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Review: Victory for Niger Delta Farmers as Dutch Court Orders Shell to Pay for Damages

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For the first time, a Dutch Company has been brought before a Dutch Appeal Court to account for environmental damage caused abroad. Luckily, the January 29, 2021 ruling was in favor of environmentalists and Nigerian farmers whose lands have been polluted by oil leaks and spills.

Energy Giant, Royal Dutch Shell’s Nigerian subsidiary has been ordered to compensate farmers in 2 villages for damage to their land, (which covers an area the size of about 60 football pitches) caused by leaks in 2004 and 2005..

Now, what does this verdict mean for communities in the Niger Delta? One of Nigeria’s leading environmental activist Nnimmo Bassey, joined #TheImpact on Breakfast Central to discuss this ruling and what it means for communities in Niger Delta.

Bassey opined that the judgment means many things to the suffering communities in the Niger Delta at different levels. Besides showing that the International Community is not blind to the devastation that transnational corporations have caused, it also shows that if justice cannot be attained in the home country, Nigeria, it can be found in the home country of those causing the harm. The ruling proves that the communities that haven’t taken their cases to court before now can now go ahead to do that if they are justified, knowing that no matter how long it takes, somebody somewhere would definitely listen to them.

“Whenever these polluting corporations and entities are taken to court in their home countries for crimes committed elsewhere, they always claim that whatever is done in the National branches does not affect the Parent company/headquarter as they have no control over what goes on there. They have used this argument many times and succeeded. But this time around, the cover has been blown, validating the fact that they can run but the truth cannot stay hidden for too long.”

When asked who regulates and monitors the operations of Shell and why the farmers couldn’t get justice in their own country, Mr. Bassey asserted that the relationship between transnational corporations and their operations in the Global South, (not just in Nigeria), is HIGHLY COLONIAL!

“Although they have granted us independence, there is still a very strong power base that connects those historical arrangements to what exists today.”

Bassey hopes that the effect of this Dutch ruling would rub off on the other companies that operate in the Niger Delta so that they would henceforth sit tight and be responsible. “It’s a time for all International Companies to wake up and get ready.”

Speaking on the compensation Shell has been asked to pay, the environmental activist said the damage has been inflicted so much that he doesn’t see how the payment can completely repair the damage. “The environment has been completely polluted and devastated, it’s an extreme sport to get clean water for consumption. The air is filled with toxic fumes from hydrocarbon. Visiting members of the community would develop a headache within 5 minutes of a visit as a result of the stench and level of pollution in the air.”

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Buhari to be Vaccinated on Live TV Saturday – Mamora

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Nigeria’s Minister of State for Health, Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora has disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari will receive the COVID-19 vaccine at his Aso Villa residence and that will be shown live on television.

Mamora made this disclosure while he appeared as a guest on News Central’s signature news show, Village Square Africa.

Among other things, he remarked that the strategic leadership of the country will be vaccinated, in order to reinstate the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines to Nigerians.

Nigeria, through the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency has put mechanisms in place to ensure that the vaccines are not found in stores where they’ll be sold to Nigerians.

Several agencies, including the Department of State Services (DSS) will be involved in ensuring the accountability of the vaccines.

Mamora pointed out that vaccination will begin on Friday, beginning with frontline health workers in hospitals where the disease is being battled.

Before vaccination commences, the National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) will run an analysis on the vaccines in line with the dossier earlier provided, the Minister noted.

Other leaders in the country will receive their shots on Monday at the National Hospital while other Nigerians will have to be registered in order to get vaccinated.

People with comorbidities will be prioritised, alongside individuals who are older than 50 years.

Internationally recognised bar codes will be created for registered people who take the shots.

South African Strain and AstraZeneca

Mamora said the B.1.351 strain which has been found to be highly infectious has not been discovered in Nigeria, revealing that vaccination will go on with the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine which regrettably lacks potency against that strain.

Nigeria received almost 4million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines on Tuesday through the COVAX facility, joining Ghana and Ivory Coast as the only three countries to have received the vaccines through the facility so far.

By getting vaccinated on live TV, President Buhari will join Ghana’s Nana Akufo-Addo and South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa as leaders who have encouraged the citizens by being exemplary.

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Attack on Hospital, Aid Group in Borno, Northeast Nigeria to Affect 100,000 People – UN

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The United Nations has said no fewer than 100,000 people, who rely on humanitarian assistance, will be affected after a terrorist group attacked civilians and several aid facilities in Borno, Northeast Nigeria.

Edward Kallon, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, in a statement on Tuesday, expressed outrage that a hospital and the premises of several aid agencies had been set on fire or otherwise damaged.

The statement read, “I am gravely preoccupied by reports of an ongoing violent attack by non-state armed groups in Dikwa, Borno, during which several aid facilities were directly targeted.

“The attack started last night and information is still coming through. I am outraged to hear the premises of several aid agencies and a hospital were reportedly set ablaze.

“I strongly condemn the attack and I am deeply concerned about the safety and security of civilians in Dikwa, including internally displaced people inside and outside the camps.

“This attack will affect the support provided to nearly 100,000 people who are desperately in need of humanitarian assistance and protection,” he said.

Kallon stressed that civilians and their residence as well as facilities of aid workers should never be a target but must be respected and protected at all times.

He called on all armed parties to immediately stop the violence and respect international humanitarian law and human rights law.

Meanwhile, the Head of Mission, International Organisation for Migration (IOM), Franz Celestin, also condemned the attack in Dikwa.

Celestin said in a statement on Tuesday that the attack negated the priority that should be accorded to the safety of those who were striving to rebuild their lives.

“The safety of displaced people and those trying to rebuild their lives after years of conflict must be the top priority in North-East Nigeria.

“Following the latest attack on Dikwa, IOM joins the call on all armed parties to stop the violence and ensure the protection of civilians,” he said.

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Insecurity: Buhari Bans Mining In Zamfara

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Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari has banned mining activities in Zamfara State, northwest Nigeria as he seeks to curb the rising spate of kidnapping and banditry in the state.

Buhari made the decision in a National Security Coucil meeting today in Abuja, the Nigerian capital also declared Zamfara State as a no-fly zone.

National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd) announced the decision while addressing correspondents after the meeting.

Monguno said every non-state actor playing a part in the insecurity in the state has been placed under surveillance with the defence and intelligence units charged to step up the ante and provide valuable information.

The security chiefs were also tasked with rescuing Nigeria from the clutches of bandits, who have domiciled in various states in Northwestern Nigeria and are advancing towards the south.

Earlier on Tuesday, 279 of the 317 abducted students of Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe, Talata-Marafa, Zamfara State were released after four days in captivity.

Insecurity has risen in Northwest Nigeria with strong links placed with increasing mining activities in the region, as Zamfara has some of the finest gold in Nigeria.

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