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Product Code: 00005761

No of Pages: 107

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This study was conducted in Ogoniland in River State South-South oil and gas rich region of Nigeria and one of the thirty-six States. The study assessed the impact of oil exploration in Ogoni communities’ of Rivers state. The study made use of variables identified in the received literature as it relates to the empowerment of rural development in River State. Oil exploration in Nigeria has evolved through a long standing history. However, they have left trail of woes in their path with so much damage to the ecosystem and problems to human life in the exploration region. Data employed for this study were obtained from primary source. The primary data were collected through a well-structured questionnaire that was administered to 300 randomly selected respondents from the Ogoni Kingdom. The result of the analysis reveals that the oil exploitation activities have indeed devastated the fundamental bases for the development of the Niger Delta region. Corruption hugely funded by oil has damaged the culture of hard work and in general the work ethics of many of the people in the region. The study recommends that Government and MNOCs should always take steps to enhance, resuscitate and improve on the environmental degradation challenges of the people of the Niger Delta.



Title page

Approval page




Table of contents




1.1    Background to the study

1.2    Problem Statement

1.3    Objective of the study

1.4    Research questions

1.5    Research Hypotheses

1.6    Significance of the study

1.7    Scope and limitation of the study

1.8    Definition of terms

1.9    Organization of the study




2.1    Introduction

2.2    The Effect of Oil Exploration in Ogoni

2.3    Oil and Gas Production and Externalities

2.4    Oil Production in Nigeria

2.5    Oil Exploration and Exploitation in Niger Delta

2.6    The Concept of Development

2.7    The Nigerian State and Nemesis of Oil Production

2.8  Oil Exploitation and the Force of the Multinational Oil Companies

2.9 Lack of Corporate Governance and Ethical Public/Community Relations in MNOCS and Oil Exploration

2.10 Theoretical Review

2.10.1 Dependency Theory of Development

2.10.2 Sustainable Livelihoods Theory

2.11 Empirical Review



3.1    Introduction

3.2  Research Design

3.3    Sources of Data Collection

3.4    Area of the Study

3.4    Population of the Study

3.5    Sample and Sampling Procedure

3.6    Instrument for Data Collection

3.7    Validation of the research instrument

3.8    Method of Data Analysis.




4.1    Introductions

4.2    Data analysis



5.1    Introduction

5.2    Summary

5.3    Conclusion

5.4    Recommendation







1.1   Background to the Study

The impact of oil exploration on Ogoni land has and will continue to be a sad one. It is one that has exposed the double standards of oil companies operating in Africa in comparison to how they operate in their home countries in Europe and the West. In Africa, things are different; no law applies to them. The Ogoni case is a special one; it is one that has done more than put a dent on the image of the Nigerian state where it is located; it is one whose ripple effect has been felt in Nigeria, around Africa and on the world stage. The Ogoni issue is a peculiar one; it is one that has raised the question: When is a resource a curse.

To best understand the impact of oil exploration on Ogoni land and its people, it is imperative that we understand how far the Ogoni people have come in terms of oil exploration. In 1957, Shell Struck oil in Bomu in Ogoni land. This was their second successful oil discovery after Oloibiri in Bayelsa state. Shell went on to mine oil from 96 oil wells which brought 9 oil fields on-stream in Ogoni from 1958 until late 1993 when protests by the Ogoni people against Shell caused the company to shut down its operations in Ogoniland. Although Shell operated in Ogoniland for 35 years, where they mined oil which represented a meagre 3% of their total production, in the 15 year period from 1976 to 1991, there were approximately 3,000 oil spills in Ogoniland alone, accounting for 40% of the total spills by Shell in its operation worldwide. The Ogoni issue peaked in 1995 when the leader of MOSOP, the Ogoni socio-cultural group, Ken Saro-Wiwa and Ogoni activists were executed by the military government of General Sani Abacha. The action of the military regime of Sani Abacha caused major uproar in the international community as Nigeria was suspended from the Commonwealth. Exploitation of mineral resources has assumed prime importance in several developing countries including Nigeria. Nigeria is endowed with abundant mineral resources, which have contributed immensely to the national wealth with associated socio-economic benefits. Mineral resources are an important source of wealth for a nation but before they are harnessed, they have to pass through the stages of exploration, mining and processing (Adekoya, 2003; Ajakaiye, 1985). Different types of environmental damage and hazards inevitably accompany the three stages of mineral development. It is the purpose of this study to present in a nutshell the negative effect on the environment of the activities involved in harnessing the minerals in Nigeria. An attempt will also be made to examine the possible precautions and remedies that can be applied in order to mitigate the effect of adverse environmental impact of mining activities. August 1859, Colonel Drake drilled a 70 feet well in Titusville, Pennsylvania and discovered oil. By the 1800”s a number of wells were drilled in Pennsylvania, Kentucky and California. The birth of the modern oil industry is credited to the discovery oil at Spindletop in 1901 atop a salt dome near Beaumont Texas (Knowles, 1983). Oil and natural gas are dominant fuel sources in the U.S economy it provides 62% of the nation’s energy and about 100% of its transportation fuels this is also similar for many other nations (NEPDG, 2001).Oil spillage is a global issue that has been occurring since the discovery of crude oil, which was part of the industrial revolution. In 1956, Shell British Petroleum (now Royal Dutch Shell) discovered crude oil at a village Oloibiri in Bayelsa state located within the Niger Delta of Nigeria (Onuoha, 2008; Anifowose, 2008) and commercial production began in 1958.Oil exploration and exploitation has been on-going for several decades in the state. It has had disastrous impacts on the environment in the region and has adversely affected people inhabiting that region. The Niger Delta is among the ten most important wetland and marine ecosystems in the world. The oil industry located within this region has contributed immensely to the growth and development of the country which is a fact that cannot be disputed but unsustainable oil exploration activities has rendered the Niger Delta region one of the five most severely petroleum damaged ecosystems in the world. Studies have shown that the quantity of oil spilled over 50 years was a least 9-13 million barrels, which is equivalent to 50 Exxon Valdez spills (FME, et. al. 2006). The Niger Delta consist of diverse ecosystems of mangrove swamps, fresh water swamps, rain forest and is the largest wetland in Africa but due to oil pollution the area is now characterized by contaminated streams and rivers, forest a destruction and biodiversity loss in general the area is an ecological wasteland. This affects the livelihood of the indigenous people who depend on the ecosystem services for survival. The Ogoni people are a distinct indigenous minority nationality living in an area of 1,000 square kilometers on the south eastern fringe of the Niger Delta River in what is geo-politically referred today as the South-south of Nigeria. Using an average population growth rate of 2.50 (2007 – 2010) and 831,726 population published by the National Bureau of Statistics (2006), the 2010 population of Ogoni people is estimated to be around 914,899 (Saro-Wiwa, 1995; UNPO, 2009; and World Bank, 2010). Ogoniland is made up of four local government areas (LGA) namely Eleme, Gokana, Khana, and Tai. The population of each of the LGAs is as shown in table below


Number of inhabitants by LGA (2010 estimate)



















Source: National Bureau of Statistics (2006) and World Bank (2010)

As an indigenous people, the Ogoni had a well-established social system that placed great value on their socio-economic wellbeing before the advent of British colonial rule. Living on a fertile alluvial soil and blessed with a necklace of rivers and creeks, the Ogoni people seized the opportunity of having these resources to become great fisher folks and farmers, producing not only for their own subsistence but also for their neighbours in the Niger Delta and was appropriately referred to as the ‘Food Basket of the Niger Delta’. They created a system of agriculture; their traditional means of livelihood ensured the sustainable management and sustainable exploration of natural resources. Socio-culturally, the Ogoni people live in closely knit communities. The Ogoni region of Rivers State suffers the dilapidating effects of crude oil pollution which has destroyed most farmlands and reduced the amount of crop yield. It is averred that these spills create unsatisfactory conditions for plants growth due to insufficient aeration of the soil and the increase in the concentration of heavy metals as these oil penetrates the pore spaces on soil following any spill (Oyem, 2013). Most of the Ogoni soil where these spills occur suffers from loss of soil fertility through loss of soil organic matter, leaching of nutrients, loss of the nutrient – laden topsoil, changes in soil – pH, reduction in caution exchange capacity, Stalinization, water logging and other forms of soil degradation are major problems associated with agricultural productivity on the Ogoni soil. Soil fertility loss and declining crop yield among others are found to be indirect source of pressure on natural resources and community structure especially among the Ogoni rural poor (Pyagbara, 2007). Jike (1987), argued rather trenchantly that although oil companies have contributed minimally to the country development. In Gokana, oil spills have posed a major threat to the environment, which has led to total annihilation of the ecosystem. Thus life in this area is becoming increasingly unbearable due to the ugly effects of oil spill (Oyem, 2001). Oil spillages have rendered vast stretches of indigenous farmlands useless.


1.2 Problem Statement

Ogoni community, which is the focus of this study, has more than 100 oil wells and a number of flow lines, manifolds and flow stations. In addition to these production facilities, a number of oil export trunk lines pass through the community. Ogoni community and other communities in the Niger Delta area have generated massive wealth for the nation. It is nationally acknowledged, that the natural blessings (especially, crude oil and natural gas) of these communities have contributed most to the economic growth of the entire country  Since the discovery of crude oil in 1956 by Shell British Petroleum (now Royal Dutch Shell) at a village Oloibiri in Bayelsa state located within the Niger Delta of Nigeria (Onuoha, 2008; Anifowose, 2008) and commercial production began in 1958.Oil exploration and exploitation has been on-going for several decades in the Niger Delta region and in Ogoni land which has led to several environmental and health hazard to the inhabitant of the region. Exploration activities have led to the loss of farms aquatic life streams and rivers which used to be a source of livelihood to the occupant of this oil producing community. However, behind this glossy facade of financial benefits, UNEP (2007) asserts that activities related to oil exploration and productions (such as seismic survey, drilling, production and transport) have a range of environmental and social effects on Ogoni community. Pictures of some of the degraded environment are depicted in the Figures below:

A view of an illegal crude oil refinery site in the creeks of an Ogoni community in Nigeria's Niger Delta, on July 7, 2010 

An aerial view of a village on an island near an oil spill site in a creek in the Ogoni region of the Niger Delta, on July 7, 2010 

The major causes of oil spills in Ogoniland or elsewhere in the Niger Delta include blowout, pipeline corrosion, equipment failure and sabotage. Other minor causes include accidental spills, overflow of tanks, valve failure, over pressure, sand cut through erosion, and engineering error. These oil spills are believed to be having devastating effects on the socio-economic wellbeing of Ogoni community (Human Right Watch, 1999; Raji and Abejide, 2013).  It is on this note that the researcher intends to investigate the impact of oil exploration in Ogoni Community of Rivers state.


1.3   Objective of the Study

The primary objective of the study is to investigate the impact of oil exploration in Ogoni community in Rivers state. But for the purpose of the study, the researcher intends to achieve the following sub objectives

i)             To investigate the environmental effect of oil exploration in Ogoni community of River State, Nigeria.

ii)            To ascertain the health effect of oil exploration to the inhabitant of the Ogoni community

iii)          To ascertain the impact of exploration activities on the aquatic life of the area

iv)         To ascertain the role of oil exploration in promoting unemployment.

v)           To proffer possible solutions to the challenges of oil exploration and oil spillage in the study area.


1.4   Research Questions

The following research questions will aid the completion of the study:

i)             Are there environmental effects of oil exploration in Ogoni community of River State, Nigeria?

ii)           Is there any health effect of oil exploration to the inhabitant of the Ogoni community?

iii)          Does oil exploration have any impact on the aquatic life in Ogoni communities?

iv)         Do oil exploration activities have any impact on the aquatic life in Ogoni communities?

v)           Does oil exploration play any role in promoting unemployment in Ogoni land?


1.5   Research Hypotheses

To guide the investigation into some issues raised in the problem statement, it is hypothesized that;

H0:   Oil exploration has no significant environmental effect in Ogoni community of Rivers state, Nigeria

H1:  Oil exploration has a significant environmental effect in Ogoni community of Rivers state, Nigeria

H0:   Oil exploration has no negative health impact on the inhabitant of Ogoni communities

H2:   Oil exploration has a negative health impact on the inhabitant of Ogoni communities


1.6   Significance of the Study

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a regulatory requirement in Nigeria. Proper application of Environmental Impact Assessment studies will ensure that adverse impacts are minimized and positive impacts are enhanced during oil exploration activities. This study which focuses on Socio-Economic Impact Assessment (SEIA) is a major aspect of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) which identifies and evaluates the socio-economic and cultural impacts of an industrial development project on the lives and circumstances of people, their families and their communities.Crude oil which is mainly produced in the Niger Delta region contributes about 75 percent to Nigeria’s total government revenue and over 96 percent of the country’s total export earnings (CBN, 2012). It therefore, implies that cautious policies must always be in place to justify the extraction, exploitation and exploration of such natural resources from these few states. In the light of the above, it is justifiable to undertake a study that focuses on proffering policy solutions to the socio-economic effects of the activities of oil multinationals in any of the oil producing areas such as Ogoniland. The results from this research will, therefore, be resourceful for policy formulation towards sustainable socio-economic development of Ogoniland.

Moreover, the findings from this research will help policy makers working towards sustainable development in Ogoni community to be aware, in measurable terms, of the socio-economic consequences of oil exploration in the community. Thus, apart from being very useful to different units of government and her agencies, the following, though not exhaustive, will benefit from the findings of this research:

i.             Sociologists will use it as basis for informing local communities about changes in their wellbeing as they encourage the communities to participate in the decision-making;

ii.            Members of the local community, particularly the council leaders and developers, will find the research output useful in justifying proposed development projects within their community;

iii.          Political scientists will find it useful in their attempt in persuading bureaucracies to recognize and respond to concerns about socio-economic changes;

iv.          Economists and other researchers will equally appreciate the output of this research in their process of trying to identify externalities associated with any industrial development proposal and assign monetary values to such externalities for proper costing.

The findings of this research will also contribute significantly to some policy debates. These will include economic, employment, social, environment, education, health, and housing policies. In addition, the result of this research will serve a baseline study for further studies in the community.


1.7 Scope of the Study

This work focuses on the impact of oil exploration in Ogoni community of Rivers state. Though there are several communities that are affected by natural resources exploration in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, this research concentrates on Ogoni community in Rivers State. It identifies socio-economic effects associated with oil and gas exploration and oil firms’ installations within the community – how they affect households in the community as well as the role of the government and the oil companies towards providing for the associated negative externalities.

1.8   Operational Definition of Terms


Exploration is the act of searching for the purpose of discovery of information or resources. Exploration occurs in all non-sessile animal species, including humans.

Oil and gas

The American Petroleum Institute divides the petroleum industry into five sectors: upstream (exploration, development and production of crude oil or natural gas)

Petroleum industry

The petroleum industry includes the global processes of explorationextractionrefiningtransporting (often by oil tankers and pipelines), and marketing of petroleum products.


The natural environment encompasses all living and non-living things occurring naturally. The term is most often applied to the Earth or some part of Earth.

1.9 Limitations of the Study

Greater part of the challenges faced in the course of this research was during the household survey conducted in Ogoniland. Among these challenges were security constraints and access restrictions. Due to the political dimension of the community and sentiments about oil pollution problems, their political and traditional leaders would require that foreign researchers (that is, non-indigenes) consult with them before and after survey to agree on information to be made public. This could lead to biased results.

To avoid introducing such bias, the survey used in this study was conducted using local researchers under close supervision. Thus, there was no form of consultation with their political or traditional leaders pre and post the survey. However, due to non-availability or restricted access to comprehensive baseline data of Ogoni community, this research could not measure impacts of interventions (from government and oil firms) or oil exploration activities in terms of pre and post such interventions or activities.

1.10 Organization of the Study

This research work is organized in five chapters for easy understanding as follows Chapter one is concern with the introduction which consist of the (overview, of the study), statement of problem, objectives of the study, research question, significance or the study, research methodology, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study it’s based thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.  Chapter five gives summary, conclusion and recommendations made of the study.

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