CAPPA seeks reparation from firms for environmental pollution

The Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) has joined other civil society groups in pressuring African governments to push for reparation from the multi-national companies for polluting the continent with their activities.

CAPPA’s Executive Director, Akinbode Oluwafemi, made the appeal during the global launch of the “liability roadmap” to Make Big Polluters pay, held across the world on September 15, 2020.

Oluwafemi pointed out that the issue of liability has taken on new life as countries of the Global North shove climate justice demands to the back seat in favour of incentives and bail outs for Big Polluters in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, leaving majorly grassroots and frontline communities more vulnerable.

His words: “The launch of the liability roadmap is timely. It presents an opportunity and pathway that African governments must seize to finally hold polluting industries accountable for the environmental and human rights abuses they have caused in communities across Africa and the world over.

“The big polluters which the liability roadmap aims to put in check include the oil, gas and agribusiness industries that have profited richly from the environmental chaos in our land and across the globe and are driving climate change and undermining attempts to address it.

“But like we have said time and again, these very industries are in large part responsible for the multi-faceted crises we are facing. Recall that a Shell executive recently boasted that the company was part of the drafters of the Paris Agreement.”

Also, Aderonke Ige, a legal practitioner and one of the executive of CAPPA, said that the action against oil polluters was long overdue.

According to her, part of the roadmap include: It has to be regulatory and mandatory, they must recognise and protect the rights of nature, finance real solutions at scale, fund reparations and debt owed to the communities, denial of undue immunity to big polluters and ensuring that they work through frontline communities who control public finance among others.

She said, “While impacts of climate change differ from region to region, Africa, which contributes the least to the crisis carries the biggest burden in form of inundations from rising sea levels and the resultant loss of livelihoods.

“The Niger Delta is a case in point where fossil fuel extraction has led to dead fish littering the coastlines”.

The Regional Director, Corporate Accountability Climate Campaign, Hellen Neima, corroborated the views of the CAPPA’s boss.

She said: “Liability presents an interesting prospect for communities that have for decades borne the brunt of Big Polluters’ assaults like oil spills in their rivers and farmlands and the noxious gas flares that contribute in large part to the climate change crisis. With these clear guidelines the day of justice seems to be nearer now.”

Recall that the Global Make Big Polluters Pay campaign was first launched in September 2019 at the UN Secretary General’s Climate Summit in New York City.

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