Environment pollution: The rise of militarism and terrorism in the Niger Delta of Nigeria
Oil was discovered in large quantities in Nigeria in 1956 and exploration began in the same year. Before oil, agriculture and fishing had assured the Niger Delta people of a bright future. Since 1956, oil has been extracted from the Niger Delta with destructive consequences on the environment, bringing about environmental degradation and destruction of the people’s primary means of livelihood. Land and water were badly polluted, and the health of the people affected because of leaks from oil pipelines, gas flaring and acid rains. Several petitions and non-violent protests by Delta communities, women and youth against environmental destruction failed to receive attention. Rather, opposition to peaceful protests earned the people military invasions of their communities, clampdowns and jailings. The rise of militarism and terrorism in the Niger Delta was the result of the Federal Government and Oil Companies’ clampdown on non-violent protests for environmental justice in the Niger Delta. This paper discusses the history of oil exploration in the Niger Delta, oil laws, effects of oil exploration in the region, and the rise of militants and terrorists in the area. The paper uses the term, ‘environmental Justice’ to denote unfair treatment and destruction of the Delta environment resulting from oil exploration, non implementation and enforcement of environmental laws and regulations, and abuse of human rights.
The paper suggests solutions for peace in the Niger Delta.
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