PROJECT TOPIC- CRISES IN THE OIL PRODUCING COMMUNITIES IN THE NIGER DELTA REGION AND ITS ECONOMIC IMPLICATIONS
The research is on the crises in the oil producing communities in the Niger Delta region and its economic implications. Niger Delta region comprises nine states. Five among the nine states are core Niger Delta while the other four are periphery Niger Delta. To maintain the sampling nature of the research as well ensure its validity, two states are sampled. The states are Rivers State and Imo State and opinions are sampled in the two state secretariats. Related literatures was reviewed from books, journals, magazines, newspapers and so on. The work has a survey design while the major instruments used is questionnaire. The population of this study is five million, five hundred and seventy one thousand and twenty-two (5,571,022) in which four hundred and eighty (480) is randomly sampled out. The data collected were analysed and its results presented (tabular presentation and percentage analysis), which prompted the researcher’s necessary recommendations. The findings show that the disadvantage of the discovery of crude oil in Niger Delta outweighs its advantages. The economy is badly affected so the crises are in no doubt an “ill wind” that blows no one good.
Background of the Study
Regional conflicts, rivalries and offspring, crises are deduced to gain its roots from the loopholes in the independent Federal Constitution. Federal Republic of Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country, made up of some 250 different ethnic groups. It became independent on October 1, 1960, with a federal system designed by the aspiration of many even the so called minorities, but the idea of Onduku
(2001:6) brought to our knowledge that the federal constitution that was produced suffered from two fundamental and destabilizing flaws. The first was the division of the country into three unequal regions with the population of the Northern regions alone exceeding that of the two southern regions put together.
The second flaw was the political and demographic domination of the Northern, Western and Eastern regions being the majority ethnic nationalities and the attendant marginalization of the minority ethnic nationalities that comprise approximately one third of the population of the southern region. It is important to note that Niger Delta region predates Nigeria’s emergence as a British Colony by at least a decade.
Onduku (2001:9) said that Britain’s Niger Delta protectorates were already well established by the middle 1880’s and the late 1890’s before further British interest led to the formation of Southern Nigeria in 1900. Before World War II many communities had their own local leaders who distinguished themselves in their service to the people.
In the Western Niger Delta for instance, Onduku (2001) has it that Mukoro Mowoe, represented the whole of what was the Warri province as a member of Western House of Assembly. It was agreed that he represented them well many times against bad policies before he prematurely died in 1948. In 1947 also, Niger Delta Congress was founded and headed by the young Harold Dappa Biriyye.
The aim of the congress was to fight for equality for the disadvantaged people in the land on Conference of the minorities (Onduku, 2001). Yet the report of Willinks Commission in 1958 described the Niger Delta region as a poor backward and neglected region. Furthermore, on 23rd February, 1966 Isaac Adaka Boro, at Yontoubau Riverrine area in the present Bayelsa state came up with one
hundred and fifty nine comrades to launch a “guerrilla” war against the then federal military government. History has it that before January 1966 Boro had proclaimed the Niger Delta Republic with himself as the head of state. In the effort to stop this from happening, the Nigeria Police force did not have the ability to stop Boro’s intension, made the Nigerian Army to come in.
Boro and his men held up the federal troops (Nigerian Army) before they were defeated on the 12th day (Onduku, 2001). This rebel act has today become known as the “Twelfth Day Revolution.” Soeze (2006) brought to our knowledge that the Niger Delta region is an area of more than 28,000 square kilometres, 6000 square kilometres out of the 28,000 is Mangrove forest and has high biodiversity, typical of extensive swamps and meandering water ways.
And it stretches for over 300 miles from Benin River in the west to Cross River in the East. Other forest areas are characterized with many unique species of plants and animals. Having identified their natural resources endowment, the Niger Deltans engage in peasant farming making use of orthodox farm instrument.
It also involve in two major primary occupations: firstly because of the meandering water ways around the region they engage in fishing; secondly, they engage in peasant farming making use of orthodox farm instrument. Human Right Watch (1997) reported that the people living in the oil producing communities largely belong to ethnic groups other than the three major ethnic groups in Nigeria, that is Hausa, Fulani, Yoruba and Igbo.
They speak diverse range of languages and dialects. The largest of these groups is Ijaw which collectively form Nigeria’s fourth largest ethnic group. In the present days, the Niger Delta region is a conglomeration of nine states. Five out of nine states are the core Niger Delta states and these are the more naturally endowed Niger Delta, while the remaining four are the periphery Niger Delta States, their population and population percentage to the Nigerian total population are:
- Delta, with total population of 1,327,605 (1.38%)
- Bayelsa, with total population of 2,953,001 (1.29%)
- Rivers, with total population of 2,772,748 (3.68%)
- Cross River, with total population of 2,206,167 (2.15%)
- Akwa-Ibom state, with total population of 2,746,812 (2.68%)
These are the south-south oil producing states, other oil producing Niger Delta States include:
- Edo, with total population of 2,475,953 (2.42%)
- Abia, with total population of 2,195,654 (2.14%)
- Imo state, with total population of 2,798,270 (2.59%) and
- Ondo state, with total population of 2,798,270 (2.59%).
(Akunya L: 1. 2006:42 and Soeze 2006:1).
Source: Akunya (2006): Fundamentals of Demography
The Niger Delta region has the total population of 23,136,579 (22.56%) out of 102,519,082, which is the total population of Nigeria as at 1996. Niger Delta region is one of the world’s largest wet land, it covers a large area of Nigeria and depends on the political, ecological or hydrological definition of what constitutes the Niger Delta.
Quoting the World Bank report of 2005, Soeze (2006), stated that Rivers and Bayelsa states cover two third, that is 62.3 percent of the Niger Delta, whereas Delta state occupies another 15 to 20 percent of the Niger Delta. Accordingly, Akwa-Ibom, Cross-River, Edo, Abia, Imo and Ondo states occupy 17.7 to 20.7 percent of the Niger Delta region.
PROJECT TOPIC- CRISES IN THE OIL PRODUCING COMMUNITIES IN THE NIGER DELTA REGION AND ITS ECONOMIC IMPLICATIONS
Statement of the Problem
The research is on the crises in oil producing communities in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria precisely the purely maritime states like Bayelsa, rivers are faced with some invasive problems, adversely affecting their basic natural endowment for sustainable living. These problems are precipitated from the unfavourable effect of oil producing activity taken place in some communities of these states.
These activities so far have brought about great destruction of lands needed for agriculture, thereby discouraging agrarian activities in the localities. Also, their waters is threatened with some negative effect of deposit of petroleum which have been discouraged if not totally limited. Some aquatic activities like fishing, swimming and has also threatened river or water bodies as source of drinkable water to the people.
Besides, they are having several cases of forest fires resulting from ignited petroleum resources, destroying the economic trees and forest animals profitable to the people. There is the massive unemployment of the able-bodied youths in these oil producing communities and the putative belief of non-economic project and social infrastructure need to bring these localities to spotlight development.
Therefore some youths of these communities, feeling marginalized and out-cheated by successive governments of the federation and the oil companies have decided to be recacilitant militant and restive causing some intractable public unrest, public nuisance, insurrectional activities impasse, chasm and destructing proper political and economic development.
These they do taken laws upon themselves as a strategy of seeking government attention and intervention to there yearning. In addition to this, Niger Delta region has not been used to develop the region. There is a decay of infrastructure, lack of manpower development; thus creating room for incessant crises which offspring are youth restiveness, abduction and incessant killings which are tools employed by Niger Deltans to seek or draw government attention to their chronic fight.
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this work is:
- To find out the likely causes of the incessant crises in the oil producing communities in Niger Delta region.
- To find out the economic effect of the crises in the region.
- To unravel the extent to which the crises have affected some basic infrastructures in the region.
Significance of the Study
This research topic is an important and researchable subject matter as it has enormous relevance on the economy of Nigeria especially in this contemporary time when the nation is looking forward to fulfilled attainment of the global pursuit of millennium development goals (MDG). The importance of this study shall however, be subsumed within the following areas.
- The government of Nigeria
- Oil companies
- Policy makers.
The government of Nigeria: Successive government of Nigeria have in their various capacities formulated and implemented some policies to curbing crises in the oil producing communities of the Niger Delta. They, especially the administration of the recent past President Olusegun Obasanjo and the administration of President Umaru Yar’ Adua have made some concerted efforts and strategic policies towards bringing crises to the barest minimum condition if not a total termination.
Some effort government have been expressed in some policies and programmes such as the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) the Niger Delta Development Regional master plan NDDRMP which was established in February 2007 and the peculiar increment of the monthly revenue allocation to the Niger Delta states. All these are plans, programmes and policies geared towards terminating Niger Delta crises.
Individuals: Some prominent individuals especially traditional and community leaders of the crises-ridden oil producing localities have on their own and in partnership with government and co-operate organisation, such as oil companies made some relevant contribution for the abatement and termination of the crises, such as being in the frontier of peace talk, employment of the militant youths.
Oil Companies: Oil companies in the Niger Delta region such as Exxon Mobil, Chevron have also taken some significant steps in ensuring in the region by establishing some social infrastructure such as building of schools, road and water project; economic programme, employment and training of youths in the localities, provision of health facilities and some other projects all in a bid of bringing the crises to an end.
Policy makers: The National Assembly, the government of Nigeria, the stakeholders in the oil sector and community representatives from the Niger Delta have engaged in policy making, that will bring about a harmonious resolution of the crises in a manner that is beneficial to all the parties involved.
Scope of the study
The study focuses on the crises in oil producing communities in Niger Delta region and its economic implications. The study does not focus on the political dimension or origin of the problem. The study area comprises of the nine states which make up the oil producing region, however Rivers and Imo states shall attract the attention of the researcher more.
- What are the likely causes of incessant crises in the oil producing communities of the Niger Delta region?
- What are the economic effects of the crises in the region?
- To what extent have the crises affected basic infrastructures in the area?