The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has set up a special investigative panel to look into petitions and complaints of oil spillage and environmental degradation by international oil companies in Nigeria to bring indicted companies to book.
The Executive Secretary of the Commission, Professor Bem Angwe said that along with the findings of the panel, previous reports and recommendations made over environmental degradation in the country would be implemented forthwith.
He said clean and healthy environments are rights of Nigerians and any company violating them must be made to pay and will not only be made to answer domestically but also internationally.
The UNEP report on Ogoni land is one of the popular reports on the enormous degradation in that region of which the recommendations are yet to be implemented over six years on.
The Human Rights boss says this time the IOC will be compelled to strike a balance between business and human rights.
Prof. Angwe said that the panel has commenced hearing of one of the many petitions on oil spill and environmental degradation pending before them.
They have 30 days to investigate these complaints, uncover the oil companies responsible and make recommendations on sanctions.
Polluted water bodies and streams with dying sea food, contaminated farmlands and destroyed sources of livelihood are the consequences of oil spillage and environmental degradation which have become the regular complaint from communities in the south-south geopolitical zone of Nigeria.
International oil companies chiefly responsible for these pollutions have often not been held accountable for remediation or compensation to the affected communities over the years while the degradation continues.