Air Pollution Control Within An Industrial Environment (A Case Study Of Port Harcourt Refinery Rivers State)
The Air pollution damage function regulation employed so far in addressing environmental issues Nigeria oil and gas industry are not adequate. The researcher employed opinion survey techniques of face to face interviews, telephone interviews and questionnaires in gathering data for the study. The data were analyzed and tested with the statistical techniques of chi-square (x2 ). At the end of the tests, the following results were obtained: That the air pollution damage function regulation and implementation of the port harcourt refinery operating in Nigeria in control of air pollution, crisis and conflicts Nigeria oil and gas industry have not been effective; That the oil companies operating Nigeria oil and gas industry have not been employing adequate two way communication in relating with their host communities; That the air pollution damage function regulation employed so far by the oil companies in addressing air pollution Nigeria oil and gas industry have not been adequate; With this outcome, the researcher then proffered some suggestions and recommendations for improving the air pollution damage function regulation and implementation of port harcourt refinery operating Nigeria oil and gas industry in their relationship with the host communities.
1.1 Background to study
The Niger Delta regions of Nigeria have in recent years become a hot-bed of explosive crisis and conflicts that often leave some deaths and mindless destructions in their wake, all resulting mainly from sour relationship between the oil producing companies operating in the areas and their aggrieved host communities.
In fact, this problem was heightened and even internationalized by the late Ken Saro-Wiwa, the then leader of the movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP), who propounded what he termed “the Ogoni Bill of Rights” in which he claimed about $25 trillion as reparation from the Federal Government and the portharcourt refinery, not only for committing the “unforgivable sin” of mining oil from Ogoni-land, but for also destroying their agricultural lands and aquatic culture (Newswatch, March 5, 1996).
Meanwhile, Ken Saro-Wiwa succeeded not only in winning the ears and sympathy of the international community, including world leaders and the United Nation, but also in marketing what the Federal Government saw as a “Weird and bizarre” idea to Niger-Deltan Youths, especially in Ogoniland. These youths, we were told, were sold the line by Saro-Wiwa that if he gets the S25 trillion reparation, every man, woman, youth, children and even babies in Ogoni would receive at least $5 million or about N600 million, which would transform them automatically to instant millionaires and banish poverty forever from their lives. With this, the youths lent total unalloyed support and invested all their energies to the Ken SaroWiwa project and were prepared to move down anyone who opposes this “Messiah” that has come to save them from the economic subjugations and exploitations of the oil Companies and the Federal Government, hence, the killing of “the Ogoni 5, ”whom the Youths passed death penalties on their heads, for either harbouring or being perceived to harbour contrary views to that of Ken Sasro-Wiwa. This in turn, culminated into what some people term the “judicial murder” of Ken Saro-Wiwa and his eight other colleagues called “the Ogoni 9”, by the Abacha regime, followed by a heavy military occupation of the area.
Meanwhile, in spite of the hanging of Ken Saro-Wiwa and his colleagues, the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, has continued to be synonymous with restiveness, crisis, conflicts and problems. Fresh in our minds are the “Odi Massacre”, in which a whole community were razed down by a heavy federal military might and the Jesse fire incident arising from burst oil pipeline, in which over 1000 people were burnt to death.
On the other hand, governors of the core Niger Delta states have been calling incessantly for a “resource control” of the revenue accruable from their states, instead of the current Federal control. So, what could be done to finally bring peace to the troubled Niger Delta region of Nigeria?
It is the views of Sam Black (1989:15), that, “every conflict in life arises from either lack of communication, inadequate communication or poor communication and their solution lie in effective two-way communication between the publics or parties involved.” While Adirika et al (1987:86) also advised that a company must adequately communicate its good works, products or services to its target publics (internal and external), in order to gain their confidence and goodwill.
Other Public Relations experts and social commentators have variously given a catalogue of recipes for dousing this problem and restoring peaceful working climate in the area. For instance, port harcourt refinery’s Public Relations Manager, Enyia (2000:49) enjoined oil companies “to be sensitize to the needs of their host communities in order to operate safely and remain welcome in the oil-bearing communities – committed to continually assess environmental degradation and reduce it to a level as low as practicable”.
On his own part, the one time Corporate Affairs Manager of Chevron, Sola Omole (1999:77) advised that, “the new public relations managers in our oil companies should be issues managers, staying ahead of the emergent issues that have potentials of impacting on the fortunes of their companies.”
In her own piece, Ajala (1993) said that “to be of help to the community, an organization must know the community, that is, its people, its needs, its problems, its interests and its attitudes. It is only when community people are favourably disposed to an organization that they can cooperate with her” while Nwosu (1996:143) says that, “the Public Relations Manager in Nigerian port harcourt refinery should understand air pollution, and problems, which includes air and water pollution, environmental sanitation, oil spillage, wildlife and sea-life destruction, deforestation, marine and coastal systems management, environmental problems created by mining, drilling, which leads to the degradation or destruction of environment, depletion of its resources and endangering of the human being and other living things that exist in these environments. He should also have good knowledge of global air pollution and problems.”
Bearing all these claims in mind, the main thrust of this study is therefore, to undertake a critical evaluation of the effectiveness of public relations employed by oil companies in managing environmental problems/conflicts Nigeria oil and gas industry region, with special focus on Port harcourt refinery Development Company (port harcourt refinery) of Nigeria.
1.2 Statement Of Problem
The face-off between Port Harcourt refinery and their Host Communities in our Niger Delta region have oftentimes resulted in the stoppage of operations by the companies in those areas, bringing untold economic losses to the nation. It has also engendered a climate of hostility which makes working in the areas very unsafe for the oil workers. Again, the deliberate destruction or vandalization of oil pipe-lines in forms of protests or sabotage, have sometimes left a tale of woes, blood and lives being lost by those communities.
Therefore, continued conflicts and crisis Nigeria oil and gas industry region is an evil wind that blows no one any good. Neither the oil companies, nor their host communities nor the Federal Government gains from that. Hence, what has been the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of the public relations strategies/techniques so far employed in managing these environmental problems/conflicts in our Niger Delta region?
1.3 Objectives Of The Study
The main objective of this study is therefore to find answers to the following pertinent research questions:
- To determine how effective the air pollution damage function regulation and implementation of the Port Harcourt refinery and the Federal Government in managing environmental problems/conflicts Nigeria oil and gas industry region have been.
- =To determine if the Port Harcourt refinery and the Federal Government have employed adequate two-way communication in relating with the oil-bearing community publics.
- 3. To ascertain whether the air pollution damage function regulations so far in addressing air pollution Nigeria oil and gas industry are enough.
- 4. To find out whether qualified and competent public relations managers are being used by the port Harcourt refinery in fashioning-out and or executing those Air pollution damage function regulation .
1.4 Research Questions
The following are the research questions
- How effective are the air pollution damage function regulation and implementation of the portHarcourt refinery and the Federal Government in managing environmental problems/conflicts Nigeria oil and gas industry region?
- Have the Port Harcourt refinery and the Federal Government employed adequate two-way communication in relating with the oil-bearing community publics?
- Are the air pollution damage function regulations so far in addressing air pollution Nigeria oil and gas industry enough?
- Are qualified and competent public relations managers used by the port Harcourt refinery in fashioning-out and or executing those Air pollution damage function regulation ?.
1.5 Research Hypotheses
To find answers to the research questions posed, the following hypotheses are hereby formulated for tests by the researcher:
- The air pollution damage function regulation and implementation of the oil companies in managing environmental problems/conflicts Nigeria oil and gas industry have not been effective.
- The oil companies have not employed adequate two way communication in relating with the oil host communities.
- The air pollution damage function regulation employed so far in addressing air pollution Nigeria oil and gas industrys are not adequate and right.
1.6 Scope Of The Study
The study would be restricted in scope to Port Harcourt in Rivers state, While the Air pollutionwithin industrial environment will also be used as our case study or sample representative of other oil companies/operating in the Nigeria Delta.
1.7 Significance Of The Study
The significance and importance of this research lie in the following scores:
- It would help the government to stem the incidence of social unrests, crisis and conflicts that have come to characterize the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.
- It would also unearth some facts that could aid the government in its policy and decision-making formulation that will be mutually rewarding to all the parties involved in this conflict.
- It would help to engender a climate of peace, friendliness, goodwill and cooperation between the oil companies and their host communities.
- It would help to arrest the acts of vandalism of oil pipelines, kidnap of oil workers and general acts of violence and restiveness Nigeria oil and gas industry.
- It would help the port harcourt refinery to establish what they have wrong in the past in their Air pollution damage function regulation and implementation and how best to do it now and in future in order to earn and sustain the confidence and goodwill of their host community publics.
- It would aid the host communities to better appreciate the realities of the situation and the genuine efforts being made by the port harcourt refinery and Government to better their lots.
- It will serve as a reference material for students and practitioners of public relations and other related fields.
- It would provoke further studies on this subject matter from other students and researchers alike.
5.0 Summary Of Findings, Discussion, Conclusion And Recommendations
This chapter is devoted to a summary presentation of the findings of our study. This would be followed with an in-depth discussion on those findings and other issues raised, then some suggestion and recommendations for the way forward, and finally, the conclusion.
5.1 Summary Of Findings
After a statistical analysis and testing of the data collected and hypotheses formulated for this study, the following results were obtained:
- That the Air pollution damage function regulation and implementation of the And its suitability in the control of air pollution/crisis/conflicts Nigeria oil and gas industry have not been effective.
- That the port harcourt refinery operating Nigeria oil and gas industry have not been employing adequate two-way communication in relating with their host community Publics.
- That the relations strategies/media/techniques employed so far by the oil companies in addressing air pollution Nigeria oil and gas industry have not been adequate and right.
As clearly depicted by all the three findings of this study, the Air pollution damage function regulation and implementation of the Oil companies operating Nigeria oil and gas industry. In the context of the broad criteria of considerations in this study leaves much to be desired.
Firstly, our number one finding explicitly shows that the air pollution damage function regulation and implementation of those companies Nigeria oil and gas industrys of our country have not been effective. No wonder then, we have been having the cycle of crisis characterized by vandalisation of oil pipelines and other facilities, kidnap of oil workers, killings, arson, fire outbreaks just to mention but a few.
Secondly, we were told by our number two findings here that the oil companies operating Nigeria oil and gas industry have not been employing adequate two-way communication in relating with their host community publics.
In Public Relations practice, adequate two-way communication is considered a portentous solution to many relationship problems of man. In fact, communication is taken, not to be complete, except there is a feedback.
Hence, the attitude of communicating to the best community publics, without giving them enough avenues/opportunities to air their own views, feelings and perception on the issues at stake, could certainly be one of the factors finalling the Niger Delta crisis
Then, the number three findings tells us that neither the strategies, nor the media nor the techniques used in executing the air pollution damage function regulation and implementation Nigeria oil and gas industry are adequate or right.
For Air pollution damage function regulation and implementation to be effective, the right strategies appropriately tailored to the right issue/problem at the right time must be fashioned out or packaged. Such strategies, must as be blended with the right techniques and finally dished out to the target public through the right media, that are suitably amenable and accessible to the socio-cultural backgrounds of the target publics. If the right message is disseminated through the wrong media, the result is going to be negative.
Hence, the practice by the oil companies of mainly using opinion leaders and or traditional rulers in communicating to the publics in their host communities is not acceptable to most of those publics, especially the youths, who always accuse those opinion leaders/traditional rulers of serving their own selfish interests and not the interest of the entire community. They believe either rightly or wrongly that the oil companies “settle” those traditional rulers or opinion leaders to stand against or work against the common interest of their people. Hence, the killing of the “Ogoni 5” by aggrieved Ogoni youths.
All said and done, it is then our earnest belief that if the findings, revelations, discussions, suggestions and recommendations of this study are given due consideration, it would go a long way in arresting tensions, conflicts and crisis Nigeria oil and gas industry and restore the much desired climate of peace, friendship and cordial relationship between oil companies and their host communities there.
In view of the foregoing, we hereby proffer the following suggestions/recommendations for improving the air pollution damage function regulation and implementation of the oil companies operating Nigeria oil and gas industry:
- Effort should be geared towards fashioning out grassroots oriented air pollution damage function regulation and implementation that are tailored to the socio-cultural lives, needs and perceptions of the Niger delta people, who are mainly agrarian and riverine fishermen.
- Adequate Public relations research should be employed to clearly appreciate the needs, feelings and perceptions of host communities before dispensing social responsibility goodies to them.
- Adequate two-way communication mechanisms should be instituted between the oil companies and their host community publics.
- The right public relations communication media/techniques which are amenable and suited to the socio-cultural and traditional realities of the Niger Deltans should be employed in communicating to/with them.
- Selected enlightened people from the Niger delta areas, should be involved in packaging incentives, development projects and even communication messages to the people.
Air Pollution Control Within An Industrial Environment (A Case Study Of Port Harcourt Refinery Rivers State)
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