The Paradox of Abundant Oil: The Case of the Niger Delta in Nigeria

The Paradox of Abundant Oil: The Case of the Niger Delta in Nigeria

The Paradox of Abundant Oil:
The Case of the Niger Delta in Nigeria

Sunny Onyiri

Abstract

            Nigeria, one of the most populous nations in West Africa has been in the news not because of the country's populous standing in Africa or around the world but because of issues relating to oil, violence, and other social and economic problems.  Since the discovery of oil in Nigeria in the 1950s, the country has been in constant struggle for political and economy control of this valuable resource.  The old-style domination of minority ethnic groups is about unequal political access to the central government.  However, the contemporary complaint of the ethnic minorities of the Niger Delta is about the control of the abundant natural resources found in their area.  Residents of the Niger Delta in recent times have found themselves displaced and economically poor in the midst of abundant oil.  One feature of this paradox of abundant oil in the Niger Delta is the proliferation of ethnic minority organizations in the area.  This particular feature in the struggle of residents of the Niger Delta has resulted in anti-economic activities, such as destruction of private and public property and loss of lives.  They have justified these violent activities on the apparent lack of social responsibilities by multinational oil firms.

Methodology

            The case study approach has been chosen for this paper.  This method of qualitative research is considered to be suitable because it enables the researcher to explore issues from  multiple sources of information, including personal experience, case studies, observations, interviews, published documents, and other publicly available information.  However, there can be issues associated with this type of research method.  The selection of many cases for study may affect the depth of analysis for each individual case selected.  Relying on secondary sources may sometimes affect research validity because some of the information may no longer be current.  However, because this is a small scale research the use of the case method is considered the most convenient and effective because it covers the scope of the information needed in a clear and successful manner.

Brief History of Nigeria

            Nigeria is located in western Africa on the Gulf of Guinea and has a total area of 923,768 square km (356,669 square miles).  The country is about the size of California, Nevada, and Arizona combined.1  Prior to British colonial rule in what is now known as the Federal Republic of Nigeria, there existed at various times several sovereign states known as emirates, kingdoms and empires made up of the ethnic groups in Nigeria.  Each was independent of the other and adopted various governance systems conducive to indigenes.   At one time or another, these sovereign states were either fighting wars with one another or making alliances on equal terms.  British colonial rule commenced with the cession of Lagos to the British monarch in 1861 after the Treaty Cession entered into on August 6, 1861.  King Dosumu of Lagos and his chiefs ceded to the British crown the port and island of Lagos.  In "January 1886, by virtue of Letter of Patent, Lagos became a separate colony."2  Twenty years later, following another Letter of Patent dated February 28, 1906, the colony of Lagos, on May 1, 1906, was merged with the Protectorate of Southern Nigeria to form The Colony and Protectorate of Southern Nigeria.3  At about the same time some British firms had established trading ports around the Niger River and subsequently extended their operations from the middle of the Niger valley into what is now known as Northern Nigeria.  The companies later merged and formed a company known as Royal Niger Company, which was granted a charter by the British monarch not only to trade but also to administer the area from the middle of the Niger valley to present-day Northern Nigeria.  On the revocation of the charter of the Royal Niger Company on December 31, 1899, the area under its sphere of administration was renamed Protectorate of Northern Nigeria.4

            In the early 1900s, the remaining part of the present- day Nigeria that did not form part of the Protectorate of Northern Nigeria was added to the Niger Coast Protectorate, which had earlier been established for the communities of the Niger Delta, to form the Protectorate of Southern Nigeria.5  At that time British colonial rule provided the central authority that bound together all the separate states, empires and kingdoms that were dotted all over the land mass now known as Nigeria.

            In early 1914, the Protectorate of Northern Nigeria was merged with the Colony and Protectorate of Southern Nigeria to form the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria.  The emerged colony and protectorate now called Nigeria, gained independence from British colonial rule in October 1960.  Today, it is known as the Federal Republic of Nigeria, having become a republic in 1963.6  In 1961, Southern Cameroon opted to join the Republic of Cameroon while northern Cameroon chose to remain in Nigeria.  This situation created an imbalance in the newly amalgamated country.  The northern part of the country was now far larger than the southern part.  This created several political problems such as power sharing at the federal level and resource allocation.  These disagreements eventually led to the Nigerian civil war that lasted from 1967 to early 1970.7  Since the end of the civil war in 1970, there have been several attempts to run the country democratically.  "Nigeria is currently experiencing its longest period of civilian rule since independence.  The general elections of April 2007 marked the first civilian-to- civilian transfer of power in the country's history."8  Today, the country continues to experience religious and ethnic unrest.  The majority of the ethnic unrest in the southern part of the country is occurring in the delta region.9

Brief History of Oil Exploration in Nigeria

            Interest in Nigerian oil originated in 1914 with an ordinance making any oil and mineral under Nigerian soil legal property of the Crown.  By 1938 the colonial government had granted the state-sponsored company, Shell (then known as Shell D'Arcy) monopoly over exploration of all minerals and petroleum throughout the entire colony.  Commercially viable oil was discovered by Shell roughly 90 km west of the soon-to-be oil capital of Port Harcourt at Oloibiri (now in Bayelsa State) in 1956.10  Initially, a 50-50 profit sharing system was implemented between the company and the government.  Until the late 1950s concessions on production and exploration continued to be the exclusive domain of the company, then known as Shell-British Petroleum.  However, other firms became interested and by the early 1960s, Mobil, Texaco, Gulf and other multinational oil firms had purchased concessions.11  Despite oil's prominent role in national affairs, in the 1960s the Nigerian federal government had only limited involvement in the oil industry, and the government confined its financial involvement in the oil industry to taxes and royalties on the oil companies.  The companies were subsequently able to set their own price on the petroleum they extracted, and dominated petroleum to such a point that laws governing the oil sector were having a negative effect on Nigerian interests.  However, during the Nigeria's civil way, the military government instituted the 1969 Petroleum Decree which dismantled the existing revenue allocation system that had divided revenue from oil taxes equally between federal and state government, favoring instead an allocation formula in which the federal government controlled the dispensation of revenue to the states.

            In 1971 the Nigerian federal government, then under the control of the military, nationalized oil companies by creating the Nigerian National Oil Corporation (NNOC) via a decree.  Following the civil war, the government felt it necessary to secure and gain  more  control  over  the oil industry.  Nationalization of the oil sector was also precipitated by Nigeria's desire to join OPEC, which required that member states acquire 51% stake and become increasingly involved in the oil sector.  The creation of NNOC made government participation in the industry legally binding.  The federal government would continue to consolidate its oil involvement throughout the next several decades.

            As of 2000, oil and gas exports accounted for more than 98% of export earnings and about 83% of federal government revenue, as well as generating more than 40% of its GDP.  It also provides 95% of foreign exchange earnings, and about 65% of government budgetary revenues.  Nigeria's proven oil reserves are estimated by the United States Energy Information Administration (EIA) at between 16 and 22 billion barrels.12  Its reserves make Nigeria the tenth most petroleum-rich nation, and by far the most affluent in Africa.13  In mid-2001 its crude oil production was averaging around 2.2 million barrels per day.  Nearly all of the country's primary reserves are concentrated in and around the delta of the Niger River, but off-shore rigs are also prominent in the well-endowed coastal region.  More recently, production has been forced to a halt intermittently by the demands and actions of the Niger Delta's inhabitants who feel they are being exploited.  Extraction and drilling of petroleum in Nigeria is the largest industry and main generator of GDP in the West Africa nation.  Since the British discovered oil in the Niger Delta in the late 1950s, the oil industry has been marred by political and economic strife largely due to a long history of corrupt military regimes and complicity of multinational firms, notably Shell Oil.

            Nigeria has 159 total oil fields and 1481 wells in operation according to the Ministry of Petroleum.14  The most productive region of the nation is the coastal Niger Delta Basin in the Niger Delta or "south-south" region which encompasses 78 of the 159 oil fields.  Most of Nigeria's oil fields are small and scattered, and as of 1990, these small unproductive fields accounted for 62.1% of all Nigerian production.  This contrasts with the sixteen largest fields which produced 37.9% of Nigeria's petroleum at that time.15  As a result of the numerous small fields an extensive and well-developed pipeline network has been engineered to transport the crude.  Also due to the lack of highly productive fields, money from the jointly operated (with the federal government) companies is constantly directed towards petroleum exploration and production.  Much of Nigeria's petroleum is classified as "light" or "sweet," meaning the oil is largely free of sulphur.  Nigeria is the largest producer of sweet oil in OPEC. This sweet oil is similar in constitution to petroleum extracted from North Sea.  Names of other Nigerian crudes, all of which are named according to export terminal, are Qua Ibo, Escravos blend, Brass River, Forcados, and Pennington Anfan.  In terms of exportation, the U.S. remains Nigeria's largest customer for crude oil, accounting for 40% of the country's total oil exports; Nigeria provides about 11% of U.S. oil imports.16

            Nigeria, after nearly four decades of oil production, had by the early 1990s become almost completely dependent on petroleum extraction economically, generating 25% of its GDP (this have since risen to 40%).  Despite the vast wealth created by petroleum, the benefits have been slow to trickle down to the majority of the population, who since the 1960s has increasingly abandoned traditional agricultural production such as cocoa and groundnuts (peanuts).17  Despite the availability of this valuable natural resource (oil), the majority of the people living in Nigeria remain poor and can barely afford most basic necessities, including shelter, food, and clothing.  This situation is worst in the Niger delta region where the "lack gold" is produced.18  Unfortunately, the Niger delta states and the far north have become poorer since the 1960s.19

            Under normal circumstances, the Niger delta region would  be placed high in the list of rich communities.  However, it has been a good example of the paradox of plentiful oil and poverty among oil producing communities in Africa.20

Profile of the Niger Delta of Nigeria


Retrieved from U.S. Institute of Peace website21

            The Niger Delta is comprised of 43,000 miles of wetland formed primarily by sediment deposition.  It makes up about 7.5% of Nigeria's total land mass and is the largest wetland in all of Africa.  The delta's environment can be broken down into four ecological zones: coastal barrier islands, mangrove swamp forests, freshwater swamps, and lowland rain forests.  This ecosystem contains a high concentration of biodiversity.  The region, if left undisturbed can support abundant flora and fauna.  It has arable terrain that can sustain a wide variety of crops, and economic trees (lumber), and more species of freshwater fish than any ecosystem in West Africa.

            The delta of Nigeria is a densely populated region, estimated to have a population of about 30 million.  It accounts for more than 23% of Nigeria's total population.  The population density in the delta is among the highest in the world with 265 people per square kilometer.  The region is also known as Oil Rivers, because it was once a major producer of palm oil, and was the British Oil Rivers Protectorate from 1885 until 1893, when it was expanded and became the Niger Coastal Protectorate.  Historically, the Niger Delta consists of present day Bayelsa, Delta, and River states.  In the year 2000, however, the Nigerian government redefined the Niger delta region to include Abia, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Edo, Imo, and Ondo states.  Some 31 million people of more than forty ethnic groups, speaking some 250 dialects, live in the delta, including the Ijaw and Igbo people.22

Paradox of Abundant Oil in the Niger Delta

            “Visions of prosperity rose with the same force as the oil that first gushed from the Niger Delta's mash ground in 1956.  The world market craved Delta crude, a 'sweet', low-sulfur liquid called Bonny Light, easily refined into gasoline and diesel.  By mid 1970s, Nigeria had joined Organization OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries), and the government's budget budged with petrodollars."23

            It was not until the oil boom of the 1970s that the political economy of petroleum in Nigeria truly became characterized by endemic patronage and corruption by the political elites which plagues the nation to this day.  At both state and federal government levels, power and therefore wealth has typically been monopolized by select interest groups who maintain a strong tendency to "look after their own" by financially rewarding their political supporters.  At the state or community level this means that interest groups in power will reward and protect their own.  This type of reward is generally based on ethnic/tribal or religious affiliation of the interest group.  The heavy patronage based on tribal affiliation has fueled ethnic unrest and violence throughout Nigeria, but particularly in the delta states, where the stakes for control of immense oil resources are very high.  At the federal level, political elites have utilized patronage to consolidate power for the ruling government, not only by rewarding their political friends in the federal government, but also by paying off major interest groups at the state or tribal level in order to elicit their cooperation.  Inevitably these financial favors are distributed unequally and inefficiently, resulting in concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a small minority.

            Following the Nigerian National Oil Corporation's genesis, the Nigerian government persisted in garnering control over oil revenues.24  In 1972 it declared that all property not currently owned by a foreign entity is legally the property of the government, which gained jurisdiction of the sale and allocation of concessions to foreign investment.  The military regime oversaw the implementation of a number of other important milestones related to oil.  In 1974, participation in the oil industry by the federal government increased to 55 percent; in 1975, federal government ownership in the oil sector was increased to 80 percent with only 20 percent going to the states; in 1978, the federal government of Nigeria created the Land Use Act which vested control over state lands in control of military governors appointed by the federal military regime; in 1979, Section 40(3) of the Nigerian constitution25 declared all minerals, oil, natural gas, and natural resources found within the boundary of Nigeria to be legal property of the federal government of Nigeria.26

            Based on the above decrees and acts, oil revenue is shared on the basis of population, equality of states, internal revenue generation, land mass, terrain as well as population density.  The people of Niger Delta believe that sharing oil revenue with states that has unproductive land (notably those in the north) is inequitable.  It is against natural justice, equity, and common sense for the big unproductive desert land in the Northern States to get more revenue allocated to them from the federation account than the not-too-large oil land and waters of the delta states.  For example, the northern state of Kano has forty-four local government councils while a major oil-producing state like Delta state has twenty-five local government councils.  From the constitutional provision, Kano state will therefore get more revenue than Delta state, even though Kano State does not produce oil.  This inequity in revenue sharing is a threat to the people of the Niger Delta.  The Nigerian government has total control over property rights and the authority to seize any property for use by the oil companies.  The majority of every dollar that comes out of the ground in the delta goes to the government.  As a result, enormous amounts of sweet light crude that comes out of the delta has made Nigeria the second largest GDP in Sub- Saharan Africa.27  Despite the wealth flowing into the nation from oil revenues many of Nigeria's socio-economic factors are worse now than they were thirty years ago.28  According to the World Bank, most of Nigeria's oil wealth gets siphoned off by 1% of the population.29  Corruption in the government is rampant, in fact, since 1960 it is estimated that 300 to 400 billion dollars has been stolen by corrupt government officials.30

            The people of the delta states live in extreme poverty even in the face of great mineral wealth found in the waters by their homes.  While the per capital income of Nigeria is $2,200, according to Amnesty International, 70 percent of the six million people in the delta region live off less than 1$ US per day.31  For many of these people, this means finding work in a labor market which is, in many instances, hostile to the indigenes of the delta region.  Much of the labor in the past has been imported.  To a growing degree the labor force for oil companies has been coming more and more from Nigeria.  However, discrimination is rampant and for the most part the people of the delta states are discriminated against in oil field employment.32  This has lead to a situation where the men in the delta community have to search for temporary employment that pays less compared to the lucrative  pay enjoyed by oil industry workers.  Until recently, most of the villages in the delta region did not have electricity.33  Some of these villages in the Niger Delta do not have good access to schools or medical clinics and many infrastructures have deteriorated.  For many, even clean drinking water is difficult to obtain.34

            Vegetation in the Niger River delta is comprised of extensive mangrove, swamp, and rain forests.35  The large expanses of mangrove forests are estimated to cover approximately 5,000 to 8,580 square km of land.  Mangroves remain very important to the indigenous people as well as various organisms that inhabit these ecosystems.  Human impact from poor land management coupled with the constant pollution of oil has caused a significant percent of these mangrove forests to disappear.  The loss of mangrove forests is not only degrading life for plants and animals, but for humans as well.  Mangrove forests have been a major source of wood for the people of the Niger Delta.  In the midst of abundant oil, the indigenes have not only lost the benefits of the natural beauty of the environment but have remained financial poor.  The existence of these conditions and poor policy decisions regarding the allocation of oil revenue has caused continued political unrest in the region.37

Violence in the Niger Delta

            While there is no dispute as to the benefits of sitting on abundant oil reserves (the "black gold"), it should also be noted that there is a "curse" associated with its existence in the Niger Delta.  The current conflict in the Niger Delta arose in the early 1990s due to tensions between foreign oil corporations and a number of the delta's minority ethnic groups who felt they were being exploited.  Ethnic and political unrest has continued throughout the 1990s and persists to this date despite a peaceful transition to democracy in 2007.  Competition for oil wealth has fueled violence between communities and ethnic groups, and has led to the militarization of nearly the entire region by ethnic militia as well as Nigerian military and police forces.38  The late 1990s saw an increase in the number and severity of clashes between militants of the Ijaw ethnic group, the largest in the entire delta region with a population of over seven million, and those of Itsetire origin, whose number is only about 450,000.  The conflict between the two groups has been particularly intense in the major town of Warri.  While the Ijaw and the Itsekiri have lived alongside each other for centuries, the struggle for the meager share of the oil wealth has made them bitter enemies.39

            The issue of local government ward allocation has proven particular contentious, as the Ijaw feel that the way in which wards have been allocated ensures that their superior numbers in population will not be reflected in number of local governments controlled by politicians of Ijaw ethnicity.  Control of the city of Warri, the site of most recent conflicts in the region and the largest metropolitan area in Delta State, and therefore a prime source of political patronage, has been a fiercely contested prize.  In order to gain local control of oil resources, the ethnic groups have formed parties/gangs.  Among them is the Niger Delta People's Volunteer Force ((NDPVF) and other militant groups in the Niger delta region.40  These groups are constituted mostly by displaced young men from the delta region and have  attempted to control resources primarily through oil "bunkering," a process in which pipe lines are tapped and the oil extracted on to a barge.41  While oil bunkering is illegal, militants justify the activity by saying they are being exploited and have not received adequate compensation from the profitable but ecologically destructive oil industry.  Bunkered oil can be sold for profit, usually to destinations in West Africa, and to other foreign countries.  Violence between rival groups occurs mainly along the coast lines of the Niger Delta states and in villages south and southwest of the city of Port-Harcourt.42  The conflagrations generally spur violent acts against the local population, resulting in numerous deaths and widespread displacement.  Daily civilian life is continually disrupted and schools and economic activities are forced to shut down for days and sometimes weeks.43  Most recently, these groups have engaged in exploding oil and gas pipelines and taking oil company employees as hostages.44  Today, these anti- economic activities continues and have attracted the attention of the international community.45

Conclusion: Overcoming the Paradox of Abundant Oil

            The average person in the delta region lives on less than a dollar a day, even though Nigeria takes in $2.2 million a day in oil revenue. And the poor have seen little to no benefit from the spiraling price of crude.46  Based on the entrenched corrupt behavior of government officials at the federal and state level, overcoming the paradox of abundant oil in the Niger Delta states and their economic condition will not be easy.  This will require not only the understanding of the  international  communities but also a pro movement toward constitutional amendment that will repeal the Land Use Act.  It will require "overcoming the paradox of poverty in the midst of plenty depends, to a large part, on the ability of engaged, informed and capable civil society groups using political space to hold their own governments and other actors accountable."47  This condition can be met, however, only under a condition of a mature democracy and civility.  It is the author's belief that Nigeria's natural resources (oil in particular) are sufficient to satisfy the needs of every Nigerian and more especially, the natural owners of these resources.

            Satisfaction of human basic needs is central to the removal of poverty in the midst of plenty.  Kofi Annan, in his annual report on the work of the United Nations in 1998, observes that the rights-based approach to development describes situations not simply in terms of human needs or of developmental requirements but in terms of society's obligation to respond to the inalienable rights of individuals.48  Among the most immediate benefits of a human rights approach to development is to help overcome discriminatory policies on gender or ethnic grounds.  The United Nations Declaration on the Rights to Development recognizes that the human person is the central subject of the development process and that development policy should therefore make the human being the main participant and beneficiary of development.49  Thus, the human rights approach to development promotes participatory development in policymaking, project conception and implementation.  While Nigeria is signatory to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights to Development, the Nigerian government has not embrace it fully in its development efforts.

            The Niger Delta Development Commission is a Federal Government agency established by Nigerian president, Olusegun Obasanjo in 2000 with the sole mandate of developing the oil-rich Niger delta region.  The NDDC operates under the mandate of improving social and environmental conditions in the South-South region, which it acknowledges as horrific in its own reports.  However, the organization has come under scrutiny and according to some is generally regarded as a vehicle of corruption and vandalism.  To achieve its mandate, the NDDC board identified the following areas of focus: Development of social and physical infrastructure; technology; economic revival and prosperity; ecological/environmental remediation; and stability of human development.  These mandates appear to be more on paper than in practice.  The minorities of the Niger Delta have continued to agitate and articulate demands for greater autonomy and control of the area's petroleum resources. Their grievances are justified by the extensive environmental degradation and pollution from oil activities since the late 1950s.  However, the minority communities of oil producing areas have received little or no currency from the multi-billion dollar a year industry which lines the pockets of foreign multinationals and corrupt government officials.  Environmental remediation measures are limited and negligible.  The region is highly underdeveloped and continues to remain poor even by Nigeria's low standard of living.  While the residents of the region are ultimately responsible for developing and solving the economic problems of the Niger Delta, I believe the oil companies operating in the region have a duty of making sure that Niger Delta remains a socially and economically viable community.  While  oil companies continue to enjoy the financial windfalls of Niger delta oil, have they been good corporate citizens of the Niger delta region?  Should they be held responsible for the social and economic degradations of the Niger delta communities?50  What are the oil firms' social responsibilities to the communities of the Niger Delta?  These are good questions that need to be addressed as the quest to overcoming the paradox of abundant oil in the Niger Delta of Nigeria continues.

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Endnotes

1 United States Department of State, "Profile of Nigeria" (2009), www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/2836,   January 8, 2009.

2 People's Constitution, "Constitutional History of Nigeria" (2009), www.peoplesconstitutionng.org/constitutional_history_of_nigeria, January 8, 2009.

3 Ibid.

4 Ibid.

5 Nationmaster: "Niger Delta," www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/Niger-Delta, December 3, 2008.

6 People's Constitution, loc. cit.

7 Major Abubakar, A. Atofarati. African Web Master: "The Nigerian Civil War, Causes, Strategies, and Lessons Learnt" (1992) http://www.africamasterweb.com/BiafranWarCauses, December 3, 2008.

8 Central Intelligence Agency: "World Factbook: Nigeria," www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ni, December 3, 2008.

9 Nicole Lancia, "Ethnic Politics in Nigeria: The Realities of Regionalism," Capital Scholar 2008, www12.georgetown.edu/students/organizations/nscs/capitalscholar/lancia2, January 8, 2009.

10 Mbendi: "Crude Petroleum and Natural Gas Extraction" (2008), www.mbendi.com/indy/oilg/ogus/af/ng/p0005, December 10, 2008.

11 Ibid.

12 United States Energy Information Administration, "Nigeria Country Analysis Brief," http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/country/country_energy_data.cfm?fips=NI, December 10, 2008.

13 Ibid.

14 Resources Environmental Resources Managers Ltd, Niger Delta Environmental Survey Final Report Phase I, Volume I: Environmental and Socio- Economic Characteristics of the Niger Delta, 1997.

15 Khan, Sarah Ahmad, Nigeria: Political Economy of Oil (England: Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, 1994).

16 United States Department of State: "Profile of Nigeria," www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/2836, February 5, 2009.

17 United Nations University: "Commercial and Export Agriculture" (1990), www.unu.edu/unupress/unupbooks/uu28ae/uu28ae0e, December 5, 2008.

18 Tom O‘Neill, "Curse of the Black Gold: Hope and Betrayal on the Niger Delta." National Geographic Online, ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2007/02/nigerian-oil/oneill-text, February 2007.

19 Michael Watts, State, Oil and Agriculture in Nigeria (Berkeley: University of California Institute of International Studies, 1987).

20 Nordic African Institute, "Violent Conflict in the Niger Delta" (2008), www.nai.uu.se/events/conferences/niger-delta/index, January 5, 2008.

21 Barina Bekoe, Strategy for Peace in the Niger Delta (Washington DC: The Institute of Peace 2005), online at: www.usip.org/pubs/usipeace_briefings/2005/1219_nigerdelta, December 5, 2008.

22 Nationmaster, loc. cit.

23 O'Neill, loc.cit.

24 Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation: "Oil and Gas in Nigeria," www.nnpcgroup.com, November 20, 2008.

25 The Nigeria Congress Online: "The Constitution of Nigeria," www.nigeriacongress.org/resources/constitution/nig_const_60.pdf, December 10, 2008.

26 International Centre for Nigerian Law, "1999 Nigeria Constitution," www.nigeria-law.org/ConstitutionOfTheFederalRepublicOfNigeria, November 10, 2008.

27 R. Boele, H. Fabig, and D. Weeler, "Shell, Nigeria and the Ogoni: A Study in Unsustainable Development," Sustainable  Development 9:74-86, 2001.

28 Phil Carter, "United States and International Cooperation in the Niger  River  Delta," (2007) www.state.gov/p/af/rls/rm/82010, November 8, 2008.

29 Sebastian Junger, "Blood Oil," (February 2007) www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2007/02/junger200702, December 9, 2008.

30 Ibid.

31 Amnesty International: "Nigeria: Oil, Poverty and Violence" (2006), www.amnesty.org/library/index/ENGAFR440172006?open&of=ENG-NGA, December 20, 2008.

32 Boele, loc. cit.

33 John Egan, "BBC News World Edition: Troubled Times in the Niger Delta," April 29, 1999, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programes/crossing-continents/325300.stm, February 2, 2009.

34 Junger, loc. cit.

35 Mark McGinley, "The Encyclopedia of Earth: 'Delta Swamp Forest'" (2008), www.eoearth.org/article/Niger_Delta_swamp_forests, December 15, 2008.

36 Peter C. Nwilo and T. Badejo Olusegun, "Impacts and Management of Oil Spill Pollution along the Nigerian Coastal Areas" (2007), www.fig.net/pub/figpub/pub36/chapters/chapter_8.pdf, February 2, 2008.

37 Alexa, "Nigeria-Planet.com: Oil and Nigeria" (2006), www.nigeria-planet.com/Oil-And-Nigeria2.html, February 2, 2008.

38 "An ethnic group is a group of human beings whose members identify with each other, usually on a presumed or real common heritage Ethnic identity is further marked by the recognition from others of a group's distinctiveness and the recognition of common cultural, linguistic, religious, behavioral or biological traits, real or presumed, as indicators of contrast to other groups." "Ethnic Group," Encyclopaedia Britannica (2007).

39 Junger, loc. cit.

40 Human Rights Watch: "Rivers and Blood: Guns, Oil and Power in Nigeria‘s Rivers State" (2005), www.hrw.org/legacy/backgrounder/africa/nigeria0205/index.htm, February 9, 2009.

41 Christian Science Monitor: "Deep Inside Nigeria's Violent Oil Region" (2007), www.csmonitor.com/2007/0504/p01s03-woaf.html, January 21, 2009.

42 Cable News Network: "Nigerians Want Oil on Road to Peace" (2008), www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/africa/01/13/nigeria.oil.poverty/index.ht ml#cnnSTCText, December 1, 2008.

43 Augustine Ikelegbe, "The Economy of Conflict in the Oil Rich Niger Delta Region of Nigeria," Nordic Journal of African Studies 14:208–34, n2, 2005.

44 Human Right Watch:  "Politics as War: The Human Rights Impact and Causes of Post-Election Violence in Rivers State, Nigeria" (2008), www.hrw.org/reports/2008/nigeria0308, November 27, 2008.

45 United States Institute of Peace: "Bringing Peace to the Niger Delta" (2008), www.usip.org/events/2008/0502_niger_delta.html, February 12, 2008.

46 Associate Press: "Oil Prices Rally Again, Top $72 a Barrel," April 19, 2006, www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5612507, October 19, 2008.

47 United Nations Development Program: "Niger Delta Human Development Report" (2006), hdr.undp.org/docs/reports/national/NIR_Nigeria/NIGERIA_2006_en.pdf, November 2, 2008.

48 Ibid.

49 United Nations: "Universal Declaration of Human Rights" (1948), www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/60372.htm, February 10, 2008.

50 C. O. Opukri and  Ibaba S. Ibaba, "Oil Induced Environmental Degradation and Internal Population Displacement in the Nigeria's Niger Delta," Journal of Sustainable Development in Africa 10:173-93, n1, 2008.