Soot: Court Adjourns Suit Against FG To April 14

February 12, 2021

By Anayo Onukwugha, Port Harcourt

The Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt has adjourned to April 14, 2021, hearing on a suit against the Federal Government by a group, the Extra Steps Initiative (TESI) over the air pollution, popularly referred to as ‘Black Soot’ in Port Harcourt and it’s environs for more than four years.

The acidic environmental pollution, popularly known as Soot includes the
fine black particles, chiefly composed of carbon, produced by incomplete combustion of coal, oil, wood, or other fuels.


Soot first appeared in the atmosphere in and around Rivers State in September 2016, causing panic among residents of the state.

TESI, in suit FHC/PH/FHR/140/19, is seeking for the enforcement of the fundamental right to life and to a general satisfactory environment favorable to our development.

Joined as co-defendants in suit are the Federal Ministry of Environment, the National Environmental Standards, Detection and Regulation Agency
(NESDRA) and the Joint Military Task Force (JTF) in the Niger Delta.

When the matter came up yesterday, the presiding Judge, Hon. Justice Isaq Sani, adjourned hearing to April 14, 2021, so that a notice of hearing could be issued on the three co-defendants, who were absent in Court.

Speaking with LEADERSHIP, counsel to TESI, Barrister Nelson Ologhadien,
said the matter was adjourned in the spirit of fair hearing to all the
parties involved in the suit.

Ologhadien said: “You know we have four respondents in the matter. Off all of them, it was also the Federal Government, represented by the
Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation that was represented in

So, in the spirit of fair hearing, the Court ordered that hearing notices should be issued and served on them. The Judge adjourned to matter to April 14, 2021 for definite hearing.

“In the very first instance, we are asking the Court to make a declaration that the unmitigated pollution of Port Harcourt and it’s environs by the black soot, otherwise known as particulate matter
constitutes a threat to the lives of people who reside and do business in Port Harcourt and it’s environs. That is the first Order.

“In the second Order, we are asking the Court to make a declaration that the black soot is an infringement on the rights to a clean environment and enshrined in the African Charter on Human and Peoples Right.

“In the third instance, we are asking the Court to make an Order mandating the agencies of the Federal Government that are saddled with the responsibility for the environment to swing into action and stop the soot in Port Harcourt.

“In the last instance, we are asking the Court for an injunction restraining the Joint Military Task Force from burning seized petroleum products. Instead they should look for more environmental friendly ways of disposing those products. Maybe, they can send it back to NNPC or whatever. But they should stop burning it.”

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