Oil for nothing: multinational corporations, environmental destruction, death and impunity in the Niger Delta

Oil for nothing: multinational corporations, environmental destruction, death and impunity in the Niger Delta

Oil corporations threaten livelihoods in Niger Delta

This paper reports the findings of a US delegation to the Niger Delta to investigate the environmental and human rights record of oil corporations.

Evidence shows that the oil companies operating in Nigeriahave not only disregarded their responsibility towards theenvironment but have acted in complicity with the military’srepression of Nigerian citizens. The profit-driven collusion between multinational oil companies and the past and present Nigerian governments has cost many lives and continues to threaten the stability of the region.

The key findings of the delegation include:

  • oil corporations in the Niger Delta seriously threaten the livelihood of neighboring local communities. Large scale environmental pollution is evident in the region, fishing and farming have become impossible or extremely difficult in oil-affected areas, and even drinking water has become scarce
  • the presence of multinational oil companies has had additional adverse effects on the local economy and society, including loss of property, price inflation, prostitution, and irresponsible fathering by expatriate oil workers
  • organised protest and activism by affected communities regularly meet with military repression, sometimes ending in the loss of life. In some cases military forces have been summoned and assisted by oil companies
  • reporting on the situation is extremely difficult, due to the existence of physical and legal constraints to free passage and free circulation of information. Similar constraints discourage grassroots activism

Environmental and social justice for the people of the Niger Delta remain central issues for achieving peace in the region. As long as people’s calls for justice continue to be ignored and resisted by both multinational oil corporations and the Nigerian government, the situation in the Delta can only deteriorate.

The authors conclude that the survival of a large number of Niger Delta communities is now dependent on their ability to establishtheir entitlement to local resources.