Oil Management and Governance in Niger

Subject: Environment
Pages: 3
Words: 624
Reading time:
3 min
Study level: PhD

Brief Proposal

Many countries that are endowed with rich natural resources are often expected to have better social and economic outcomes, compared to their counterparts that do not have these resources (Kadafa 2012). This is why some of the major economies in the Middle East and Africa have better economic and social outcomes compared to their resource-deficient peers. For example, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a sprawling economic hub in the Middle East because of its rich oil resources. Angola and Norway are other countries that have a high human development index partly because of their rich abundance in oil. While the environment provides these natural resources, some of these countries have been blinded by the pursuit of profit and undertake widespread economic activities at the expense of environmental sustainability (Aniefiok & Udo 2013). Such is the case in Nigeria because the country has a vibrant oil sector that thrives on the backdrop of environmental exploits (Emoyan & Akpoborie 2008). The Niger Delta region (a little known region on the southern parts of Nigeria) has borne the brunt of this injustice because, despite being the country’s main oil producing region, its ecosystem, which supports the lives of millions of people and wildlife, has been affected by the activities of western-based oil companies operating in the area (Ordinioha & Brisibe 2013). Oil spills and gas flaring are some activities undertaken by the oil companies that have caused widespread ecological destruction in the Niger Delta region. These environmental problems partly stem from the failure to implement existing environmental laws in the western African country (Aniefiok & Udo 2013). Based on this background, my research investigates the implementation deficit in the enforcement of Nigeria’s environmental laws that have partly caused its environmental problems. In particular, the proposed study considers the concept of “political modernization” which is the new policy instrument that has highlighted the need for a closer cooperation between state and civil actors to solve some of the pressing environmental problems in the Niger Delta. The research aim of the proposed study appears below.

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Research Aim

  • To investigate the Implementation Deficit in the Niger Delta: oil spills, institutional arrangements and environmental governance

The following research questions related to this aim will be answered:

  • Which institutional arrangements for oil development govern environmental management in the Niger Delta?
  • How does the implementation deficit in the Niger delta region contribute to the region’s environmental problems?
  • How do existing and new governance instruments in Nigeria affect environmental governance?

Why Undertake a Research on this Topic?

This research aims to improve our understanding of the extent of environmental destruction in the Niger Delta with the view of understanding the institutional failures that have caused the disaster in the first place. The new knowledge and insights from the research will be of value because they will highlight the institutional failures that are at the core of the environmental crisis in the Niger delta.

How the Research would be undertaken

The proposed study would be an integrated literature review that includes a review of recently published studies on environmental management. As a single document, the literature review would determine whether there are gaps in and around the existing body of thought and to point out specific gaps that inform how this research will contribute to existing research in the area of study. It would start with a broad overview of oil development in the Delta, detail its impacts on people and the environment, and then focus on the specific matters pertaining to environmental management in Nigeria. This assessment would include understanding institutional arrangements for oil development in general, the regulations and laws pertaining to oil spills, and finally the critical issue of a deficit in the implementation of the laws and regulations.


Aniefiok, E & Udo, J 2013 ‘Petroleum Exploration and Production: Past and Present Environmental Issues in the Nigeria’s Niger Delta’, American Journal of Environmental Protection, vol. 1, no. 4, pp. 78-90.

Emoyan, O & Akpoborie, A 2008, ‘The Oil and Gas Industry and the Niger Delta: Implications for the Environment’, J. Appl. Sci. Environ. Manage, vol. 12, no. 3, pp. 29 – 37.

Kadafa, A 2012, ‘Oil Exploration and Spillage in the Niger Delta of Nigeria,’ Civil and Environmental Research, vol. 2, no. 3, pp. 38-51.

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Ordinioha, B & Brisibe, S 2013, ‘The human health implications of crude oil spills in the Niger delta, Nigeria: An interpretation of published studies’, Niger Med J, vol. 54, no. 1, pp. 10–16.