Data source
Date of text
14 Nov 2005
Seat of court
Original language


Type of text
National - higher court
Court name
Federal High Court of Nigeria
constitutional law, Human rights, oil pollution

The applicant, Jonah Gbemre, on behalf of the Iwhrekan community, claimed inter alia as follows: A declaration that the actions of the 1st and 2nd Respondents (i.e SPDC and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) respectively) 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 (including healthy environment) and dignity of human person guaranteed by Sections 33(1) and 34(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 and reinforced by Articles 4, 16 and 24 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act Cap. A9 Vol. 1 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004. The Applicant also sought a declaration that the provisions of section 3(2)(a),(b) of the AGRA and section 1 of the AGRA Regulations 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 section 33(1) and 34(1) of the Constitution, 1999 and Articles 4, 16 and 24 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Right (Ratification and Enforcement) Act and are therefore unconstitutional, null and void by virtue of section 1(3) of the same Constitution.
The Applicant’s grounds for bringing this application that the burning of gas by flaring same in their community has given rise to the following: That is it, (a) Poisons and pollutes the environment as it leads to the emission of carbon dioxide, the main green house gas; the flares contain a cocktail of toxins that affects their health, lives and livelihood.(b)Exposes them to an increased risk of premature death, respiratory illness, asthma and cancer inter alia are as follows: (c) Contributes to adverse climate change as it emits carbon dioxide and methane which causes global warming of the environment, pollutes their food and water, (d) Causes painful breathing, chronic bronchitis, decreased lung function and death;(e) Causes acid rain, their corrugated house roofs are corroded by the composition of the rain that falls as a result of gas flaring… the acid rain consequently acidifies their lakes and streams and damages their vegetation.
The Federal High Court sitting in Benin City granted all the reliefs as prayed and ordered the Attorney-General of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to immediately 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 AGRA and the AGRA Regulations made thereunder to quickly bring them in line with the provisions of chapter 4 of the Constitution.