Munich Personal RePEc Archive

When Foreign Interventions in Domestic Economy Leads to Exploitation: A Case Study of Oil Production in Nigeria’s Niger Delta

Akpan, Wilson and Dawood, Mamoon (2017): When Foreign Interventions in Domestic Economy Leads to Exploitation: A Case Study of Oil Production in Nigeria’s Niger Delta.

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Abstract

This paper examines the logic of environmental racism (and its ethnic variant) and places it against some of the main issues in the Niger Delta resistance. Relying on primary ethnographic data obtained in the Niger Delta in 2003 as well as on a close examination of the framework for oil exploitation in Nigeria, and some (recent) actions of the Nigerian government, the paper argues that while environmental ‘recklessness’, poor social remediation, and other ‘excesses’ have been undeniable concomitants of oil production in the Niger Delta, environmental racism provides only a tangential explanation for these problems, if at all. Environmental racism arguments neglect the underlying issue of a dysfunctional state-dictated framework for oil operations, whose devastating impact is felt not just in the Niger Delta, but across the broader Nigerian social fabric, as well as by the state and the multinational oil companies. The paper revisits John Rawls’ concept of ‘background institutions’ in explaining the environmental and social consequences of oil exploration and the Niger Delta crisis.

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