Nigeria

'Catastrophic' Nigerian oil pollution case may be heard in the UK - Supreme Court

Two Nigerian communities, hard hit through the devastation of their environment by oil spills, have won a legal victory in the UK supreme court that could have wide-reaching effects not only on their own situation, but in similar cases in future. The communities have been trying to sue Royal Dutch Shell for alleged negligence in Nigeria that has led to the severe pollution of their traditional lands.

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Given all that has been written about the plight of the Niger delta communities overwhelmed with pollution caused by more than 50 years of oil operations, it is hard to choose the best - or worst - example to illustrate the disaster’s scale, and thus show why the new judgment is so important.

Courts’ differing views on whether independent candidates may contest elections

The role of independent candidates in elections is contested in many African countries. The Constitutional Court in South Africa issued a landmark decision on the question during June 2020. It held that the law had to be changed so that independent candidates may contest seats in elections. When a similar complaint was brought to the courts in Nigeria, however, the result was the opposite: there the courts upheld laws permitting candidates to contest political elections only via established political parties.

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This case involved seven Nigerians who want to stand for elective office as independents. They were contesting Nigerian law in terms of which an individual must be a member of a political party in order to participate in elections, and thus become part of government.

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