New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series
Edited by Francis N. Botchway
Chapter 3: Resource Exploitation and Environmental Justice: The Nigerian Experience
Rhuks Ako INTRODUCTION 1 Within the contemporary sustainable development paradigm, the exploitation of natural resources must be carried out with due consideration to environmental and social exigencies. While this may increasingly be the case in the developed world, it appears that in the developing countries, such as Nigeria, which this chapter focuses upon, socio-environmental considerations are seen as a hindrance to the potential economic benefits of resource exploitation. The chapter examines the key laws that regulate Nigeria’s oil industry, including those that implicate ownership and management of oil resources, the distribution of oil revenues, landholding, and environmental protection. It highlights how these laws have contributed to environmental injustices in the oil-rich Niger Delta region and instigated and/or exacerbated (environmental) conflicts that affect the sustainable development of the region. The chapter is divided into six sections including this introductory section. The second section presents an historical overview of the Nigerian oil industry. The third section defines environmental justice with emphasis on the African conception of the term. The fourth section examines the Nigerian oil industry’s regulatory framework within an environmental justice paradigm. The fifth section draws the link between environmental (in)justice in the Niger Delta, environmental conflicts and violence, and the sixth section concludes. 2 OVERVIEW OF THE NIGERIAN OIL INDUSTRY The history of the Nigerian oil industry dates back to 1903, when Nigeria Properties (Limited) and the Nigeria and West African Development 72 M2589 - BOTCHWAY PRINT.indd 72 21/04/2011 10:09 Resource exploitation and environmental justice 73 Syndicate (Limited)...
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