Joshua P. Eaton
Nigeria, transnational corporations, environmental regulation, human right to a healthy environment
The second half of the twentieth century has witnessed an unprecedented expansion in the number of corporations operating beyond their national borders. By 1990, nearly 37,000 transnational corporations (TNCs) existed in the world. This figure continues to grow rapidly as trade barriers diminish, communications systems improve, and transportation becomes cheaper and more efficient. A 1992 Earth Summit document, Agenda 21, appropriately recognizes that “business and industry, including transnational corporations, play a crucial role in the social and economic development of a country.” Furthermore, TNCs contribute to the increasing prosperity of a developing nation by providing “major trading, employment and livelihood opportunities” and by helping to strengthen the role of women in society.
Unfortunately, the impact of TNCs, particularly in developing countries, has not been all positive. While some TNCs conduct responsible international business operations, others blatantly disregard human and environmental concerns in their countries of operation. The citizens of developed nations rarely hear of the environmental havoc many TNCs wreak in developing countries because only major disasters, such as that which occurred in Bhopal, are widely reported in the news.
This Note examines the environmental damage caused by TNCs in the course of oil exploitation activities in Ogoniland and other parts of the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.”
(1997) 15 Boston University International Law Journal 261.