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EVALUATION OF THE IMPACT OF NIGER DELTA DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION’S COMPLETED WATER PROJECT ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF COMMUNITIES IN RIVERS AND BAYELSA STATES, NIGERIA, 2001-2007

CHAPTER ONE 

 INTRODUCTION 

 Background of the Study

The discovery of petroleum oil in Nigeria in 1952 launched the country into international limelight as an oil-producing nation (Ekpo, 2004). However, prior to this time, the Nigerian economy was purely agrarian in nature; hence Turcotte (2002) observed that initially, Nigeria had been an agrarian nation, heavily dependent on agricultural products for survival. Commenting on the state of the Nigerian economy prior to the oil boom, Obadan (2004) also noted that agriculture was the mainstay of Nigeria’s economy, accounting for two-thirds of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), about two-thirds of labour employment, substantial supply of raw materials for industries and large production of non-oil export earnings. With the emergence of this crude oil, the nation had a great hope of better life in the years ahead, while the area known as the Niger Delta region hoped for good life, in terms of infrastructural facilities, like taps flowing with water, uninterrupted power supply, and motorable roads. The Niger Delta Region is the area that houses the crude oil and gas deposits found in Nigeria today. According to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) (2003), the Niger Delta Region consists of nine states of the federation, namely, Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross-River, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo and Rivers States. NDDC further stated that there are 185 local government areas in the region and a population of about 20 million people, with 40 different ethnic groups and 250 dialects spread across 5,000 communities. The Willink Commission in its report described the location of the Niger Delta Area, thus: To the east of Ibo Plateau lies the valley of Cross River. This forms a broad vertical strip containing people who are not Ibos. Across the south of the region from the Niger in the west to the mountains in the East, stretches a broad horizontal belt of swamps and low-lying country. These two stripes of the coastal belts and the Cross Rivers valley together make a rather sprawling reversal “L” which encloses the Ibo plateau. In the swamp and creek country of the South-West there is an area in which the predominant tribal ethnic group is that of the Ijaws… Further north on the Cross River are many tribes intermingled in a confusing multitude… (Willink, 1958). This region covers an area of about 70,000 square kilometers, and is traversed and criss-crossed by a large number of rivulets, streams, canals and creeks. The Niger Delta region also accounts for oil reserves of about 30 billion barrels and gas reserves of about 160trillion cubit feet and these gas reserves are associated with the oil reserves (Nigerian Environmental and Study Action Team, 2002). The region is also rich in cash crops, including oil palm, cocoa, coconut, rubber, a diversity of aquatic resources and fertile land that support all year round agriculture. However, with the exploration and exploitation of oil in the region, the fertile land as well as water became degraded and polluted, thereby affecting the education, health, economic, social development of the people, and the entire means of their livelihood negatively. It is in view of this deplorable state that various commissions were established in order to improve the condition of the people. The emergence of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) could be traced from the Henry Willink Commission’s recommendation of 1958 that the Niger Delta should be given a special development attention. In response to Henry Willink’s Commission, Jonathan (2004) revealed that the Niger Development Board was established in 1960, with the mandate of developing the region; however, this objective was not achieved. More so, other agencies such as the Niger Delta Basin Development Authority (NDBDA), Presidential Implementation Committee Task Force and Oil Mineral Producing Areas Development Commission (OMPADEC) also failed to meet the demands for the development of the region (Ekpo, 2004). These efforts failed, among other reasons due to lack of regional master plan, poorly planned and seldom completed crises management initiatives, leadership instability, poor funding, duplication of efforts and official recklessness (NDDC, 2003). Available record showed that funding has always been the major constraint to the development of the projects (Ekpo, 2004). It was this inadequate funding among others that made life uncomfortable for both the people and other species such as plants and animals from crude oil spillage. In spite of the region’s rich resource endowment, its immense potential for economic growth and sustainable development, the region remains in a deplorable state with Rivers and Bayelsa States mostly affected (Okecha, 2003). Hence, the need to compare the impact of projects on the development of the two states. Throwing more light on the state of the region, Ekpo (2004) opined that it was partly the inability or unwillingness of the government as at 1960 to finance the activities of Niger Delta Development Board that culminated in its failure and demise. He then stated that the Revenue Act of 1991 was embraced as an instrument that could contribute to the development of the region. This Act however provided allocation of only 1.5 percent derivation fund for the actualisation of the development of the Niger Delta Region. This amount was however not commensurate to the enormity of the problems of underdevelopment of the region. Thus, this partly explains why the Presidential Implementation Committee (PIC) and the Niger Delta Basin Development Authority (NDBDA) which followed did not accomplish much in spite of the people’s great expectation. In view of the failure of the past intervention to develop the Niger Delta, and consequent upon the neglect of the area, environmental degradation, social disruption, endemic rate of poverty, poor health condition, high unemployment rate, a hostile relationship ensued between the oil companies and the restive youths of the region. This is rightly expressed by Chukwuezi (2009) when he observed that the increasing marginalisation of the Niger Delta as the main oil producing region in the country, the environmental degradation, discontent with the multinational companies, pervasive poverty, perceived insensitivity on the part of the state and failure of the state to ameliorate the sufferings of the people have pushed the inhabitants of the region particularly the youths to the edge. These youths out number the rest members of people in the two states involved in violent demonstrations such as kidnapping of expatriate staff of the oil companies, murder, destruction of properties and vandalisation of past commissions’ offices and agencies established by the government to provide basic utilities (Gbadegesin and Owolabi, 2004). The emergence of OMPADEC in 1992 to address development projects in oil producing states also suffered inadequate funding. The commission was expected to liaise with the government and the people to execute projects and programmes and materially compensate communities, local governments and states that had suffered or experienced damage or deprivation caused by petroleum exploitation. 
Review project details Comments
 
Number of Pages 119 pages
Chapter one (1) Yes  Introduction
Chapter two (2) Yes  Literature review
Chapter three (3)  Yes methodology
Chapter  four (4)  Yes  Data analysis
Chapter  five (5)  Yes Summary,discussion & recommendations
Reference Yes Reference
Questionnaire Yes Questionnaire
Appendix yes Appendix
Chapter summary yes 1 to 5 chapters
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