Environmental Degradation, Rising Poverty and Conflict: Towards an Explanation of the Niger-Delta Crisis

It is no more a news to say that the Niger Delta region of Nigeria that bears the bulk of the nation’s oil wealth has long faced with environmental degradation. This being the direct results of oil spillage, gas flaring and other environmentally negative practices that have for long characterized the activities of oil multinationals operating in the region and which has consistently endangered the lives of the inhabitants of the area. Though, the region produces the bulk of the nation’s oil wealth, its people live in abject poverty and squalor. Agitations for a stake in the control of the oil wealth and more developmental projects by the people have elicited little or no favourable response from the elites that control the Nigerian state. Faced with dim prospect for decent means of livelihood amidst increasing oil wealth accruable to the Nigerian state, the people of the region, particularly the youth, took up arms against the state as their last resort in making the state to be sensitive to their plights. This has resulted in total confusion, chaos and disorderliness.

This paper examines the conflicts in the Niger Delta of Nigeria and argues that conflicts in the region arise as a result of grinding poverty and environmental degradation, which has for long been the plights of the people of the region. The paper concludes that recent efforts by the new administration of Yar’adua aimed at bringing peace to the region may not yield positive results unless such efforts address the crisis of poverty and environmental degradation in the region.

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Author: 

Professor H.A Saliu Saka Luqman and Ali Arazeem Abdullahi

Source: 

Journal of Sustainable Development in Africa

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