OIL EXPLORATION AND ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION IN RIVERS STATE: A STUDY OF OGONILAND

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ABSTRACT

The study examines the oil exploration and environmental degradation in Rivers State, with particular reference to Ogoniland. The resultant effect of MNCs activities has destroyed underground water, farmland, and fresh water ecosystem, killing animals and endangering human life. The unfortunate part of it all is that the Nigerian state has pitched its support with the MNCs and tries to use the instrument of force and coercion to bring the oil bearing communities to submission and acquiescence. The research work was carried out to interrogate the following research questions. Does poor implementation of government policy lead to environmental degradation? Does lack of international best practices by oil companies lead to environmental degradation? Our objectives of the study are to examine whether Poor implementation of government policy leads to environmental degradation, and to ascertain whether lack of international best practices by oil companies leads to environmental degradation. We hypothesized that poor implementation of government policy leads to environmental degradation and lack of international best practices by oil companies leads to environmental degradation. The study employed both primary and secondary sources for data collection, relied on research design and with an analysis that was both quantitative and qualitative. The study discovered that Oil companies flared Gas in Ogoniland and Oil spillages are not cleaned within the period 1-4 weeks as a result of poor implementation of government policy. The researcher recommends that federal government should speed up the process of implementing environmental policies. Federal government should include the right time for spillage clean-up in Nigerian constitution in order to ensure access to environmental justice for those whose environments are violated.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Title page
Table of content
List of Tables and Acronyms
Abstract

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.1       Background of the Study
1.2 Statement of the Problem
1.3 Objectives of the Study
1.4 Significance of the Study
1.5 Hypotheses

CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW AND THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
2.1 Literature Review
2.2 Theoretical Framework

CHAPTER THREE: METHOD OF DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS
3.1 Data Collection
3.2 Research Design
3.3 Validity and Reliability of the Measuring Instruments
3.4 Test of Hypotheses
3.5 Method of Data Analysis
3.5.1 Population of the Study
3.5.2 Sampling and Sampling Technique

CHAPTER FOUR: GOVERNMENT POLICY AND ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION IN OGONI LAND
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Associated Gas Reinjection Policy and Environmental Degradation
4.3 Petroleum (Drilling and Production) Regulation
4.4 Oil in Navigable Policy
4.4.1 Gas Flaring
4.4.2 Oil Spillage
4.4.3 Seismic Activities
4.4.4 Forest Destruction and Bio-diversity Loss
4.5 Presentation an Analysis of the Data

CHAPTER FIVE: INTERNATIONAL BEST PRACTICES BY OIL COMPANIES AND ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION IN OGONILAND
5.1 Introduction
5.2 Corporate Social Responsibility
5.3 Immediate clean-up responses to oil spillage
5.4 Monitoring of clean-up exercise

CHAPTER SIX: SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
6.1 Summary
6.2 Conclusion
6.3 Recommendations
BIBLIOGRAPHY
Questionnaire  


CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background of the Study
            Nigeria’s enormous resources and lucrative market have been the major attraction for multinational investment agencies, particularly the multinational companies. Multinational corporation are business firms with their headquarters in developed countries and their branches in other countries, developed and developing (Nyong 2000).
            Prior to the discovering of oil at Ogoniland in 1985, the people made their living from the exploitation of resources on the land, water and forest as farmers, fishers and hunters. The discovering of oil, understandably, brought much joy and hope to the people with the belief that it will at least provide basic amenities such as tap water, electricity, healthcare facilities, good roads, good schools, jobs etc. In their innocence, they believed that the state and the oil companies were equally interested in bringing development to their communities. This, they later found out, was not the case. The primary interest and agenda of the oil companies has never been that of development of the communities but to ensure that they maximize their profit in the communities. The custodians of state power in Nigeria also view their position as the shortest route to wealth, power, influence and privilege which must be achieved at all cost. The oil companies and custodians of state power share a common interest in the maximization of profit in order to achieve their objective of capital accumulation. To this end, every other thing is subordinated including the lives and livelihood of the people, as well as the environment.
            Ibeanu (2000:1), argued that the extraction and production of oil by large oil companies in accordance with the  federal government of Nigeria, has caused environmental damage in this extremely sensitive ecosystem, as well as exacerbated tensions between the petrol-business and the government on the one hand and the local ethnic communities of the Niger-Delta on the other hand. Since the country began exporting oil in large quantities in the 1950s, the oil-rich southern region of the Niger-Delta has been a source of revenue for the federal government. Nigeria is the sixth largest oil producing country, currently export about 2.5 million barrels of oil per day.
            With the oil exploration in Rivers State, there has been large environmental degradation and oil spillage destroying underground water, farmland, forest, water, ecosystem, killing animals and endangering human life. The people suffer strange sicknesses to a polluted environment, and the government has not shown any concern on the environmental degradation caused by the oil companies in Ogoniland.
            However, the aim of this research work is to examine the activities of oil companies with a view to ascertaining the extent to which the activities have caused environmental degradation in Rivers state, using Ogoniland as our area of study.

1.2 Statement of the Problem
            Despite the legislations and policies on environmental protection and conservation, environmental degradation has continued to worsen the Niger-Delta. The wide spread view blames this on the ineffective execution of environmental protection laws in the country. Enforcement agencies lack the mechanism for monitoring and evaluating the impact of industrial pollution with a view to controlling it (Adibe and Essaghah 1999:76-89). One major reason for this neglect is that the Nigeria environmental protection agency is still in its infancy, has limited financial and technical capacity, and is susceptible to corruption (Ibeanu, 2003, cited in Douglas, 2008).
            Owugah (2000:105-112), argued that the Nigerian state and oil companies shared a common interest in the maximization of project and the accumulation of capital at all cost and not for the interest or welfare of the oil bearing communities. He said that the Nigerian government emphasis has always been on tax collections and crude oil exploitation without giving enough attention on the welfare of the people and the protection of the environment and at the same the oil companies are not bothering about the effect of the exploration on the people. Ibeanu and Luckham (2006:36), agree with him by stating that far from bringing posterity to the Niger-Delta, oil exploration and production caused scale environmental degradation to destroy rural livelihoods and to aggravate poverty.
            It was all the more destructive because it occurred in intensely settled forest, agricultural and creek areas. State neglect of the concerns of the Niger-Delta communities, according to them, was compounded by the skewed distribution of oil revenue, diverted to the development of (or in practice elite accumulation) elsewhere in Nigeria. The exploration and exploitation of oil in Rivers State has become a source of worry, agony, pain and disillusionment of the resident of oil bearing communities due to rampant occurrence of oil spillage and negative effect on the natural environment.
            This is also a problem caused by the claims of near total neglect of the oil rich minority ethnic group due to lack of social amenities like roads, schools, health centre, good water, electricity etc.          In some the effect of oil spill and gas flaring has brought extension of the biodiversity, acute food shortage, global warming and land degradation.
            The Ogoni tremendous potentials for the economic growth and sustainable development remain misdirected and its future is threatened by deteriorating economic conditions, despite its resources, the people remain impoverished. The most disturbing part of the problem of crisis in Nigeria government seems to have side with oil multinational companies against host communities as exemplified in the shell and Ogoni relationship.

            However, this study tends to explore new framework for the explanation of oil exploration and environmental degradation in Ogoniland. This is not to suggest that the foregoing analysis of scholars is incorrect, however, there are two stranding analyses to explain the problem. First, poor implementation of government policy leads to environmental degradation as a result of corruption in Nigeria. Second, lack of international best practices by oil companies leads to environmental degradation because of the common interest between the Nigerian government and the oil multinational companies..... 

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