Imposing Liability for Oil Spill Clean-Ups in Nigeria: An Examination of the Role of the Polluter-Pays Principle

Ayobami Olaniyan


Oil spills lead to pollution of water and land in the surrounding environment. The health and the farmland of the people living around the area of the spills are also adversely affected. Numerous laws are usually in place to deal with the issue of oil spills but often times some of these laws are not totally enforced or the institutions set up to deal with the spills are inefficient. Oil spills cannot be left unabated. The problem of oil spills have to be dealt with in order to avoid the devastating effects of oil spills on the environment. In a place like the Niger-Delta in Nigeria where oil spills are rampant, an effective means of curbing the menace have to be thought out to deal with spills. Oil theft, pipeline vandalism and sabotage are the order of the day and thus, oil spills are a recurring decimal in the Niger-Delta. The question then is can the polluter-pays principle play a role in the prevention and control of oil spills especially in Nigeria? This article seeks to answer this question by examining whether the Polluter Pays Principle, an international environmental law principle, can act as a deterrent to oil spills especially deliberate oil spills. This paper examines the tenets of the polluter-pays principle, the deterrence theory, challenges militating against the prevention and control of oil spills in Nigeria and then relevant recommendations and conclusion as regards the role of the polluter-pays principle in preventing and controlling oil spills are put forward.

Keywords: Polluter Pays-Principle, Oil Spills, Liability for Oil spills, Niger-Delta, Nigeria

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3240 ISSN (Online)2224-3259

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