Solutions to the Niger Delta Problems in Nigeria

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SOLUTIONS TO THE NIGER DELTA PROBLEMS IN NIGERIA

AN ASSIGNMENT WRITTEN IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE COURSE DVS 512: TECHNOLOGY, ENERGY, NATURAL RESOURCES AND DEVELOPMENT BY

ISU, DORATHY AKWUGO
PG/MSC/07/46529

LECTURER: DR. OGAKWU

INSTITUTE FOR DEVELOPMENT STUDIES, UNIVERSITY OF NIGERIA, ENUGU CAMPUS.

AUGUST 2009

BACKGROUND
The Niger Delta produces the oil wealth which accounts for the bulk of Nigeria’s foreign earnings. Paradoxically however, these vast revenues from an international industry have barely touched the Niger Delta’s own pervasive local poverty (UNDP, 2006:1). The majority of the population in the rural areas in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria are living in extreme poverty in spite of the facts that a large percentage of Nigeria’s income is realized from the crude oil produced in that region.

The Niger Delta region usually refers to the nine oil producing states in Nigeria which are Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo and Rivers States. The region contains the world’s third largest wetland, with the most extensive freshwater swamp forest and rich biological diversity. Over half of the area is crisscrossed with creeks and dotted with small islands, while remainder is a lowland rainforest zone (UNDP, 2006:1).

The deteriorating social and environmental conditions, poor infrastructural development, grossly inadequate facilities and the general malaise in the area, has the effect of pushing out millions of young men and women to seek out uncertain alternative opportunities in the cities. Others become militants who constantly and consistently sabotage oil pipelines and vessels of the oil exploiting companies in Nigeria and kidnap their staff, causing huge financial losses and reduction in crude oil production. This situation also has the effect of making the Niger Delta regions highly unsafe for foreign investment.

Even the global economy has been negatively impacted by the crisis in Delta State. The state produces 30% of the country’s total oil and gas output which accounts for a significant amount of Nigeria’s current foreign exchange earnings. But the activities of the militants have accounted for a huge shortfall in the number of barrels of oil produced a day leading to a loss of billions of dollars in oil revenue. Thereafter, the world price of oil was affected and it dawned on the Nigerian Government that it had to act fast to save the economy from imminent collapse (Ero, 2009). Several efforts by the government, the most recent being the setting up of a Niger Delta ministry to address these problems have failed to yield much fruit. This paper takes a closer look at the problems of the Niger Delta region and proffers possible solutions to address the issues with a view to achieving sustainable development in the region.

THE PROBLEMS OF THE NIGER DELTA REGION
June 10, 2006 marked 50 years of oil exploration and production in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. During the period over $400 billion has accrued to the Nigerian State in terms of revenue (Igbikiowubo 2006). The question then is how much of this revenue has found its way into this region for development purposes, particularly in infrastructural development and welfare of the people? This has been the bane of the crisis in the Niger Delta. The deteriorating social and environmental conditions, poor infrastructural development, grossly inadequate facilities and the general malaise in the area, has the effect of pushing out millions of young men and women to seek out uncertain alternative opportunities in the cities. Others become militants who constantly and consistently sabotage oil pipelines and vessels of the oil exploiting companies in Nigeria and kidnap their staff, causing huge financial losses and reduction in crude oil production. This situation also has the effect of making the Niger Delta regions highly unsafe for foreign investment. The Niger Delta Human...
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