RESOLUTION OF THE NIGER DELTA CRISIS AND THE ENFORCEMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL RIGHTS IN NIGERIA, 1999-2014.

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ABSTRACT

The study examined the extent the resolution of the Niger Delta crisis deepened the effective enforcement of environmental rights, between 1999 and 2014. The specific questions for
investigation were: Did the establishment of the Niger Delta Ministry reduce the level of
environmental degradation in the Niger Delta? Did the adoption of the Amnesty Programme fail to
assuage environmental protests in the Niger Delta? Did the reliance on MNCs relegate the
enforcement of environmental health in the Niger Delta? The Marxian political economy paradigm
was used to ascertain relations of the oil complex at the local level involving the state, the MNCs and
the reactionary groups operating the Niger Delta. The study focused on how the resolution of the
Niger Delta crisis (X) variable determined the enforcement of environmental rights in Nigeria (Y)
variable. It was confirmed that the enforcement of environmental rights affected the resolution of the
Niger Delta crisis as follows: The establishment of the Niger Delta Ministry reduced the level of
environmental degradation in the Niger Delta; The adoption of the Amnesty Programme failed to
assuage environmental protests in the Niger Delta; The reliance on MNCs relegated the enforcement
of environmental health in the Niger Delta. The Ex-Post Facto design was used as the research
design. Data from secondary sources such as journals, books, official documents where qualitatively
analyzed. The continued existence of environmental degradation protests and relegation of
environmental health, were seen to affect the achievements of the Niger delta Ministry in the
effective control of environmental degradation. The incidences of conflicts, oil bunkering,
militarization of the area, gas-flaring, oil theft, pipeline vandalism, poor and unsafe water and ill
health point to environmental crisis as the problem of Niger Delta and the need for the enforcement
of environmental rights.

 

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION

1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
The Niger Delta region made up of nine states; Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo, Rivers, is inhabited by more than fifty ethnic and sub-ethnic groups consisting among others. The followings; the Ibibio, Efik, Igbo, Itsekiri, Izon, Urhobo, Isoko , Ikwere, Anang, Andoni, Okrika, Eleme and Ogoni (Akpan,2007). It stands out that the Multinational Corporations have accumulated different dimensions of variegated nature of social wealth in Nigeria in which their collaboration with the ruling class and government of Nigeria, has encouraged authoritarian style and military dictatorships in Nigeria, quelling all protests, counter arguments and obstructions against their mode of operation, thus creating continued expansion of dominance and ruthless environmental exploitation. To ensure the dominance and drive of monopolistic capitalist formations in Nigeria to sustain the economy of the same, there has been increased use of force by the Nigerian Military Government in collaboration with the oil multinationals at the time, to suppress peaceful protest and remove the emphasis on environmentalism, and the enforcement of environmental human rights in the Niger Delta. According to Amunwa and Minio (2011), it was recounted on Shell’s close relationship with Nigerian government that:
During the 1990s, Shell actively encouraged and assisted largescale military attacks against communities and peaceful protestors in the Ogoni region of the Niger Delta. Recently released testimonies from the US lawsuit, Wiwa v Shell have shed further light on the extent of Shell’s collusion with the Nigerian military. According to key testimony, Shell provided helicopter transport and field allowances to heavily armed
soldiers who committed crimes against humanity in the Ogoni village of Kaa on 5 August 1993. In the attack that followed, at least 35 civilians were reportedly killed. The notorious Lieutenant-Colonel Paul Okuntimo, who led the crackdowns against the Ogoni, was allegedly being paid by Shell and was driven around the Delta in a Shell vehicle. (Amunwa and Minio, 2011:12)
It followed that on 25 October, 2009 MEND reinstated an indefinite ceasefire raising prospects for peace in the troubled oil-producing region after nearly three decades of hostilities. President Umaru Yar’Adua met for the first time with the leader of MEND, Henry Okah, in Abuja to diffuse tensions in the Niger Delta on 19th October 2009. The government announced a US$1.3-billion development package to build roads, schools and hospitals in the Niger Delta. A government amnesty for militants later expired on 4th October 2009. Between August and October 2009, between 8,000 and 15,000 gunmen have handed in thousands of weapons and renounced violence under the Amnesty Programme according to the authorities. (IRIN, 2013).

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