EDEMADIDE B. EMUROBOR
IKPEZE V. OGUGUA
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has emerged as the buzzword of the 21st century in the business circles and refers to what corporations or business entities do beyond compliance with the law to enhance a smooth stakeholders’ relationship in the course of their operations. Over the years, indigenous peoples have suffered extensive pollution and environmental degradation caused by the activities of Multinational oil and gas companies (MNOCs) operating in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry – with oil spillage and gas flaring being the most contributory factors to such pollution. Government efforts to regulate the industry and ensure that operators (MNOCs) comply with acceptable international environmental standards and operate using good oilfield norms have not yielded any result. MNOCs in Nigeria embark on all manner of CSR activities ranging from the provision of social and infrastructural facilities, to the provision of empowerment packages to host communities. However, such CSR initiatives have not extended to protection of the environment and health of the host communities. Against this background, this study aimed at investigation of the role of the CSR of oil and gas companies in Nigeria in the realization of indigenous peoples’ rights to healthy environment. The objectives of the study is to examine the environmental and health impact of oil and gas industries operation as well as ascertain whether indigenous people have right to healthy environment under international law and also ascertain whether such rights are recognize in Nigeria. The methodology adopted is the doctrinal and analytical approach as well as personal interview by researcher and relies extensively on the analysis and interpretation of primary data – statutes, international instruments and case laws, as well as scholarly opinions gleaned from authoritative secondary sources. Findings from this research shows that the activities of the oil and gas companies pose a grave risk to the environment and health of the indigenous people and the MNOCs CSR package is restricted in scope. The researcher found that the CSR of MNOCs, if strategically regulated by the Federal Government of Nigeria, can advance the right of indigenous peoples (host communities) to a clean, safe and healthy environment. The study recommended in a nutshell as follows: need for urgent implementation of protective environmental laws in Nigeria by all tiers of government; need for constitutional amendment to recognize environmental right as fundamental right ,advocacy and sensitization of the indigenous peoples on their rights to healthy environment as knowledge is power; and participation of the indigenous peoples in ensuring healthy environment of the areas and prompt reporting of application of unwholesome practices by the MNOCs.