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OIL POLITICS IN NIGER DELTA

 

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OIL POLITICS IN NIGER DELTA

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

 

1.1           Background of the study

Oil has become a dominant element within the power capability profile of any nation. Nations enter into war because of oil. The Gulf War in 1991 is an example. In Nigeria the crisis is between the federal

government and oil producing communities in the Niger Delta region. Despite the abundant oil wealth, there has been unimaginable mass poverty and negligible development in the region. Efforts by the federal government and oil companies to improve the quality of human lives and to provide infrastructural development have been insufficient to ameliorate the problems. Presently, the insensitivity of government and oil companies have created more tensions and crises which not only threaten the industry, but also national security. In fact, youths within the area, by association of various ethnic militia groups, have become restive in their bid for greater control of their natural resources. The paper, therefore, examines developmental issues in oil producing communities against background of government establishing an internal security task force to deal with the youths. The paper concludes that the federal government and oil companies should change their current hostile approaches in order to work towards infrastructural development of the region.

 

1.2 Statement of the problem

During the last two decades, the Niger Delta region of Nigeria has been enmeshed in crisis, which has resulted from total neglect and lack of infrastructural development. It is estimated that about 2.5 million barrels of crude oil is produced daily within the region. According to a Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) report, the production contributes almost 95% of Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings and 90% of its revenue (CBN Annual Report, 2003). However, little substantive progress has been made, which addresses development issues in the producing region.

Hence, the region continues to witness unimaginable mass poverty and low levels of human development, environmental degradation, social inequalities, unemployment, and so on. It is, therefore, an irony of fate that the area, which produces a bulk of the oil is the least

developed in the country.

This situation may be attributed to the nature of revenue allocation formula which has been dysfunctional. It may also be traced to the non performance of the contented disposition of the political leaders who ordinarily should have been the voice of the masses. As a result, every

effort to develop the region through policy reforms and socio-economic and political measures, have yielded little or no result. The absence of any meaningful development has necessitated the control of resources that are within the region. As expected, the youths by way of various ethnic militia groups have become restive in their bid for greater control of their natural endowment.

Presently, this restiveness has manifested in activities such as kidnapping, pipeline vandalization, oil bunkering and other anti-social behaviors that are directly resultant of failed leadership. Hence, the country has not only witnessed an economic crisis, but also political instabilities.

 

1.3 Objectives of the study

1. To understand the contradictory roles which are played by the Nigerian state; first, in terms of the allocation of resources and, second, as the major recipient of oil revenue.

2. To examine the rate of development in the oil producing Niger Delta area whether it is commensurate with the environmental damage as a result of oil exploration.

3. To highlight the oil industry and politics that have impinged development within the region.

 

1.4 Research Questions

1. Have the various governments of Nigeria played a fair role in the allocation of oil revenue to the Niger Delta region.

2. Has the rate of development in the oil producing Niger Delta been commensurate with the environmental damage as a result of oil exploration
3.Has the oil industry and politics impinged development within the region.

 

1.5 Research Hypothesis

H01: The various governments of Nigeria have not played a fair role in the allocation of oil revenue to the Niger Delta region.

H1: The various governments of Nigeria have played a fair role in the allocation of oil revenue to the Niger Delta region.

H02: The oil industry and politics impinged development within the region.

H2: The oil industry and politics impinged development within the region.

 

1.6 Limitations of the study

Firstly, most of the respondents were uncooperative with giving out unbiased information. This is in addition to insufficient funds and limited time for the research.

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