Oil Exploitation and Conflict in the Niger-Delta Region of Nigeria

Topics: Petroleum, Poverty, Economic development Pages: 12 (4094 words) Published: July 19, 2013
© Ogbonn 2013

J Hum Ecol, 26(1): 25-30 (2009)

Oil Exploitation and Conflict in the Niger-Delta Region of Nigeria Samson Imasogie Omofonmwan* and Lucky Osaretin Odia** *Department of Geography and Regional Planning, Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Nigeria E-mail: profomofonmwan@yahoo.com **Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria E-mail: odialucko@yahoo.com KEYWORDS Niger-Delta. Oil Exploitation. Environmental Degradation. Conflict. Mitigation ABSTRACT The Niger-Delta area of Nigeria, coincides approximately to the south-south geopolitical zone of the country. Before the discovering of the black gold (crude oil), agriculture was the dominant occupation of the people in the area. Crude oil was discovered in commercial quantity in the area in 1956. Since then exploration and exploitation of crude oil has resulted in environmental degradation, soil impoverishment, pollution, loss of aquatic life and biodiversity etc. This study reveals that the causes of the crises in the Niger-Delta region is sequel to the inability of the multinational companies involved in the explorations and exploitation of crude oil, and the federal government to adequately mitigate the consequences of their activities in the region. These multinational companies use capital-intensive technologies developed in core countries, which generate high wage employment for only a few workers but little employment for most others. This paper is of the view that adequate mitigation measures such as: construction of access roads, health facilities, educational facilities, electricity, income yielding ventures (cassava mill, rice mill, palm oil mill etc) piped water supply scheme, provision of micro credit facilities, capacity building, agricultural development etc will greatly reduce the crises in the region to the bearest minimum.

INTRODUCTION Niger Delta region of Nigeria is one of the most blessed deltas in the world, in both human and material resources. Suffice to say that the unfavourable manner, in which these resources have been harnessed over time, is the bane of the regions predicament today. Thus, the people of the region are prone to a number of health hazards and socio economic constrains which for long has made the people more volatile resulting in youths restiveness: conflicts between youths and community leaders, youths and government agencies, youths and multinational companies and so on. Attempts by government and multinational companies (operating in the area) to address this ugly scenario of wanton destruction of lives and property as well as impingement on the exploration process of crude oil, refining and distribution of petroleum products has not yielded the desired results. Identification of needs by the people and participation of the people, in the process of servicing their needs, is a vital synergy towards actualizing the peoples needs and desire (that are accepted as satisfactory). Assessing the records of a good number of the multinational corporations, donors and government agencies, stating the number of developmental projects to host communities, (where oil mineral is being

tapped); one might easily get fancied but a visit to such communities will however, reveal that what is on ground is indeed a far cry from what is actually needed to ameliorate the plight of the people. Considering the amount of deprivations and damages the activities of the multinational corporations which are into crude oil explorations has caused the people in the region dating back to 1956 for some communities –pollution, environmental degradation leading to low agricultural yield, destruction of aquatic life, home displacement, etc. It is obvious that the multinational companies operating in the area has not done enough to satisfy the yearning and aspirations of the people. Another factor observed to have further fueled the tension in the region, is the failure of the multinational corporations to meet...

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