Social Consequences of Environmental Change in the Niger Delta of Nigeria

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Akachi Odoemene, Ph.D.
Department of History and International relations,
Redeemer’s University (RUN),
Mowe, Ogun State,
Phone: +234 805 235 1678


For decades, the economic and political dimensions of environmental governance and change has been at the centre of national and international public policy and academic debates; nevertheless, the social impacts of environmental change and the inadequacy of policies addressing them have remained at the margins of academic research. Though its relevance has been emphasized and reaffirmed in the Brundtland Report (1987), the Millennium Development Goals (2001), the Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development (2002), they remain fringe issues in the global discourse on sustainable development. However, social dimension issues should not be overlooked as societies face potentially dramatic environmental changes thus have to undergo fundamental transformations to achieve sustainable development. Nigeria’s Niger Delta, an oil producing geo-political zone located in the coastal region, and thus, highly susceptible to adverse environmental changes, is dying. Petrobusiness activities have caused severe environmental damage and climate change in its communities thus leading to massive destruction of farmlands, wild and marine lives. This has not been without dire social consequences on local communities of the Niger Delta which are doubly impoverished with attendant increase in abuse occasioned by struggle for survival. This paper focuses on the socio-environmental interface – including the risks, potentials, challenges and opportunities associated with environmental change, governance and adaptation within Niger Delta societies. It interrogates issues of interest in the concrete experiences of Niger Delta communities in Nigeria in relation to environmental change. It also examines how...
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