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Why they haven't cleaned up oil spill

Publish date: 17 July 2017
Issue Number: 734
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Category: Nigeria

Two years after a process was set in motion for cleaning up the delta region of Nigeria left devastated by consecutive oil spills nearly 10 years ago, nothing has happened, notes leading legal writer Carmel Rickard in her A Matter of Justice column on the Legalbrief site. Now a London judge has heard that the delays have been caused by local people demanding a stop to the plan. Instead, they want the funds that would have been spent on rehabilitation to be shared out among the affected community and they demand that local people should carry out the rehabilitation instead of the international experts slated to work on the polluted area. There have also been a number of court cases, launched in the local courts of Nigeria, to prevent the clean-up from going ahead. Justice Peter Coulson warned those who were trying to prevent the clean-up that they should co-operate with the mediation process aimed at rehabilitating the area. ‘The consequences of not doing so are stark,’ he said. The judge also had some strong warnings to the lawyers on both sides of the dispute that the court was concerned about the legal costs being run up and that ‘proper costs management orders’ might be the next step.

A Matter of Justice