Nigeria, oil and gas exploration and the Niger delta question : a study in corporate social responsibility
This thesis addresses issues of the Niger Delta question which represents one of the most intractable sources of socio-political destabilization in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. The study is on the intricate dynamics amongst the Nigerian state, the transnational oi l corporations, the oil producing communities and the insurgent militia conflict. It investigates and explicates the "paradox of plenty" and the "resource curse", the "absentee government" and "state capture" and the debilitating effects of petroleum politics in Nigeria. The economic exploitation of the Niger Delta region's vast crude oil reserves by transnational oil corporations and government authorities is juxtaposed with the spectre of environmental degradation, human rights violations, and the recurrent rule of impunity. The protracted problems of the Niger Delta region thus, provide us with a pertinent analytical and contextual framework for the study of the dynamics and issues of transparency in other African petro-dollar states. It is argued in this study that the Niger Delta crisis is a conflict of values and fight for resources arising from decades of unacceptable standards of oil exploration and the absentee character of the Nigerian State . By its very nature, the study called for a qualitative approach, supplemented by unstructured interviews using aide memoirs with selected officials, on the basis of their innate knowledge of the subject matter. The legal comparative research method, with a historic component also played an integral role in this study. Some key findings and conclusions: 1. The study found that the Niger Delta crisis graduated from mere political agitations for state creation and provision of social amenities to extreme acts of hostage-taking and a twist of violence as a result of treating a major problem affecting the development of the Niger Delta people with levity for too long a period. 2. The study found that the on-going crisis in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria is a conflict of values and fight for resources amongst the oil-bearing people of the Niger Delta, transnational oil corporations and the Nigerian Government. 3. The study established some causal nexus between oil and poverty; oil and corruption; and, oil and human rights abuses. 4. That, the Niger Delta crude oil conflict is essentially a manifestation of state capture and inertia on the part of the Nigerian Government. 5. The study found that the Niger Delta economies are "criminalized" and are often characterized by conditions of anarchy and impunity. And this disorder is embedded in the dynamics of resource extraction, the nature and role of "shadow" state actors, as well as the interplay and patterns of relationships between organized criminal syndicates and the transnational oil corporations in the host communities. The study recommends, inter alia: I. That steps be taken by government to re-define its philosophy of national economic development from a state-driven to citizens-driven philosophy. To this end, Nigeria must seek to develop by developing its citizens, the aggregate of whose satisfactory living conditions should form the criteria for measuring national development. II . That effort must be made to steer the nation towards proper fiscal federalism. The present "food is ready" economy whereby federating units are enslaved to national "cake sharing" instead of value generation, discourages entrepreneurship and sustainable development. It promotes undue dependency on petroleum products, inequity and ethnic distrust. Ill. That Nigeria needs productive resource control, not just development in the sense of house and bridge building. What is needed is a noticeable leap in the standard of living in the Niger Delta. Thus, people and not federal accounts must be the object of improvement. IV. It is recommended that government should ensure robust, independent and co-ordinated oversight of the oil industry including its impact on human rights. V. Transnational oil corporations should undertake full corporate social responsibility and comprehensive assessment of the social and human rights impacts of all oil and gas projects, ensuring that adequate information is provided to affected individuals and communities and that the process is transparent. VI. It is strongly recommended that an Oil Pollution Liability Trust Fund should be established by the Federal Government in concert with oil companies. The fund will be made up of a percentage of tax levied on oil companies and a percentage of earnings of the Federal Government from oil. The fund should be used in ameliorating the conditions of the impacted environment and people. It is hoped that these findings and recommendations will go a long way in the quest for significant environmental and social improvements in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.
- Law