Many civil society groups in Africa have joined their global counterparts demanding that governments should put costs on polluting industries, responsible for damaging the environment as well as the health of people.
Like several cities in the world #Makethempay, the hashtag was trending in social media in Nairobi, Accra, Abuja, Yaounde, and several other cities, with people asking the government to penalize big polluters.
Launched on Sept. 15, the #Makethempay campaign is demanding a liability roadmap, to outline guidelines so that governments can hold polluting industries liable for the impact of their activities causing environmental degradation and climate change.
The campaign further calls on the government to fix responsibilities on top executives of polluting industries.
“With these clear guidelines the day of justice may be nearer now,” Director of Advocacy at the African Center for Advocacy (ACA), Younoussa Abbosouka told Anadolu Agency via a video link.
He said his organization joined the campaign after witnessing how the oil industries have deprived communities from their land, polluted their water resources, and left them at the mercy of poverty and disease.
”With the liability road map, polluters will not only be held responsible for the damage they cause, but they will also pay. The time of interference and impunity is over,” he added.
According to Akinbode Oluwafemi, executive director of an NGO called Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa, the launch of the liability roadmap is an opportunity for African governments to hold polluting industries accountable.
For decades, big polluters like Exxon, Shell, and others have spent billions of dollars denying the climate crisis, and pushing false solutions at every level, claims the website makebigpolluterspay.org.
At the 2019 Climate Summit in New York, the activists had demanded to incorporate rules to make polluters pay.
At another 2019 UN Climate Change Conference, also known as COP25, held in Madrid, Spain, over 200,000 people from more than 63 countries including from Africa demanded the formulating rules to make big polluters pay. Earlier this year, the European Parliament held a hearing to investigate Exxon’s attempts to mislead the public. The Exxon Mobil Corporation is an American multinational oil and gas entity headquartered in Irving, Texas.
In Nigeria, many Niger Delta communities have explored the litigation option in confronting Shell and other oil multinationals for oil spills and other environmental infractions.