Environmental Law and Underdevelopment in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria
AbstractThere is no ecological zone which has been so degraded and laid waste than
the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. The bounties of nature bestowed on this
geographical area have gradually been turned into its instruments of poverty and squalor. The coastal area, mainly the Niger Delta from which much of Nigeria's petroleum is produced is composed of many ecosystems of great economic and social importance, yet the area remains grossly
underdeveloped and the people improvised. Studies have shown that the oil
producing companies contribute to the degradation of the environment which in turn exacerbates poverty and underdevelopment despite abundant body of environmental laws against such practices. This paper seeks to examine the nature of oil industry - induced environmental crisis and its attendant socioeconomic consequences in the Niger Delta. The paper argues that due to the lackadaisical attitude of government towards the enforcement of environmental laws, oil firms have taken undue advantage to perpetuate substandard environmental practices. It concludes that there is the need to reassert the enforcement of environmental laws in Nigeria in order to curb the excesses of the oil firms and reduce underdevelopment in the Niger Delta.
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