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SERAP sues Buhari govt over illegal pipelines, oil theft

By Silver Nwokoro
28 November 2022   |   4:10 am
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has filed a lawsuit at the ECOWAS Court of Justice in Abuja against the government of President Muhammadu Buhari over failure to probe operations of illegal oil pipelines between 2001 and 2022, name and prosecute those suspected to be involved, and recover proceeds of the alleged crime.

Buhari. Photo/facebook/MuhammaduBuhari

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has filed a lawsuit at the ECOWAS Court of Justice in Abuja against the government of President Muhammadu Buhari over failure to probe operations of illegal oil pipelines between 2001 and 2022, name and prosecute those suspected to be involved, and recover proceeds of the alleged crime.

The suit was filed by SERAP, Chief Eric Dooh (who is suing for himself as a leader of the Goi Community in Gokana Local Council of Rivers State and on behalf of the Goi Community), and 15 other concerned Nigerians.

The suit followed recent reports of the discovery of, at least, 58 illegal oil pipelines used to steal the country’s oil wealth.

The stealing is reportedly carried out through illicit pipeline connected to the trunk line, via an abandoned pipeline, and linked to a location in the high sea, where crude oil is loaded into vessels and sold overseas.

In the suit, No ECW/CCJ/APP/53/22, filed last Friday, the plaintiffs are seeking an order directing and compelling the Buhari government to immediately probe reports of operations of illegal pipelines and oil theft, and name and prosecute suspected perpetrators.

The plaintiffs are also seeking an order directing and compelling the Buhari government to fully recover any proceeds of crime, and respect, protect and fulfil the human rights of the people of Niger Delta that have continued to suffer the effects of oil theft by non-state actors.

In the suit, the plaintiffs are arguing that the Buhari government is failing to uphold its international legal obligations to ensure that the country’s oil wealth is used solely for the benefit of Nigerians, and that the wealth does not end up in private pockets.

They also argue that poor and socio-economically vulnerable Nigerians have continued to pay the price for theft of the country’s oil wealth, apparently by both state and non-state actors.

No date has been fixed for hearing of the suit.