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ABSTRACT


The study sets out to examine the effect of the enforcement of United States Alien Torts Claims Act on
human rights infringement in Ogoniland of Nigeria’s Niger Delta. The aim of the research was to
provide a policy framework which could be used to halt oil conflict and to improve the governance of
resource management. The theory of the Rentier State was adopted as our theoretical framework. The
study relied on observation derived from documentary sources of recorded human documents such as
case laws, charters, treatise, Books, Journals, internet sources, websites to international bodies and field
observation. Data analysis was based on the single case pre-test-post-test quasi experimental design
which was also used in controlling internal threats to validity. The study found that the enforcement of
international regulatory instruments on oil corporations by international nongovernmental organizations
through campaigns and court actions in the United States ensured the accountability of oil corporations
which reduced the incidence of human rights infringements in Ogoniland. The study equally found that
the subsisting military alliance between the Nigerian government and the U.S. Government undermine
the capacity of the Nigerian State to enforce the liability of oil corporations for violations of
international law. Accordingly, the study showed that the U.S. Government’s dependence on Nigeria’s
oil and its military pact with the Nigerian State for oil security puts on hold Nigeria’s Government
capacity to mediate oil conflict and enforce international law. It was further shown that the oil-rentier
nexus underscores the uninterrupted flow of oil rents to the state as well as profit to the oil corporations
which engenders oil externalities and provided the immediate context for armed conflict. The study
showed that Royal Dutch Shell was complicit in the violation of international humanitarian law in
Ogoniland. Subsequently, the adjudication of the Alien Torts Claims Act provided financial settlement
and a Trust for community development which led to the cessation of hostility between Royal Dutch
Shell and Ogoni community. The study therefore recommends the abrogation of laws that disempowers
the oil bearing communities and the home state of oil corporations should ensure that victims of human
rights infringement obtain access to legal remedy.

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