LEGAL APPRAISAL OF MEDIATION IN OIL POLLUTION DISPUTES BETWEEN HOST COMMUNITIES AND COMPANIES IN NIGERIA

Abstract
Every civilized nation requires a system of justice in which aggrieved parties can obtain redress through the legal enforcement of their rights. Traditionally, litigation has served
this purpose. This historical bias towards litigation is now giving way to consensual processes, principally mediation, as the first recourse in the settlement of these disputes. In the field of environmental law, mediation is emerging on a global scale as a new approach towards the collaborative resolution of disputes over developments that have environmental effects. This paper therefore aims at expounding on the gains of mediation in resolving oil pollution disputes in Nigeria. The
objectives of this dissertation amongst others is to identify the community relations and mediation strategies used by the oil
companies in conflict resolution in the communities and evaluate the impact of mediation in resolving conflicts between host communities and multinational corporations in
the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. This paper found amongst others that irrespective of the present emergence of mediation, environmental litigation is, to a large extent, still a structurally inadequate option in Nigeria. If properly utilised
in settling oil pollution disputes, mediation is bound to reduce the adverse impacts of exploitation of these resources on the
human and natural environment of Nigeria. The finding in this paper is that there is need for mediation to be accorded unified legal framework. Such a move will not only bolster the practice and integrity of oil pollution mediation, but will also guard the key premise upon which it is founded, and avoid the likely incessant court interference from impeding the growth and viability of the promising new sector.

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