Environmental Integrity In Nigeria And Challenge Of Crude Oil Theft

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Environmental Integrity In Nigeria And Challenge Of Crude Oil Theft


The issue of environmental degradation as a result of crude oil theft is fast becoming an intractable problem in Nigeria, the international energy agency reported that Nigeria was losing about $7 billion annually to oil theft; crude oil theft has led to pipeline damages causing oil firms to cut output and environmental degradation through oil spillage. The Federal Government has enacted plethora of laws and regulations in combating the menace of crude oil theft.

This study frown at the efficacy of the Nigeria laws and regulations, the challenges of crude oil theft, the endemic consequences of oil spillage in the Niger Delta environment, the economic effect of crude oil theft and the lack of sincerity of purposes of the Nigeria government in tackling crude oil theft. This study recommends appropriate measures such as adequate enforcement of the existing laws and further concludes that crude oil theft is an act of terrorism against the Nigerian economy

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

In an attempt to understand the meaning of the phrase environmental integrity, this study, shall attempt to separate the phrase to enable it arrive at a definition. While the phrase environmental concerns with the environment; connected with the natural conditions in which people, animals and plant lives. The term integrity connotes uprightness, honesty, purity entireness, wholeness; the unimpaired state of anything. Â Given the above meanings to the phrase, it follows that environmental integrity is the retainment of the pure state, the unimpaired state of the natural conditions in which people, animals and plant live in all human endeavors.

Environmental integrity has also been defined as the sustenance of important biophysical processes which support plant and animal life and which must be allowed to continue without significant change.The objective is to assure the continued health of essential life support systems of nature, including air, water, and soil by protecting the resistance, diversity and purity of natural communities (ecosystems) within the environment.

Strict sense, environmental integrity paints a picture of an environment void of all forms of pollution from all polluting sources, which are basically the making of human activities in its quest for survival ranging from pollution from industries, homes, etc. This means that human survival and development cannot exist without pollution and because this state is unattainable, i.e. (humans cannot just still and await death) the concept of environmental integrity will now mean an effort by humans to maintain a sustainability of environmental resources of the environment in all aspects of its activities through its conducts, applicability of its working tools and through regulations applied in such a way as to improve all the components of the environment and not to degrade same. Flowing from the above definition of what environmental integrity connotes, the question that arises is what is the state of environment in Nigeria? How Environmental integrity maintained in Nigeria?  In the quest for economic development, Nigeria veered in industrialization at independence.

The first decade (1960 – 1970) of Nigeria’s independence witnessed government plan to promote growth of industries in order to contribute directly to economic growth and national development. In the 1970’s two of the most applauded goals of the national development plans were:

Increase in self-reliance in the supply of industrial products and factor inputs, Develop and support small and medium scale industries and their contribution to manufacturing.

In the new millennium, the thrust is privatization and commercialization, employment generation and poverty eradication.

Overall, government pursues national economic development through growth of industries through continuous research in science and technology, development of new product, high quality standard in industrial goods and services, ability to produce building capacity to successfully face challenges of competition and increase in taste.
As successive Nigerian governments also established and invested in industries, so industrial economic development also assaulted and degraded the Nigerian environment.

The government focused on maximum exploitation of natural resources for rapid economic development with scant regard for resource conservation and sustainability. Environmental and social consequences of envisaged projects were ignored. Industrial activities, usually carried out in Nigeria with weak legal framework and regulation infrastructure, led to pollution of water resources, destruction of fauna and flora, health hazards and deterioration of health quality, air and noise pollution, as well as destruction of traditional economic infrastructures within communities tasking some of these high powered investments.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Since the discovery of oil in Oloibiri a village in the Niger Delta by the Shell British Petroleum in 1956, the Nigerian economy has not only boosted financially but also have suffered the negative impact of oil activities going on in the territory. The Niger Delta region is blessed with 606 oil fields of which 360 are on shore and 246 off shore. The oil industry in Nigeria contributes a good percentage of Nigeria’s economy earnings; however it has also become a source of loss in the Nigerian economy budget. This is associated with the oil spills from the oil exploitation, and a more reoccurring and disturbing issue, is the activities of the oil thieves. It is against this backdrop that the researcher intend to investigate the effect of environmental integrity and crude oil theft in Nigeria.

1.3 Objective of the Study

The main objective of the study is to investigate the impact of environmental integrity in Nigeria and the challenge of crude oil theft, but to aid the completion of the study, the researcher intends to achieve the following specific objectives:

  1. To investigate the impact of environmental degradation on the growth of Nigeria economy
  2. To investigate the effect of oil theft on the growth of Nigerian economy
  3. To ascertain if there is any relationship between environmental degradation and crude oil theft in Nigeria
  4. To ascertain if there is any relationship between crude oil theft and economic growth in Nigeria

1.4 Research Hypotheses

The following research hypotheses was formulated by the researcher to aid the completion of the study

  1. H0: environmental degradation has no impact on the growth of Nigerian economy
    H1: environmental degradation has impact on the growth of Nigerian economy
  2. H02: there is no significant relationship between environmental degradation and crude oil theft in Nigeria.
    H2: there is a significant relationship between environmental degradation and crude oil theft in Nigeria.

1.5 Significance of the Study

It is believed that at the completion of the study, the findings will be of great importance to the federal ministry of environment and their respective state counterpart as the study seek to enumerate the dangers of environmental degradation and oil theft in Nigeria, the study will also be of importance to the respective oil exploration company, as the findings will point them to a direction of cutting their loss through effective corporate social responsibility to their host community. The study will also be of great importance to researchers who intends to embark on similar study as the study will serve as a reference point for further studies. The findings will also be useful to researcher, academia’s and the general public as the findings will add to the pool of literature already available on the subject matter

1.6 Scope and Limitation of the Study

The scope of the study covers environmental integrity in Nigeria and challenges of crude oil theft. But in the cause of the study, there were some factors which limited the scope of the study

a) Availability of Research Material:

The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study

b) Time:

The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.

c) Organizational Privacy:

Limited Access to the selected auditing firm makes it difficult to get all the necessary and required information concerning the activities.

1.7 Definition of Terms

Environmental integrity

The Environmental Integrity Project is a Washington, D.C.-based environmental nonprofit organization that advocates for more effective enforcement of environmental laws.

Crude oil

Petroleum is a naturally occurring, yellow-to-black liquid found in geological formations beneath the Earth’s surface. It is commonly refined into various types of fuels

Crude oil theft

Environmental degradation is the deterioration of the environment through depletion of resources such as air, water and soil; the destruction of ecosystems; habitat destruction; the extinction of wildlife; and pollution.

1.8 Organization of the Study

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows

  1. Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study.
  2. Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature.
  3. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study.
  4. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.
  5. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Introduction

It is important to ascertain that the objective of this study was on environmental integrity in Nigeria and challenges of crude oil theft.

In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given. In this chapter, certain recommendations made which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefits in addressing the challenges of crude oil theft and environmental integrity in Nigeria.

5.2 Summary

Attempt has been made to examine the phenomenon of oil thefts, illegal bunkering and pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta region with a view to situating its causes, impacts and implications vis-a-vis Nigeria‘s economy, regional and National Security and environmental integrity. The increase of oil theft, vandalism and illegal bunkering in the Niger Delta region is an act of economic threat against Nigerian state; it undermines development strategies and springs social disorder. These cause serious economic, security and environmental challenges to the Nigerian state. The work observed that vandalism and illegal bunkering has resulted in economic recession by the Nigerian state and oil companies, environmental degradation, insecurity in the Niger Delta region and threat to national and regional security. The work also explored the efforts of successive Nigerian governments to curb the problems and posited that success has not been achieved due to the enthroned corruption by Nigerian elites, high level of youth unemployment, institutional decay and dysfunctions, poor governance, ineffective and corrupt law enforcement agencies, international crime collaborations and lack of political wills by those in authority and affluence etc. Ending of oil theft, vandalism and illegal bunkering, the work observed some findings and recommends measures and posits that serious approach and drastical efforts are needed to stops this pest called oil theft, illegal bunkering and pipeline vandalisation

5.3 Conclusion

Crude oil has been the mainstay of Nigeria’s economy since its commercial production in 1958. There have been unsustainable processes and obsolete equipment and laws involved in harnessing this natural resource and this has wrecked great havoc to the Niger Delta environment which is very sensitive and ecologically endowed. The Niger Delta people have suffered environmental racism and marginalization in the hands of the operating companies and the Nigerian State since the inception of oil and gas developments. This natural resource became a black gold, causing adverse effects to the environment and the people including poverty, corruption, political and social unrest.

The oil boom actually turned into an oil doom where the crude oil became a resource curse to Nigeria.
Environmental Impact Assessment was adopted for environmental protection as stated in Principle 17 of Rio Declaration of 1992 to be a management tool that interfaces and balances developmental projects between the environment and communities in a society in order to enhance economic performance while maintaining the highest standards of environmental sustainability, stewardship and social responsibility.

  1. But this tool and other environmental legislations have not been adequately applied in Nigeria for environmental protection and achievement of sustainability owing to obselete and inadequate laws which are ad hoc, ambiguous and the earliest developments went ahead without a formal EIA legislation process.
  2. A 260 km dual carriage way which passes through 185 communities in Cross River State and a National Park was constructed without a formal EIA process.

5.4 Recommendations

Oil theft and its consequential defaced of the Nigeria environment has place a major challenge on the environmental integrity of the Niger Delta communities and the Nigeria socio-economic and political well-being. In view of the above, this paper recommends as follows:

  1. Governmental policies should be driven towards mounting mass literacy and educational programmes on poverty eradication as this will help to redirect the Nigerian mentality of get rich quick syndrome and thereby sustaining the nation environment.
  2. Environmental offences which concern the breach of environmental laws and regulations should be made a strict liability offence.
  3. Sincerity of purpose in the apprehension and prosecution of oil thieves and pipeline vandals to serve as a deterrent to others. All the hundreds of oil thieves caught so far by the Joint Task Force and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) are for mere jamboree. 5) Transparency and effectiveness on whatsoever money earmarked for the prevention of theft, to produce visible results, and not just merely releasing funds for politicking.

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