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This research work titled “Oil Multinational Corporations in Nigeria and Environmental Degradation : A Case Study of the Niger Delta Areas aims at exploring the activities of the Oil Multinationals in respect to oil explorations,exploitations and their attendant relationship with the environment, particularly in their operational areas. The work further explores the effect of governments’ instruments of law and their influence on Oil Multinationals operating in Niger Delta Area of Nigeria. The project avail itself of the use of secondary sources like dictionaries, encyclopedias, research reports published in journals, newspapers, Magazines, textbooks and some related research reviews.
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Wherever you live and whoever you are the weather affect you. If the day promises to be hot and sunny, you put on light clothes. If it is cold you reach for a coat and if it rains you grab your umbrella. At times the weather delights us and at other times it disappoints us. Occasionally, it becomes a killer in the forms of hurricanes,tornadoes, drought, blizzards, monsoons, floods or lightening. Love it or hate it, revels it or ignore it, the weather is always there, influencing our lives from the day we are born until the day we die. Many researchers have shown concerns in ecological problems facing Nigeria in its bid to achieving some industrial growths and developments. Others have dealt with the apparent environmental damages done by many manufacturing industries of the economy. But none has shown concern on the environmental degradation caused by the oil multinational corporations particularly at the Niger Delta Area of the country. An expose on the irrational methods their businesses and, most importantly, the unwillingness of the oil multinational to adhere to environment standards, adherently, poses a problem and concern in the ecosystem in the Niger Delta Areas. In fact, the unfriendly altitude of the oil multinational corporations have not helped in minimizing oil spills, deforestation, air and water pollution and the general impoverishment of the inhabitants of the Niger Delta Areas. The fact remains that the Federal Government of Nigeria has not been able to enact or promulgate functional decrees or laws through which the oil multinational corporation’s activities can be checked. This lackadaisical attitude of the federal government is also what this essay tends to reveal.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Evidence abound that oil multinational corporation operating in the Niger Delta Areas of Nigeria are degrading the environment. This state of affairs calls for a closer look at the oil multinational corporations activities with a view to exposing their contributions to environmental degradations in the Niger Delta Areas of the country. There have been loud cries from all environmentalists the world over concerning the various forms of environmental degradation through pollution of air, water and land. In recent times there have been reports of oil spill in the Niger Delta Areas of Nigeria. Land owners/occupiers have always been reacting violently to the damages done on their agricultural and hunting grounds, crops, play grounds, sacred bushes, fishing ponds/rivers and their sources of drinking water. Little do the inhabitants know about the devastating health hazard air and other forms of pollutions pose to their health, social and economic lives. Environmental issues have ceased to be the concerns of individuals and governments alone, international organizations, corporate bodies, experts etc, are now preoccupied with environmental problems. Various researches carried out by scientists and scholars have revealed that there are dangers lurking in our environment because of human activities. Many solutions have come from the many researchers. To enforce the solutions and suggestions requires great commitments by every individual, government, international organization, company, body of experts etc. In this regard, many have actually shown genuine concerns while others have remained passive. This study is therefore a conscious attempt towards re-awakening the conscience of all participants to environmental degradation to exert some efforts towards ameliorating the environmental problem already created since this is the only sure way of maintaining the future survival of human race. Consequently, the questions that readily come to mind and which yearn for answers are:
1. Is there any relationship between the activities of the oil multinational corporations in the Niger Delta and environmental degradation?
2. Are the activities of the oil multinational corporations in the Niger Delta Areas guided by the internationally acceptable guidelines for oil exploration and exploitation?
3. Is there a link between oil exploration, exploitation and civil disturbances in the Niger Delta Area?
4. Does the inability of the Federal Government to promulgate functional decree/laws guiding the activities of the oil multinational corporations contribute to environmental degradations in the Niger Delta Areas?
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The broad objective of this essay is to ascertain the extent to which the oil multinational corporations are complying with environmental standards. While the specific objectives of the study include:
1. To determine the extent to which the oil multinational corporations activities constitute environmental degradations in the Niger Delta Areas of Nigeria.
2. To determine the relationship between the oil multinational corporations non compliance to the internationally acceptable guideline and environmental degradations in the Niger Delta Areas of Nigeria. 3. To determine the link between oil exploration, exploitation and civil disturbances in the Niger Delta Areas of Nigeria.
4. To find out whether inability of the Federal Government of Nigeria to promulgate functional decrees/laws to check the activities of the oil multinational corporations contribute to environment degradations in the Niger Delta Areas.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study is quite significant because it exposes either the genuine or passive postures of the oil multinational corporations operating in the Niger Delta Areas in respect to environmental sanitation or degradation. Bearing in mind that there are regulations/ standards for laying of oil pipelines, road construction to oil locations and flow-stations, oil well sizes, clearing of rig sites, dumping of wastes/mud, gas flaring and handling of oil spills. The study therefore becomes a veritable tool for corporate planners, environmentalists. social workers, policy and law-makers, governments, individuals and non-governmental organizations associated with environmental issues. It also becomes a yardstick through which the oil multinational corporations operating in the Niger Delta Areas of Nigeria would measure their involvement in environmental degradation in the region.
1.5 RESEARCH PROPOSITIONS
1. There is a positive relationship between oil multinational corporations’ activities and environmental degradation in the Niger Delta Areas. 2. The activities of oil multinational corporations are not guided by the internationally acceptable guideline for oil exploration and exploitation in the Niger Delta Areas. 3. There is positive link between oil exploration, exploitation and civil disturbances in the Niger Delta Areas of Nigeria. 4. The inability of the Federal Government of Nigeria to promulgate functional decrees/law to regulate the activities of the oil multinational corporation is a consequences to environmental degradations in the Niger Delta Areas
1.6 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
Since social sciences deal with the study of human behaviors in the society the method of research is always dictated by the nature of the problem being considered and the availability of the tools of research. The topic of this study creates room for the use of secondary sources of data collection. Facts shall be extracted from dictionaries, encyclopedias, research reports published in journals, magazines, newspapers, textbooks and other research reviews. The researcher’s personal observation also played tremendous roles in the research work since visits were paid to some oil locations/fields in order to get first hand observations in what obtains in the areas. In paying visits to the affected communities talks were held with some community heads, youth leaders and some rural women who are worst hit by the activities of the oil multinational corporations in the Niger Delta areas of Nigeria.
1.7 DEFINITION OF CONCEPTS
The following are the operational definition of the terms/ concepts used in this research work: Oil– This is considered in relation with petroleum (crude oil) which is a generic name for certain combustible hydro-carbon compounds found in the earth. Petroleum means mineral oil or natural gas that exists in its natural state.
OIL MULTINATIONAL CORPORATIONS (OMNCs) These are non-political organizations which exist primarily to make profits for share holders and to expand their market. They have subsidiaries operating in various countries and a good percentage of their professional work force is from abroad.
ENVIRONMENT: The whole of the natural world inhabited by living organisms, especially considered as vulnerable to pollution, damage etc.
DEGRADATION: Act of debasement, reduction or lowering of quality.
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