Suit No: fhc/b/cs/53/05 (Judgment of 14 November, 2005)

Between

Mr. Jonah Gbemre

And

1) Shell Petroleum Development Company Nigeria Ltd, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation,

2) Attorney General of the Federation

THE COURT HAVING FOUND AND HELD AS FOLLOWS:

  1. That the Applicants were properly granted leave to institute these proceedings in a representative capacity for himself and for each and every member of the Iweherekan Community in Delta State of Nigeria.
  2. That this Court has the inherent jurisdiction to grant leave to the Applicants who are bonafide citizens and residents of the Federal Republicof Nigeria, to apply for the enforcement of their fundamental rights tolife and dignity of the human persons as guaranteed by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.. . .
  3. The actions of the 1st and 2nd Respondents in continuing to flare gas in the course of their oil exploration and production activities in the Applicant’s Community is a gross violation of their fundamental right to life (including healthy environment) and dignity of human person as enshrined in the Constitution. . .

IT IS HEREBY DECLARED AS FOLLOWS:

  1. DECLARATION that the Constitutionally guaranteed fundamental rights to life and dignity of human person provided in the Constitution … and reinforced by the African Charter on Human Procedure Rules (Procedure and Enforcement) Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 inevitably includes the right to clean poison-free, pollution-free and healthy environment.
  2. DECLARATION that the actions of the 1st and 2nd Respondents in continuing to flare gas in the course of their oil exploration and production activities in the Applicant’s Community is a violation of their fundamental rights to life (including healthy environment) and dignity of human person guaranteed by the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 and reinforced by the African Charter on Human [Rights] Procedure Rules (Ratification and Enforcement) Act.
  3. DECLARATION that the failure of the 1st and 2nd Respondents to carry out [an] environment[al] impact assessment in the Applicant’s Community concerning the effects of their gas flaring activities is a violation of the Environment Impact Assessment Act, and contributed to the violation of the Applicant’s said fundamental rights to life and dignity of human person.
  4. DECLARATION that the provisions of theAssociated Gas Re-injection Act and the Associated Gas Re-injection (continued flaring of gas) RegulationsSection 1.43 of 1984, under which the continued flaring of gas in Nigeria may be allowed are inconsistent with the Applicant’s Right to life and/or dignity of human person enshrined in the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria and the African Charter on Human and Peoples Right (Ratification and Enforcement) Act and are therefore unconstitutional, null and void by virtue of the same Constitution [italics added].
  5. I HEREBY ORDER that the 1st and 2nd Respondents are accordingly restrained whether by themselves, their servants or workers or otherwise from further flaring of gas in Applicant’s Community and are to take immediate steps to stop the further flaring of gas in the Applicant’s Community.
  6. The Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and Ministry of Justice, 3rd Respondent in these proceedings who regrettably did not put up any appearance, and/or defend these proceedings is HEREBY ORDERED immediately to set into motion, after due consultation with the Federal Executive Council, necessary processes for the Enactment of a Bill for an Act of the National Assembly for the speedy amendment of the relevant Sections of the Associated Gas Regulation Act and the Regulations made there under to quickly bring them in line with the provisions of Chapter 4 of the Constitution, especially in view of the fact that the Associated Gas Regulation Act even by itself also makes the said continuous gas flaring a crime having prescribed penalties…. [italics added].
  7. This is the final Judgment of the Court and I make no award of Damages, costs or compensation whatsoever.

ISSUED AT BENIN CITY, Under the seal of the Court and the Hand of the Presiding Judge this 14th day of November, 2005.

Questions:

  1. Note the paragraph 7 award. Does it suggest that the court’s various declarations are more a matter of false bravado than adequate compensation? Does the lack of an appearance by the Nigerian Attorney General suggest that the government’s executive branch did not care to honor the court’s proceedings by its presence? That the case for liability was so clear, that there was no need for the government to appear?
  2. Is it likely that Nigerian criminal law will ultimately be applied? Ignored?
  3. If the Nigerian Constitution and its legislative provisions so blatantly violated the human rights of the affected plaintiffs, was it fair for the court not to award the costs of suit to them?
  4. Nigeria is one of the world’s largest oil producers. Would most of these questions thus seem to be only rhetorical?

Author’s Note: Citations to portions of various constitutional and legislative provisions are omitted from this ruling’s excerpts.

THE COURT OF JUSTICE OF THE ECONOMIC COMMUNITY OF WEST AFRICAN STATES

HOLDEN AT IBADAN, IN NIGERIA THIS 14 DAY OF DECEMBER 2012

Between SERAP

And

Federal Republic of Nigeria

THE COURT HAVING FOUND AND HELD AS FOLLOWS:

  1. As stated before, as a State Party to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the Federal Republic of Nigeria is under international obligation to recognise the rights, duties and freedoms enshrined in the Charter and to undertake to adopt legislative or other measures to give effect to them.
  2. If, notwithstanding the measures the Defendant alleges having put in place, the environmental situation in the Niger Delta Region has still been of continuous degradation, this Court has to conclude that there has been a failure on the part of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to adopt any of the “other” measures required by the said Article 1 of African Charter to ensure the enjoyment of the right laid down in Article 24 of the same instrument.
  3. From what emerges from the evidence produced before this Court, the core of the problem in tackling the environmental degradation in the Region of Niger Delta resides in lack of enforcement of the legislation and regulation in force, by the Regulatory Authorities of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in charge of supervision of the oil industry.
  4. Contrary to the assumption of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in its atempt to shift the responsibility on the holders of a licence of oil exploitation (see paragraph 82), the damage caused by the oil industry to a vital resource of such importance to all mankind, such as the environment, cannot be left to the mere discretion of oil companies and possible agreements on compensation they may establish with the people affected by the devastating effects of this polluting industry.
  5. It is significant to note that despite all the laws it has adopted and all the agencies it has created, the Federal Republic of Nigeria was not able to point out in its pleadings a single action that has been taken in recent years to

seriously and diligently hold accountable any of the perpetrators of the many acts of environmental degradation which occurred in the Niger Delta Region.

  1. And it is precisely this omission to act, to prevent damage to the environment and to make accountable the offenders, who feel free to carry on their harmful activities, with clear expectation of impunity, that characterizes the violation by the Federal Republic of Nigeria of its international obligations under Articles 1

and 24 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

  1. Consequently, the Court concludes and adjudges that the Federal Republic of Nigeria, by comporting itself in the way it it is doing, in respect of the continuous and unceasing damage caused to the environment in the Region of Niger Delta, has defaulted in its duties in terms of vigilance and diligence as party to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and has violated Articles 1 and 24 of the said instrument.

 

REPARATIONS

  1. In the statement of claims the Plaintiff asks for an order of the Court directing the Defendants to pay adequate monetary compensation of 1 Billion Dollars (USD) ($ 1,000,000,000) to the victims of human rights violations in the Niger Delta, and other forms of reparation the Court may deem fit to grant.
  2. The Court acknowledges that the continuous environmental degration in the Niger Delta Region produced devastating impact on the livelihood of the population; it may have forced some people to leave their area of residence in search for better living conditions and may even have caused health problems to many. But in its application and through the whole proceedings, the Plaintiff failed to identify a single victim to whom the requested pecuniary

compensation could be awarded.

  1. In any case, if the pecuniary compensation was to be granted to individual victims, a serious problem could arise in terms of justice, morality and equity: within a very large population, what would be the criteria to identify the victims that deserve compensation? Why compensate someone and not compensate his neighbour? Based on which criteria should be determined the amount each victim would receive? Who would manage that one Billion Dollars?
  2. The meaning of this set of questions is to leave clear the impractibility of that solution. In case of human rights violations that affect in-determined number of victims or a very large population, as in the instant case, the compensation shall come not as an individual pecuniary advantage, but as a collective benefit adequate to repair, as completely as possible, the collective harm that a violation of a collective right causes.
  3. Based on the above reasons, the prayer for monetary compensation of one $1 Billion to the victims is dismissed.
  4. The Court is however, mindful that its function in terms of protection does not stop at taking note of human rights violation. If it were to end in merely taking note of human rights violations, the exercise of such a function would be of no practical interest for the victims, who, in the final analysis, are to be protected and provided with relief. Now, the obligation of granting relief for the violation of human rights is a universally accepted principle. The Court acts indeed within the limits of its prerogatives when it indicates for every case brought before it, the reparation it deems appropriate.
  5. In the instant case, in making orders for reparation, the Court is ensuring that measures are indicated to guide the Federal Republic of Nigeria to achieve the objectives sought by Article 24 of the Charter, namely to maintain a general satisfactory environment favourable to development.

 

DECISION

For these reasons and without the need to adjudicate on the other alleged violations and requests,

  1. THE COURT, Adjudicating in a public session, after hearing both parties, and after deliberating:

 Adjudges that it has jurisdiction to adjudicate on the alleged violations of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights;

 Adjudges that SERAP has locus standi in the instant case;

 Adjudges that the report by Amnesty International is admissible;

 Adjudges that the Federal Republic of Nigeria has violated Articles 1 and 24 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights;

 

CONSEQUENTLY,

  1. Orders the Federal Republic of Nigeria to:
  2. Take all effective measures, within the shortest possible time, to ensure restoration of the environment of the Niger Delta;
  3. Take all measures that are necessary to prevent the occurrence of damage to the environment;

iii. Take all measures to hold the perpetrators of the environmental damage accountable; Since other requests asking for declarations and orders from the Court as to rights of the Plaintiff and measures to be taken by the Defendant, and listed in the subparagraphs of paragraph 19, have already been considered albeit implicitly, by this decision, the Court does not have to address them specifically.

 

COSTS

  1. The Federal Republic of Nigeria shall bear the costs.

Author’s Note: Citations to portions of various constitutional and legislative provisions are omitted from this ruling’s excerpts.

EXCERPTS OF EVIDENCE FROM DOCUMENT 005:

 

STATEMENT OF THE PLAINTIFFS’ ATTORNEYS IN WIWA V. ROYAL

DUTCH/SHELL, WIWA V. ANDERSON, AND WIWA V. SPDC

June 8, 2009

Today, plaintiffs and defendants reached a settlement in the human rights cases brought against Royal Dutch Petroleum Company and Shell Transport and Trading, p.l.c., Shell’s Nigerian subsidiary, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria, and Brian Anderson, who headed Shell Nigeria between 1994-1996.

We want to express our satisfaction that these cases have provided the plaintiffs with a substantial compensation of $15 million for their claims. After 13 years of fighting these cases, our clients now have resources which will allow them to start to rebuild their lives. We are also pleased that, although this settlement is only for our clients’ own claims and they did not negotiate on behalf of the Ogoni people, this settlement has the potential to benefit thousands of other people in Ogoni. The Ogoni people have many outstanding issues with Shell, and it is Shell’s responsibility to resolve those issues with the Ogoni people themselves. The Plaintiffs do not speak for the Ogoni people, nor have they attempted to resolve those issues. One of the aspects of the settlement is to establish The Kiisi Trust. “Kiisi” means “progress” in the Ogoni languages. The Trust will fund education, health, community development and other benefits for the Ogoni people and their communities, including educational endowments, skills development, women’s programs, agricultural development, small enterprise support, and adult literacy.

The Trust Deed was made by the Estate of Ken Saro-Wiwa, Owens Wiwa, the Estate of John Kpuinen, Karalolo Kogbara, Michael Tema Vizor, the Estate of Saturday Doobee, the Estate of Felix Nuate, the Estate of Daniel Gbokoo, the Children of Barinem and Peace Kiobel, and the Estate of Uebari N-nah. This trust will facilitate community participation in decisions related to the use and enjoyment of the Trust Fund, and emphasizes the importance of transparency in its operations. The dispute between Shell and the Ogoni people remains unresolved. We thank our clients, Ken Saro-Wiwa, Jr., Owens Wiwa, Blessing Kpuinen, Karalolo Kogbara, Michael Tema Vizor, Lucky Doobee, Friday Nuate, Monday Gbokoo, David Kiobel, and James N-nah. Their long, unfailing struggle for justice for their own families and for justice and dialogue in Ogoni has led us to this settlement, which is a step in the movement for justice and peace in Ogoni. We also thank Patrick Naagbanton for his invaluable assistance to the legal team throughout this long process.

 

Center for Constitutional Rights: Judith Chomsky, Cooperating Attorney

Earth Rights International: Marco Simons, Legal Director

SHELL TO PAY OUT $83 MILLION TO SETTLE NIGERIA OIL SPILL CLAIMS

By Julia Payne and Simon Falush

ABUJA/LONDON Tue Jan 6, 2015 7:12pm EST Credit: Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin/Files

Analysis & Opinion

(Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell will pay out 55 million pounds ($83.4 million) in compensation for two oil spills in Nigeria in 2008 after agreeing a settlement with the affected community.

The largest ever out-of-court settlement relating to oil spills in Nigeria is a step forward for the oil-rich Niger Delta region that has been hit by regular environmental damage, but it is tiny compared with the billions in compensation and fines BP had to pay after the Macondo rig disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

Though significantly higher than the 30 million pounds Shell had previously said it would be willing to pay, its deal is a fraction of the 300 million pounds-plus originally sought by the Bodo community in the Niger Delta. The payment will be split, with 35 million pounds shared evenly between 15,600 Bodo individuals and the remaining 20 million pounds set aside in a trust fund for projects such as health clinics and schools, said Martyn Day, senior partner at Leigh Day, the British law firm acting for the community.

The individuals will each receive about 2,200 pounds, equivalent to a little more than 600,000 naira ($3,249), in the first such case to pay compensation directly to individual community members, Day said. Previous similar claims have tended to go through the Nigerian authorities, resulting in a disbursement to community chiefs, who were then expected to distribute the money.“It’s very unusual to have thousands benefit,” Day said. “The money will go directly to their bank accounts and this will hopefully be a model for future claims.”

 

HALLIBURTON PAYS $1.1BN TO SETTLE GULF OF MEXICO OIL SPILL LAWSUITS

By Katherine Rushton, US business editor, 02 Sep 2014

The American contractor that worked for BP on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig has closed its case for $1.1bn – a fraction of BP’s fine. The American contractor that worked for BP on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig has admitted destroying evidence relating to its explosion in 2010 – an accident which sparked the biggest oil spill in US history. The Deepwater Horizon explosion killed 11 men and caused billions of dollars worth of damage to fishing and tourism businesses in the region. Photo: Getty Images

Halliburton, the American contractor that worked on BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig, has agreed to pay $1.1bn to settle most of the lawsuits over its role in the Gulf of Mexico spill.The settlement is lower than the $1.3bn that the Houston company had set aside for the case, and is dwarved by the still-spiralling fines BP faces over the disaster in 2010. The Deepwater Horizon rig exploded in April 2010, killing 11 men and causing millions of barrels of oil to leak from the Macondo oil well into the sea, in the biggest marine disaster the US has ever seen.

BP and victims of the oil spill have accused Halliburton of doing defective cement work on the Macondo well. BP said on Tuesday: “From the beginning, BP has acknowledged its role in the accident, worked to meet its commitments in the Gulf, and called on Halliburton and others to do the same. This settlement marks the very first time – despite three years of official investigations and litigation implicating the company – that Halliburton has acknowledged that it played a role in the accident. ” Halliburton has previously said BP was to blame for the episode, but its move to settle the case is likely to reassure shareholders that it is close to drawing a line under the matter. The agreement, which includes legal fees, is likely to raise hackles amongst BP’s supporters, who feel that the British oil major is being punished too harshly for the disaster.

Earlier this year, BP raised its forecast for the amount of money it will have to pay out to compensate victims from $7.8bn to $9.1bn, and analysts expect it to rise further as up to 10,000 new claims are filed each month. It also warned that fines over the disaster could exceed the $18bn it had set aside, and that there was no way of telling how high they might climb. The oil business is still waiting to hear how much it will have to pay to settle a civil suit over the disaster. A New Orleans court is currently weighing up how to apportion blame for the Gulf of Mexico spill – specifically who was responsible for the rig; whether BP acted fast enough to stem the damage; and just how many barrels of oil flowed into the sea.

Judge Carl Barbier, who is presiding over the case, is expected to hand down his judgment before the end of the year. If he finds BP guilty of “gross negligence”, the oil company could be forced to pay out as much as $4,300 for every barrel of oil spilled. BP and the US government disagree over how much oil flowed from Macondo into the Gild of Mexico, but at the top end, that price-per-barrel would push its fine as high as $18bn.

 

EXCERPTS OF EVIDENCE FROM DOCUMENT 001:

REFERENDUM: THE MIDWESTERN REGION ACT, 1962

On March 29th, 1963 the Federal Ministry of Internal Affairs of Nigeria was given the responsibility for the organization of a referendum to decide whether a new Region should be created out of the Western region in a sub-region called “the Mid-West”, comprised of the Benin and Delta provinces.

Preliminary guidelines were contained in an official letter signed by Mr. F.B.O. Williams on behalf of the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Internal Affairs.  In accordance with the Constitutional Referendum Regulations, 1963, Mr. Gabriel Esezobor Edward Longe, Barrister-at-Law was earlier appointed on January 21st as the Supervisor and empowered to appoint other referendum officials. It was projected that about 71 officials, all Nigerians of Midwest origin, drawn from the Federal Public Service, Corporations in the Federal territory and from other suitable institutions, working full time for about three months, would be required.  On the day of the referendum, about 9,300 additional officials were anticipated to be required for operations.  The Command Center for the Referendum was designated as No. 2 King’s Square, Benin City.  It was to that office that all referendum officials reported on Saturday, April 6, 1963 to begin their historic assignment.

The appointed Referendum and Assistant Referendum Officers for the various districts of the Mid-West are listed in Appendix One (1).

On the 24th of June 1963, by order of the Federation of Nigeria Extraordinary Official Gazette No. 43, Volume 50, the Supervisor of the Mid-West referendum issued Government Notice No. 1265.

It declared that voting at the Constitutional referendum for the creation of the Mid-Western Region would proceed on Saturday, the 13th day of July 1963.  The referendum question was as follows:

“Do you agree that the Midwestern Region Act, 1962, shall have effect so as to secure that Benin Province including Akoko Edo District in the Afenmai Division and Delta Province including Warri Division and Warri Urban Township area shall be included in the proposed Mid-Western Region?”

Hours of voting at designated Polling Stations extended from seven o’clock in the forenoon until six o’clock in the evening.  It is important to note that a new Voters registration List was not compiled for the purposes of the Mid-West referendum.  Only those listed four years earlier in the Federal Electoral Register of 1959 were entitled to vote.  Those who wished to vote “yes” were to place their ballot papers in the white box”.  Those who wished to vote “no” were to place their ballot papers in the black box”.

The results of the Referendum were as follows [GE Longe:  Results of the Midwest Referendum, 1963. July 18, 1963.   From D.A. Omoigui archives

No. District Votes Scored by Eligible Voters
Affirmative Answer “YES” Negative Answer “NO”
1 ABOH 33,072 722
2 AFENMAI 76,998 1,260
3 ASABA 68,637 365
4 BENIN 130,562 2,081
5 ISHAN 73,088 563
6 URHOBO 150,382 273
7 WARRI 30,703 1,377
8 WESTERN IJAW 15,635 577
Total 579,077 7,218

The total number of eligible voters, being persons whose names appeared in the Federal Electoral register of 1959 was 654,130.  Of this number the percentage that voted in the affirmative was 89.07%, well in excess of the required 60% (or 392,478) for the creation of the Mid-West region.  The region that was born on August 9, 1963 as a result of the July 13th plebiscite remains the only major administrative unit of Nigeria created by due constitutional process.

EXCERPTS OF EVIDENCE FROM DOCUMENT 008

OMOIGUI AT 80: I MADE THEM PAY FOR CLAIMING I REMOVED OIL WELLS FROM ONDO TO BENDEL

November 13, 2011 By Gabriel Enogholase, Benin

  1. Daniel Aiyanyo Omoigui, father of the Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mrs. Ifueko Omoigui Okarau, and former Surveyor General of the Federation, turned 80 last Thursday. In this interview on the milestone, Omoigui speaks on why students run away from mathematics and his narrow escape from death during the civil war. He also speaks on Bakassi Peninsula, which, according to him, has never been part of Nigeria but has always belonged to Cameroun. He adds that he was forcibly retired as Director of the Federal Survey because he refused to do the bidding of a former minister that would have transferred oil wells belonging to Bendel to Ondo State. In 1977, the Obasanjo administration set up the Justice Mamman Nasir Boundary Commission and, following its report, the boundaries of some states were changed. Part of Western Ijaw went to Rivers State, part of Bendel went to Ondo; part of Rivers went to Cross Rivers and part of Imo went to Rivers. Because of this, some oil wells changed hands. There was an oil well in Rivers very close to Imo and I was asked to demarcate where the oil well was actually located. After the exercise, it was found that the oil well was in Rivers. Moreover, because parts of Bendel had gone to Ondo, there were five oil wells very close to the boundary. Initially, the Ondo people wanted the royalty to be shared 50-50 because they were very close to the boundary between both states. In 1981, a Yoruba man, who was Director of Survey, wrote to the Ministry of Finance on the issue and, after charting, it was found that the oil wells were in Bendel State. He wrote to the Ministry of Finance that the Yoruba would not take this. He went to Lagos, met with the Director of Survey and reported that a Bini man was behind the charting. Then my Director said no, he charted it.

In 1984, Bamidele Otiko became the military governor of Ondo State and came to Lagos to meet my Director. At the meeting, my Director told Otiko he was responsible for the charting.When Chief Olu – Falae became the Secretary to the Federal Government, he directed me to write a letter that pending the resolution of the Ondo – Bendel boundary adjustment issue, they should be sharing the royalty 50 – 50. I declined to write the letter. They then posted one Ondo man to be the permanent secretary. He was reported to have said he was posted there to do their bidding and they would call him an outcast if he did not. After reading the file, he said I should do something, on the issue and I said, ‘No, you are the permanent secretary, draft the letter and sign it. He refused. The then Minister of Works, Alhaji Abubakar Umar, was a witness to all these. Later some people did a letter purportedly written by me. When Mamman Kantagora became the Works Minister, he told me that the Armed Forces Ruling Council (AFRC) had retired me. That was in 1988. The following week, the then Ondo governor called a press conference and told the media that I forged the map of Ondo – Bendel States to remove oil wells from Ondo to Bendel. The newspapers that published the story were sued for libel and I made them to write apology letters. Since I was retired, they have not carried out any survey on the Ondo – Bendel boundary issue.

 

ITSEKIRI LEADERS IN DELTA SUE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OVER TRANSFER OF

OIL WELLS AND LAND TO ILAJE IN ONDO

11 Oct 2006, Author: Olasunkanmi Akoni & Tujeworo Oke Country: Nigeria Lagos

THE Itsekiri people of Warri North Local Government Area of Delta State are alleging arbitrary transfer of their oil wells and ceding of their land to the Ilaje in Ondo State by the National Boundary Adjustment Commission. They have, therefore, decided to sue the Federal and state governments and the commission for “injustice, unfair and unconstitutional action.” Addressing newsmen in Ikeja yesterday, Chairman of the Itsekiri Leaders Forum, Prof. Tony Afejuku, warned that for peace to reign, the commission must reverse its decision and asked the Federal Government to stop forthwith the payment of royalties from oil wells within the disputed land to the Ilaje until the determination of the suit pending at the Federal High Court, Benin. Hearing in the case comes up on Tuesday, October 17, 2006. The group advised the Federal Government to rescind its decision to transfer the 214 oil wells belonging to their communities and ceding of their land arbitrarily to the Ilaje by the commission in the interest of national peace and equity. Prof Afejuku said: “For peace to reign between the Itsekiri and the Ilaje, the Federal Government must stop paying proceeds of the oil royalty of Itsekiri of Delta State to the Ilaje of Ondo State until all issues pertaining to it are resolved. It must also return Itsekiri land already ceded to Ilaje because by these actions, the Federal Government is destroying the heritage of the Itsekiri.”

The group’s spokesman who was supported by representatives of other communities at the conference listed the affected communities as Ugbege, Molume, Ebokiti, Eketie, Ekekporo and other communities of the Bight of Benin Atlantic seaboard of Warri North local Government Area of Delta State. Accusing the National Boundary Adjustment Commission of adopting “political solution instead of compliance with historical and legislative facts,” to the resolution of the matter, they also condemned the commission’s stand on approving the consensus reached by the governors of Ondo and Delta States at a meeting on September 14, 2004. “This consensus is what the commission has sought to implement as the agreed boundary between the two states,” Prof Afejuku said, and emphasised that since the Itsekiri communities were founded, they had always lived in peace and harmony with the Ilaje. According to Prof Afejuku, the straight line as described in colonial records, historical and administrative reports, federal and state government documents (gazettes, legal notices, white papers and constitution) since 1903 had been authentic boundary between Warri and Ondo provinces of the colonial era, between Mid-West and Western regions of the first republic, Bendel and Ondo States of the military era as well as Delta and Ondo of the second republic till now.

EXCERPTS OF EVIDENCE FROM DOCUMENT 008

A CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY: THE GENOCIDAL WAR ON ODI

By the time the military operation ended, 2,483 people including women and children lay dead. Many more were injured, displaced, traumatized and an inestimable number of properties destroyed. The immediate reason for these grave human rights atrocities was that a band of lawless youths operating from Odi, Bayelsa state, murdered seven policemen despite interventions from several well-meaning persons, including the President of the Ijaw Y outh Council (IYC). These lawless elements were among the political thugs that worked for the victory of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the local, state and federal elections conducted by the then military government of General Abdulsalami Abubakar in the last quarter of 1998 and early 1999. After the elections, they became ‘unemployed’ after being abandoned by their benefactors. They turned to criminality, terrorizing the inhabitants of Yenagoa, the capital of Bayelsa state. Around September 1999, they were dislodged from their base in Yenagoa by a combined team of soldiers and mobile policemen. The lawless gang then shifted base to Odi which is the home town of their leader Ken Niweigha. At Odi, they continued with their criminal activities, leading community members to raise concerns about their activities, including meetings with the group and a letter to the Bayelsa State Commissioner of Police. The police authorities never responded. About this time, ethnic violence broke out between Ijaws resident in Ajegunle, Lagos and a faction of the Y oruba group, Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC). Niweigha and his gang cashed in on this crisis, using IYC slogans for resource control, environmental protection and political autonomy to mobilize other Ijaw youths for ‘action’ in Lagos.

On November 4, 1999, seven policemen came to Odi to investigate this story about Ijaw youths organizing to go to Lagos to fight for their people. The policemen were said to have been led by Thomas Jokotola, a Y oruba, who also led the combined team that chased out the lawless gang from their Yenagoa base. The policemen were reportedly ‘arrested’ from a bar, held hostage and were later declared missing. They had been murdered, an act that was widely condemned by all. On November 10, 1999, President Olusegun Obasanjo wrote to the governor of Bayelsa state, Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, expressing grave displeasure at the killings and threatened to impose a state of emergency in the state if the killers were not arrested and prosecuted within 14 days. In this letter , the governor’s first name was misspelled and the president mistakenly said that Choba town in Rivers state where Nigerian soldiers had raped women following conflicts between the community and Wilbros, an oil servicing company , was in the all Ijaw – speaking Bayelsa state. Four days to the expiration of the two-week ultimatum, President Obasanjo ordered killer soldiers into Odi and the surrounding communities. The East-W est road was blocked by the Orashi River at Mbiama junction and by the River Niger at Patani. Thereafter, it was war and terror in Odi.

The world now knows that the killing of the policemen was never the reason for the onslaught on Odi. It was just an

excuse by the government of General Obasanjo in cahoots with Shell and the other oil companies to summarily resolve the Niger delta question. The idea was to contain the agitation of the peoples of the Niger Delta for resource and environmental control, political autonomy and a democratic federal Nigeria. Obasanjo and the social forces he represents perceive this agitation as a major threat to the status quo. They therefore want to conquer the Niger Delta by force of arms, the easier to sustain the rape on the people and their resources. Nigeria’s Minister of Defense General Theophilus Danjuma, while addressing the Economic Committee of West African States (ECOW AS) ministerial conference on November 25, 1999 was very clear about this when he said: “This Operation HAKURI II, was initiated with the mandate of protecting lives and property   particularly oil platforms, flow stations, operating rig terminals and pipelines, refineries and power installations in the Niger Delta.” (The Guardian, Lagos, November 26, 1999). Odi is an oil community with three capped oil wells controlled by Shell Petroleum Development Company Ltd.

SUMMARY:

NAME OF TOWN > ODI

NUMBER OF COMPOUNDS >11

NUMBER OF FAMILIES >109

MALE CASUALTIES >1460

FEMALE CASUALTIES >1023

TOTAL: 2483

 

Odi community people say:- to carry out their murderous operation, the Nigerian Army assembled an arsenal of: 27 five ton vehicles loaded with over 2,000 troops; 4 armoured personnel carriers i.e APCs mounted with machine guns; Three 81 mm mortar guns which were used to shell Odi between 2pm November 20, 1999 and 6 pm November 21, 1999; Two pieces of 105 mm Howitzer Artillery guns also used in the shelling of Odi; Conventionally equipped machine guns of a combat battalion; It was a mission to wipe out the community from the face of the earth. NOTHING WAS SPARED!

 

On December 8, 1999, 29 social action groups & NGOs comprising the following visited Odi: Civil Liberties Organisation, Environmental Rights Action, Ija w Youths Council, Niger Delta Women for Justice, Ija w Council for Human Rights, and Women in Nigeria (WIN). Others were Ikwerre Solidarity Congress , Journalists for Democratic Rights (JODER), Pan African Youth Movement (PAYM), Nigerian Institute of Human Rights (NIHR), International Centre for Development and Environmental Planning (ICDEP), Community Rights Initiative , National Association of   Nigerian Students (N ANS) and Constitutional Rights Project (CRP). The rest were Committee for the Defense of   Human Rights (CDHR), Pan Ibo Federation, Human Rights Law Services (Huri-La ws), Agape is a Birth Right, Bayelsa State Youth Development Foundation (BSYDF), Oduduwa Liberation Movement, Institute of   Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (IHRHL), United Community Action Network, Public In-house Lawyers Link and Media for Ethnic Equality . This is their testament:

We saw so many corpses by the road side as we drove along. The body of   an old man, still clutching firmly to a copy of the Holy Bible, lay decomposing in a pond behind the Anglican Church, a chilly testimony to the scorched- earth objective of the invading troops contrary to the officially declared objective of the mission: to arrest the hoodlums who allegedly killed some policemen. So complete was the destruction that crops were razed, yam barns were burnt, garri processing plants were willfully wrecked, canoes were set ablaze, and every house in the entire community, with the exception of   the First Bank, a community Health Centre and the Anglican Church, were burnt down. No aspect of the community’s existence was spared. Places of worship and other sacred places, including sacred forests and groves, churches, ancestral shrines and burial places were demolished. We received reports that the soldiers looted many of   the buildings and made away with the valuables before setting them ablaze. A yet-to-be established number of   persons arrested and taken away by the soldiers to military barracks in Elele, Port Harcourt and Warri, were yet to be seen two weeks after the operation. We saw no single livestock, poultry or other domestic animals except a stray cat. The community’s 60,000 inhabitants had fled into the forest or been arrested or killed. Only a few thoroughly traumatized old women, old men and children could be seen around, some of them suffering from fractures and other injuries sustained while trying to escape from advancing soldiers. We also received information that the soldiers were particularly contemptuous of books. Several libraries and educational materials were particularly targeted and destroyed.

The civil society mission then observed as follows:

 That the events in Odi can not be isolated from the larger crises in the Niger Delta which have their root in the historical political alienation, economic deprivation, environmental devastation, physical brutalization and psychological traumatisation of   the people by an oppressive Nigerian State and exploitative multinational oil companies;

 That General Obasanjo’s handling of   the Niger Delta crisis, as exemplified by his unconstitutional and reckless deployment of   troops to Odi, has been consistent with the oppressive philosophy of   governance of   erstwhile military dictators which conceives force as the basic strategy for resolving social and political problems. We would have expected that the coming into power of   a civilian government would have ushered in a different approach to the crisis, one that would emphasize dialogue and popular participation in the quest for a just and lasting solution. Odi has cast a big question mark on the ability of the Obasanjo government to resolve the nation’s social problems in a democratic manner;

 The military action in Odi not only violated sections of   the 1999 Constitution, it was inconsistent with the Universal Declaration of   Human Rights.

 The actions of the soldiers in Odi amounted to genocide and were clearly inconsistent with Article 5 of United Nations Code of   Conduct for Law Enforcement Officers. President Obasanjo has since visited Odi where he acknowledged that the soldiers had gone ‘bey ond their brief’. But then, he would not as Commander in Chief   of   the Armed Forces offer any apologies or order any compensation to the community .

A Blanket of Silence is about the in vasion of   Odi. It contains our reports from Odi, testaments from the local people and the sick graffiti which Nigerian soldiers left on the town. For the first time since the attack on Odi, we are publishing the names of   the victims. It has taken us three full years to compile them because we were determined to ensure that no one would contradict the figures. The Environmental Rights Action / Friends of the Earth, Nigeria, is publishing the report for five reasons:

 T o draw attention to the human rights record of   the Obasanjo regime in the Niger Delta;

 T o highlight the sorry fact that oil, not human security , motivated the attack on the oil-bearing community of   Odi;

 T o support the legitimate demands of   the Odi people for reparations;

 To campaign for an independent inquiry into the Odi massacre and the punishment of those responsible for the genocide attack

Finally, ENVIRONMENTAL RIGHTS ACTION (ERA) would like to recommend as follows:

 

TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

 Set up an independent judicial commission of enquiry to look into the immediate and remote cases that led to the invasion, destruction, killings and maiming of Odi town and its inhabitants.

 Identify & prosecute persons, groups, concerns of entities who took part, encouraged, instigated, approved the invasion of Odi.

 Provide relief, succour , rehabilitate and rebuild Odi town.

 Compensate all those who have suffered one way or the other in the Odi in vasion.

 Apologize to the Odi people for this unwarranted assault on their communal sanctity .

 Cause to be published a detailed report of   the independent judicial commission of   inquiry

TO THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY

 Institute an International War Crime Tribunal (International Criminal Court of Justice – ICC) to try and punish all those who in one way or the other perpetrated the atrocity in Odi.

 Speak out against the genocide in Odi.

 Arrest any officer or personnel who took part in the Odi invasion whenever they visit any country that is signatory to the Geneva Convention against Genocide and Torture.

DEAD BODIES EVERY WHERE

BUILDINGS DESTROYED BY THE NIGERIAN MILITARY

PROSECUTE EX-PRESIDENT OBASANJO

https://i1.wp.com/informationng.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/obj-300x202.jpg

https://change-production.s3.amazonaws.com/photos/8/al/mb/DPalmBugHvNOggM-320x240-cropped.jpg?1344704472

1999 ODI MASSACRE!!!

(A BLANKET OF SILENCE)

SEVEN POINT PLAN FOR SELF DETERMINATION

2015 NIGER DELTA INDEPENDENCE REFERENDUM

1) Consultations and consensus building within the next few weeks with the major youth movements of all the indigenous tribes of the six core Niger Delta states namely Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Calabar, Edo, Delta and Rivers for their total support for the legal redress of a class action litigation for the right to conduct a 2015 Niger Delta Referendum for True Independence and Self Determination at the International Courts (Ecowas & African Courts of Justice) as well as an open joint declaration / statement warning that any political or military attack launched against any Niger Delta community or tribe over this matter will be viewed as an attack against all Niger Delta people and region and will be retaliated in kind regardless of the consequences whether good or bad.

2) International campaign for support of the Self Determination 2015 Niger Delta Independence Referendum from most of the predominantly Christian member states of the United Nations, the European Union as well as major international NGOs like Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Green Peace, Friends of the Earth and most importantly Black American Civil Rights Groups who have all these years been campaign globally against oil pollution in the Niger Delta on the basis of seeking the right to live in a pollution-free, peaceful, progressive, prosperous, justice-able and equitable free nation for all ethnicities and religions void of all forms of Islamic terrorism, extremism, violence and persecutions against Christians and others which can potentially precipitate a religious, sectarian or civil war as is presently and precariously the case in the country today hence the need for secession as a pre-emptive measure to guarantee a peaceful co-existence in this most populous Sub Saharan country in Africa both now and in near future.

3) Massive and relentless online campaign by seasoned ICT professional firms to sensitize to the global internet community for the absolute need for the Self Determination 2015 Niger Delta Independence Referendum as a Freedom Fight against mass massacre, terrorism, sectarian violence, ethnic cleansing, religious riots, forced poverty, tribal oppression, regional repression, political marginalization, environmental pollution and neo-colonization that is plaguing this country and tearing it apart in this 21st century of democratic governance.

4) Global mobilization of the over 5 million Niger Deltans in the Diaspora for the absolute need for them to personally get involved in peaceful street rallies and placard protest clamoring for the actualization of the 2015 Niger Delta Independence Referendum in the major and capital cities of the world powers in the United Nations, European Union, United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Canada, Holland, Israel and others where they are legitimately resident.

5) Organizing Local Workshops and Leadership Training centers for Niger Delta youths in all the major cities of the Niger Delta sensitizing them on the ramifications and benefits for the international litigation and 2015 Niger Delta Referendum as a necessary precursor for a peaceful, progressive and prosperous nation building both within and without the Nigerian state.

6) Promoting a true federation or confederation of all the Niger Delta tribes / states with self determination exit-clause; rotational presidency; political gender equality; regional parliaments; 100% resource control; agricultural exportation; sustainable development; accelerated industrialization; Mega-cities constructions and finally as the emerging global Top 20 economic power house of Africa.

7) Upgrading Community vigilante operations in training, communications, investigations, intelligence, surveillance and self-defense adequately in order to pro-actively report to the international media and International Criminal Court (ICC) any form of military or paramilitary attacks against all Niger Delta activists and communities as well as to defend their lives and properties against all such military or paramilitary attacks because they are democratically campaigning and expressing their Right of Self Determination via a Niger Delta Referendum For Independence as enshrined in the International Laws & Charters of the United Nations and Organization of African Unity to which Nigeria is a state party and signatory thereby making this international charter superior to the country’s constitution according to International Law as demonstrated in the recent Self Determination Referendum that were peacefully, democratically and successfully organized and conducted by civil rights groups in Scotland 2014, Catalonia 2014 and South Sudan 2011.

 

BY EVERY LEGAL MEANS NECESSARY!!!

SHALOM!!!

EBENINALIVETODAYBenin_empire

FLY THE FLAG OF FREEDOM!!!

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