Since the 1970s Nigeria has relied on oil to provide 95% of its exports and earning, 40% of the GDP and 80% of government revenue. Despite this it had also caused extensive environmental damage to the Niger Delta environment.
Poverty, Deprivation, social conflict, occupational dislocation and ill health are all identified as being related to thr use of oil.
Families living in oil fields have to breathe in large amounts of methane daily.
Oil is flammable (of course) and 10,000 barrles of oil can be spilt across the Niger Delta in a year.
Gas flares are a visible impact where oil is being extracted.
Dirty water is common in the area and less than 20% of the area is accessible by major roads.
Fishing and traditional livestyles are disrupted by the oil industry.
Pipes burst frequently and are often broken deliberately so pirates can steal the oil.
Forest is destroyed by fires and oil companies.
Money is leaked out of the economy as much of the oil extraction is being performed by TNCs based in other countries.
Nigeria is Africa’s primary oil producer. Nearly all of the country’s oil are offshore or in the Niger Delta.
In 2005, 131 million tons of oil were produced. All but 5 million tons of this were exported. Oil makes up 90% of Nigeria’s exports.
Nigeria has the largest third longest mangrove forest in the world along the Niger Delta. The area supports 150 species of fish. 60% of West Africa’s fish sticks spawn in swamps.
Economic development and the specific impact of the oil and gas industries have caused widespread environmental damage.
Over 4000 oil spills gave been recorded since 1958.
In 2006, the WWF described the Niger Delta as one of the top 5 polluted places. In total, 500 million tons of crude oil have been lost to spillages at a cost of $10 million a day.
Current conflicts in the Niger Delta started in the 1990s because of tensions between foreign oil companied and a number of ethnic minority groups who are being exploited. Unrest has continued since, even with a change in government in 1999. Competition for oil has also spawned violence between ethnic groups and vast militarisation through the area.