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Title: A Strategic Environmental Assessment of the Niger Delta: An Empirical Analysis of the Impact of Petroleum Exploitation on Quality of life in Urhobo and Isoko Communities
Authors: Ikhuoria, Isi A.
Issue Date: 2005
Publisher: In: A. G. Onokerhoraye and G. E. D. Omuta (eds.), Perspectives on Development, Centre for Population and Environmental Development (CPED), Benin City, Nigeria
Series/Report no.: pp. 442-472;
Abstract: The quality of life (and by implication the impact of petroleum resources) of the Niger Delta people was examined using questionnaire survey data, focus group discussion, interview, field observation and GPS records of infrastructure and social facilities in two major ethnic communities (Urhobo and Isoko) in the western Niger Delta of Nigeria. The result showed that in spite of nearly 40 years of petroleum exploitation in the area and the huge oil revenue generation capacity of the region to Nigeria, there is a paradox of being an oil wealth domain and also domain of poor socio-economic conditions and quality of life. This is revealed in the poverty threshold or people’s incomes, poor housing, high unemployment, inadequate social and infrastructure facilities, and constrained lifestyles. An analysis of variance (ANOVA) statistical test of the indices of quality of life (education, employment, income, housing, social and infrastructure facilities) with F-ratio of 0.00016 and 1.9 e-16 at the 95% level of confidence showed that there was no significant spatial variation in the quality of life within Urhobo and Isoko settlements. Also a χ 2 statistics test value of 8.4 at the 95% level of confidence showed that there was no significant difference in the quality of life b etween the ethnic communities (Urhobo and Isoko) in the Niger Delta of Nigeria. The imperative is that although these communities are the domain of oil wealth in Nigeria, the benefits of oil revenue and resources distribution have not significantly impacted on the people. This is a manifestation of under development, anomalous policies and a mismatch between the people’s expectation and public policies. The provision and sustenance of functional potable water is the most highly desired benefit by the people. Thus, intervention strategies for environmental assessment and sustainable development should embrace a ‘’Participatory Development Policy (PDP)’’ which guarantee the people’s right to participate in decision-making and implementation in matters that affect their communities.
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