At least these companies must obey local regulationsand laws. Whether these laws are enforced or not does not mitigate the firms’ responsibilityto obey them. Further, as guests in a foreign sovereign nation, the firms areresponsible to do no harm by their presence. This is also important to thefirms as they seek to protect their image in other areas around the globe.International human rights law in general is writtenby and binding upon states.
Nevertheless, increasingly acknowledged thatcompanies in general, and multinational corporations in particular—which oftencontrol budgets larger than those of the states in which they operate and havesignificant power as a result, have responsibilities with regard to thepromotion and protection of human rights as well as the negative obligation notthemselves to be the instrument of or contribute to states’ violations of humanrights. Superiority of the oil companies in Nigeria gives them responsibilitiesto monitor and promote respect for human rights by the Nigerian government.Given the overwhelming role of oil in the Nigerian national economy, thepolicies and practices of the oil companies are important factors in thedecision making of the Nigerian government.
Because the oil companies areoperating joint ventures with the government they have constant opportunitiesto influence government policy, including with respect to the provision ofsecurity for the oil facilities and other issues in the oil producing regions.The role of the Shell and Chevron in Nigeria areimportant and most attention internationally. That has three reasons about the strongerof the Shell: first, becausemost of the Shell’s facilities are near inhabited area and thus exposed tocommunity protests. Second, Shell was the largest and longest history oilproducer company in Nigeria.
As long as oil is produced, monopoly and privilegerelations with the government are enjoyed early on. Thirdly, because of Shellwas formed the main target of the campaign by MOSOP. While Human Rights Watchbelieves that Shell has a special responsibility because of its current andhistorically dominant position in Nigeria, we believe that all the oilcompanies share this responsibility and that collective action by the oilindustry in support of human rights in Nigeria is required. The general responsibilities to monitor and promoterespect for human rights by the Nigerian government, Human Rights Watchbelieves that the oil companies work in Nigeria have particular responsibilitiesin respect of the human rights violations that take place in connection withtheir operations. These responsibilities must be seen against the context ofoil production in Nigeria and the way that the security provided to keep theoil flowing benefits both the Nigerian government and the oil companies, sincedisputes which threaten production affect the revenue of both.
Companies havean obligation to keep away from both complicity in and advantage from humanrights abuses.Nigerian laws require the oil companies to respecthigh environmental standards, often explicitly based on internationalstandards, in order to prevent and remedy pollution, to protect inhabited areasfrom oil flaring and other dangerous aspects of oil production, as well as toprovide fair and adequate compensation for buildings, crops, fishing rights, orother property adversely affected by their operations. Law of Nigeria includethe principle of strict liability for damage caused by oil spills, so that itis not necessary to prove negligence on behalf of the operator; though if theoil was deliberately spilled because of sabotage the rule does not apply and negligencemust be shown.
However, the Federal Environmental Protection Agency andDepartment of Petroleum Resources, the government bodies with responsibilityfor enforcing these laws, experience the ill effects of an absence ofspecialized mastery and assets, which, combined with the issues caused bycovering orders and defilement, anticipate viable policing of naturalprinciples, and the organizations frequently miss the mark concerning theircommitments. These duties should all be considered important by oilorganizations without being insulted.In addition, the oil companies operating in Nigeriahave close relations with neighborhood elites in the communities where theyoperate and at state and national level. To some extent, such relations arerequired in order for the companies to operate, and are no different from therelations of large companies with government authorities and other powerfulfigures in any state. The oil companies are obliged to manage with thegovernment of the country at its different levels, whether military orcivilian. However, the pervasive corruption that has followed the oil industryprofits the national and nearby power structures and also adding a cost to theoil companies.
Oil companies are legitimately concerned to preventdamage to the environment and their facilities and to protect their personnel.The companies also emphasize their commitment to keep away from confrontationsbetween community members and security forces, while underlining a legalobligation to inform the Nigerian authorities when there is a threat to oilproduction. For example, Shell states that “In circumstances where the safetyof staff or equipment is threatened, Shell reports the matter to the police,just as citizens or companies would in most countries around the world.
In my conclusion I have listed some of theresponsibilities of oil companies in the local community. Companies shouldinclude in written agreements with the Nigerian government relating to theregulation of the oil industry, especially any agreements relating specificallyto security, provisions require state security forces operating in the area of??company operations to conform to the human rights obligations the governmenthas assumed under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, theAfrican Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and other international humanrights and humanitarian norms. Companies must make public the provisions oftheir security agreements with state entities and private organizations.Besides that, Companies should investigate abuses that do occur, and make public andprivate protests to the authorities where excessive force is used, or wherearbitrary detentions or other abuses take place. Companies should publishdetails of such incidents in their annual reports both in Nigeria and in thecountry of their head office.
Companies should publicly and privately call on theNigerian authorities to institute disciplinary or criminal proceedings, asappropriate, against those responsible for abuses and to compensate thevictims. Companies should monitor the status of such investigations and pressfor resolution of the cases, publicly condemning undue delay. And also, Companiesshould adopt internal guidelines surrounding the provision of security fortheir facilities, emphasizing the need to ensure respect for human rights, andshould take disciplinary action against any employee that does not follow suchguidelines. Infact, not only the responsibility of the Shell and Chevron but also all themajor companies should be pay attention to that. Cause of the policies andresponsibility to operate a large company will directly affects the economy andsociety of a country. Correct and responsible management companies will promotethe prosperity of a country will also gradually set a higher position in thecountry.