The Niger Delta, the delta of the Niger River in Nigeria, is a densely populated region sometimes called the Oil Rivers because it was once a major producer of palm oil. The area was the British Oil Rivers Protectorate from 1885 until 1893, when it was expanded and became the Niger Coast Protectorate.View of the Niger Delta from space. North is on the left.
The Niger Delta, as now defined officially by the Nigerian Government, extends over about 70,000 km² and makes up 7.5% of Nigeria’s land mass. Historically and cartographically, it consists of present day Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers States. In the year 2000, however, Obansanjo's regime expanded its definition to include Abia State, Akwa Ibom State, Cross River State, Edo State, Imo State and Ondo State. Some 31 million people of more than 40 ethnic groups, speaking some 250 dialects live in the Delta; the Ijaw being in the majority. Their livelihoods are primarily based on fishing and farming.
Coincidentally, Nigeria has become Africa's biggest producer of petroleum, including many oil wells in the Oil Rivers. Some 2 million barrels a day are extracted in the Niger Delta. Since 1975, the region has accounted for more than 75% of Nigeria's export earnings. Much of the natural gas extracted in oil wells in the Delta is immediately burned, or flared, into the air at a rate of approximately 70 million m³ per day. This is equivalent to 41% of African natural gas consumption, and forms the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions on the planet. The environmental devastation associated with the industry and the lack of distribution of oil wealth have been the source and/or key aggravating factors of numerous environmental movements and inter-ethnic conflicts in the region, including recent guerilla activity by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND).
Oil revenue derivation
Oil revenue allocation has been the subject of much contention well before Nigeria gained its independence. Allocations have varied from as much as 50%, owing to the First Republic's high degree of regional autonomy, and as low as 10% during the military dictatorships.Oil revenue sharing formula Year Federal State* Local Special Projects Derivation Formula** 1958 40% 60% 0% 0% 50% 1968 80% 20% 0% 0% 10% 1977 75% 22% 3% 0% 10% 1982 55% 32.5% 10% 2.5% 10% 1989 50% 24% 15% 11% 10% 1995 48.5% 24% 20% 7.5% 13% 2001 48.5% 24% 20% 7.5% 13%
* State allocations are based on 5 criteria: equality (equal shares per state), population, social development, land mass, and revenue generation.
**The derivation formula refers to the percentage of the revenue oil producing states retain from taxes on oil and other natural resources produced in the state. World Bank Report
Recent DestabilisationMap of Nigeria numerically showing states typically considered part of the Niger Delta region: 1. Abia, 2. Akwa Ibom, 3. Bayelsa, 4. Cross River, 5. Delta, 6. Edo, 7.Imo, 8. Ondo, 9. Rivers Click to view
Activities of local indigenous people against commercial oil refineries and pipelines have destabilized the region. Recently foreign employees of Shell, the primary corporation operating in the region, were taken hostage by outraged local people. Such activities have also resulted in greater governmental concern with the area, and the mobilisation of the Nigerian army and coastguard into the region.
In April, 2006, a bomb exploded near an oil refinery in the Niger Delta region, a warning against Chinese expansion in the region. MEND stated: “We wish to warn the Chinese government and its oil companies to steer well clear of the Niger Delta. The Chinese government by investing in stolen crude places its citizens in our line of fire.”
Government and private initiatives to develop the Niger Delta region have been introduced recently. These include the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC ), a Government initiative, and the Development Initiative (DEVIN ), a community development non-governmental organization (NGO) based in Port Harcourt in the Niger Delta. Uz and Uz Transnational , a company with strong commitment to the Niger Delta, has introduced ways of developing the poor in the Niger Delta, especially in Rivers State.
The "Sweet Crude" documentary film by Director Sandy Cioffi and Producer Tammi Sims is now in post-production. Sweet Crude tells the story of Nigeria’s Niger Delta.
- Petroleum in Nigeria
- Niger Delta conflicts
- Nigerian Oil Crisis
- Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC)
- Chanomi Creek
- ^ CRS Report for Congress, Nigeria: Current Issues Updated January 30, 2008
- American Association for the Advancement of Science, Niger Delta
- Niger-Delta Development Commission, Niger Delta: A Brief History
- Environmental Rights Action
- Climate Justice Programme and Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria, Gas Flaring in Nigeria: A Human Rights, Environmental and Economic Monstrosity, June 2005.
- UNDP Niger Delta Human Development Report
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The <a href="../../../../articles/s/w/e/Sweet_Crude_documentary_0cb6.html" title="Sweet Crude documentary">"Sweet Crude" documentary</a> film