An open society is a society based on the recognition that nobody has a monopoly on the truth, that different people have different views and interests, and that there is a need for institutions to protect the rights of all people to allow them to live together in peace. An open society is characterized by the rule of law, the existence of a democratically elected government, a diverse and vigorous civil society, and respect for minorities and minority opinions.
In other words, participants agreed that to have any meaningful intervention in the Niger Delta, that it is important to conduct some form of baseline survey or study. It is in line with the above and the need to give the people of the area more voice in determining what is important to them and how those should be addressed that this project was carried out. The strategy of the intervention is anchored around consultation, dialogue and community engagement.
Most, if not all the demands put forward by the people of the Niger Delta as possible provisions of a peace agreement are what governments shpuld ordinarily deliver whether the area produces oil or not. Therefore the non provision of these basic amenities to the people of the Niger Delta smacks of injustice. Injustice which according to them, arise from their being minorities, injustice from the imposition of leaders, and injustice form corrupt leaders and impunity by oil companies.
Going through the data one message comes out clearly--and that is that communities want a framework of integrity for the development of their area. The constitutional provisions, revenue allocation laws, and the establishment of several development bodies have not been able to address the development need of Niger Delta communities. They therefore want a mechanism call it peace agreement if you will, that will be specific, measurable, enforceable and time bound.Id., at 15. Yet the role for the enterprises at the center of the disputes appear subsumed under more fundamental tensions within the Nigerian body politic.
"Somehow the people expressed implicit faith in democracy and democratic institutions." Id. But there is no corresponding faith in the economic enterprises that stand in the middle between the state and local communities. Indeed, the multinational enterprises at the center of the disputes here seem to disappear in what becomes a battle between local and national constituencies for a division of the of income derived from the taxation of those enterprises. Yet it would seem that there is a role for the multinational enterprise in this context. It is in this context that a corporation's responsibility to respect human rights can help flesh out the role of the enterprise. Local communities appear to mean to deal with the Federal Government through the economic enterprises who have negotiated for rights to exploit the nation's natural resources. Enterprises mean to trade their arrangements with the Federal (and to some extent local) governments for immunity from having to deal with local communities. But the tax and payment arrangements between these enterprises and the Federal government, with or without the local communities' willingness to exercise power to capture a greater portion of those tax revenues should not define the enterprises' independent obligations to local communities. Those obligations exist by virtue of the enterprises' activities in a place rather than as a consequence of the legal relations between the enterprise and the state. The payment of funds (as taxes or otherwise) to a host state by the enterprise does not diminish the enterprise's obligations. Nor are the enterprise's obligations sourced solely in the peculiar law of the host state. Rather the corporation's obligations arise directly from its relationship to those it affects in the course of its operations within a locality. In this sense, the obligations of the oil sector businesses in the Niger Delta flow directly to the members of the local community. They are defined by the host of well respected international norms , amny of which bind states as well. In the context of ACCR's work, this suggests a greater role for the Niger Delta oil sector enterprises, one that recognizes their double obligations--up to the federal government as the host state and down to the local communtiies as the stakeholders who most directly feel the effects of corporate activity.