Nigeria, a country in West Africa is the most populous nation in Africa in terms of both the population and the number of states which total to nineteen. This West African nation is also highly endowed with natural resources and minerals with oil which is found in the Niger Delta being the main natural resource. This makes Nigeria to be the biggest oil producing country in Africa with a capacity of over two million barrels of oil per day. This resource accounts for over 80% of the government revenue in the budget and in terms of export commodities it accounts for over 95% of the country’s export annually (Frynas140).
In order for the government to realize the above figures, it enters into a mutual agreement with foreign multi-national oil corporations like Mobil, Shell, and Agip among others. Both the state and the corporations depend on each other on certain issues like provision of security to the companies, regulation of the work and licensing the companies being the roles of the government which in turn obtains tax revenue to run it’s affairs by taxing the corporations (www. globalissues. org).
In spite of the operations of the multi-national oil corporations in Nigeria and the richness in terms of oil reserves in the country, it is ranked among the poorest countries in Africa. This means that very rarely does the common citizen in Nigeria realize the benefits of the presence of the companies and the availability of oil reserves in the country. The very presence of these corporations on the ground has had both beneficial and adverse effects on the well being of the local communities.
When contacted the corporations respond to having brought about positive impacts on the local communities in way of corporate social responsibility. Apart from being a source of employment for the local communities, the companies have led to infrastructural development in the country. Proper road networks have had to be maintained in the country to ensure efficient transport to the production sites by the employees and the expatriates in the oil industry. These are among the positive impacts that can be said of the oil industry in Nigeria.
From a closer focus on these industries one is able to highlight few adverse effects on the local communities in the oil producing regions in Nigeria. These effects can be classified as either falling under environmental, social or economic effects. Key among them is the problem of environmental pollution from the activities of the oil corporations. It is of necessity to note that the majority of the local communities benefit directly from the environment in terms of the daily activities that carry out to earn a living.
These activities include agricultural use of land in growing food crops for the family as most of the lands are productive for agricultural use, forestry and fishing. All these activities have been highly affected by environmental pollution and consequently the local communities livelihood. Environmental damage caused by the activities of the companies like oil spills and oil leaks from ruptured pipes result to erosion, agricultural land degradation, forest degradation and loss of bio-diversity(149).
Agricultural land degradation leads to lower crop yields and as such making farming difficult and life hard for the local communities. The process of oil exploration and production also has adverse effects on the environment and on heath of the community. This is because gas flaring causes air pollution which affects the society at large. Chemical waste from the companies adds to this effect by posing health hazards to the people since it pollutes ground water that the people consume in addition to polluting the environment and causing diseases mostly respiratory and certain types of cancers.
Acid rain results from the gas flaring in the companies which leads to drying up of crops and lack of clean water for consumption. In addition it affects the local communities housing by wearing out the zinc roofs that they use in their houses. Among the social economic impacts of the companies is loss of land for communities and families as at times companies take up land from the local with minimal or no compensation at all. As a result the people have no land for agricultural use which further worsens the food crisis faced by the locals.
With the migration of people to these oil producing lands in search for employment comes other social ills like prostitution, rape and increase in fatherless children. Works Cited Frynas, Georg. J. Oil in Nigeria: Conflict and litigation between oil companies and village communities. Humburg. LIT Verlag Berlin Nigeria and oil. September 2008 <http://www. globalissues. org/article/86> [Accessed 29. 09. 2008] Oil for Nothing: Multinational Corporations Environmental Destruction Death and Impunity in the Niger Delta. September 2008 <http://www. essentialaction. org/shell/report/htm> [Accessed 29. 09. 2008]