Isaac ‘Asume’ Osuoka, Director of Social Action, reflects on the challenges of researching oil pollution and resource governance in Nigeria
“Why is the mortality rate in Bodo so high?” That was a question posed by Ben Naanen, a professor of history at the University of Port Harcourt. “Every weekend, there are numerous funerals in Bodo”, he informed the group of researchers from universities, think tanks and NGOs working on resource governance issues in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.
The meeting was convened by Nigerian NGO, Social Action and other institutions to promote research collaboration. The objective of the meeting was to identify immediate research needs by examining how current politics, policies, practices and institutions related to the petroleum industry inform social and environmental impacts.
This new Social Action briefing presents findings of research into the extent to which 5 states of the Niger Delta- Akwa Ibom, Delta, Rivers, Edo and Bayelsa- operate their fiscal processes in line with the principles of open budget. It equally examines how citizens in these states relate with and perceive government and its officials on fiscal matters.
The Cross River basin in south-eastern Nigeria contains the largest remaining natural rainforests in Nigeria. Most of the forests have been protected by the government and through community initiatives. However, a new Super-Highway project by the government of Cross Rivers State could open up the forest to more land grabs for property speculation, commercial agriculture and logging. This briefing paper examines how the road construction is violating the livelihood rights of several forest dependent communities whose rights to land and access to the forests for food, medicine and energy is being threatened. The Super-Highway also calls to question the viability of the controversial United Nations-backed Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (UN-REDD+) scheme in Cross Rivers State. Read Full Report
This briefing paper by Social Action highlights the challenges of addressing the enormous environmental and social costs of artisanal crude oil refineries and related crude oil theft in southern Nigeria. The briefing is based on a year of monitoring of artisanal refining sites and the responses of government agencies and the state security apparatus in Rivers, Delta and Bayelsa States. The Briefing concludes that security measures have been inadequate and often compounds pollution and human rights abuses. It recommends that effective policing of the creeks should be accompanied with actions to ameliorate the problem of inadequate access to energy services, scarcity and the high cost of consumer fuels, poor environmental standards of oil and gas companies, impoverishment and youth unemployment in communities, and corruption in the security services. Read Full Report
Nigeria is yet to sign the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), which is inspired by the European Union (EU) with the aim of eliminating trade restrictions between it and ECOWAS member states. Following years of secretive negotiations led by the EU, the EPA text was finalised in 2014 with promised benefits to developing countries like Nigeria including better access to EU markets and integration into a global economy. However, with negative reactions from Nigerian manufacturers, civil society actors and trade experts citing the imbalanced benefit to European producers having unfettered access to the Nigerian market over local industries, the former President, Goodluck Jonathan refused to sign the EPA. During the 49th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS, in Dakar, Senegal in June 2016, the government of Muhammadu Buhari delayed endorsing the EPA, opting instead to continue consultations with Nigerian citizens. As a contribution to the consultation process, this briefing examines the EPA in the context of the Nigerian economy and offers alternative paths for sustainable economic development. Read Full Report
This report is a product of yearlong budget advocacy activities by members of the Niger Delta Citizens and Budget Platform. It begins with a background section which addresses a range of issues which impacted Nigeria’s economy in 2014, with greater emphasis on happenings in the Niger Delta. In writing the background section, careful study has been made of major events and trends that shaped Nigeria in 2014.
The section on State government budgets in the Niger Delta is a study of the fiscal processes bordering on the income and expenditure trends of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo and Rivers states. The report is based on data relevant to the 2013 fiscal year, but provides evidence and data from as far back as 2007 to show trends and allow comparisons. Read full report