AbstractThere has been a failure of governance at the root of the corruption and chaos of the Niger Delta resource extraction industry, as the permission to develop did not have at its roots the approval of the rightful owners and governors- the local people. Through research with regard to the history of land use and governance, as well as laws in effect at the time, it is expected that the record will show how the authority was never transferred from its rightful owners, the local indigenous people, per British colonial law. Instead, it is likely that the lands were transferred from the British colonial authority to the federal authority of Nigeria without first having consideration for due process in terms of the British colonial holding of it. A detailed chronology of laws of application and events with regard to this land will provide the evidence which will guide the results.

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Introduction
The extraction of resources in the Niger Delta has led to conflict between the communities of the region and the extraction companies and government which support and regulate them. The Niger Delta is the economic engine of the nation due to its large petroleum deposits, yet it remains without infrastructure or local economy, and the residents of the local communities have not benefited from this activity (Nwankwo, 2015). Rather, the people of the Niger Delta have been exposed to environmental and other hazards with impact on health and livelihood in these areas (Nwankwo, 2015). Resource extraction in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria has been based on corruption not only in government of revenues, or by the companies in terms of their environmental practices, but underlying it all is a corruption of governance as those citizens of the Niger Delta communities, who would be the rightful owners of the land and resources, do not get a fair voice in the determination of lands and land use nor have they given permission as the primary authority for the transfer of land to the national control of the Nigerian government. Resource extraction in the Niger Delta is therefore based on a myth of permits and regulations. The Nigerian government, which has received its authority from Great Britain, does not yet have the right to make determinations over these lands. Further, the harm that has come to the local people at the cause of resource extraction is an infringement of their human rights, in addition to their long lost property rights.

Thesis Statement and Research Question
There has been a failure of governance at the root of the corruption and chaos of the Niger Delta resource extraction industry, as the permission to develop did not have at its roots the approval of the rightful owners and governors- the local people. Through research with regard to the history of land use and governance, as well as laws in effect at the time, it is expected that the record will show how the authority was never transferred from its rightful owners, the local indigenous people, per British colonial law. Instead, it is likely that the lands were transferred from the British colonial authority to the federal authority of Nigeria without first having consideration for due process in terms of the British colonial holding of it. A detailed chronology of laws of application and events with regard to this land will provide the evidence which will guide the results.

Background
A major complaint of the communities in the Niger Delta is the environmental damage and pollution due to petroleum spills and the practice of flaring gas (Austine & Sunday, 2013). Youth in the Niger Delta and the wider state have been vocal in demanding rights to economic benefits from development as well as environmental protection from harmful practices that lead to health issues or impact water and shelter (Oromareghake, 2013). Many researchers and analysts agree that it was this situation which led to the tensions and the subsequent attacks of the local resistance movement, including kidnapping, bombings, murder and other forms of violence on the oil workers by youth as well as adults angry with regard to the treatment of local communities by petroleum exploration and extraction companies (Nwankwo, 2015). Oil and gas production and revenues suffered as did the Nigerian economy (Austine & Sunday, 2013; Oromareghake, 2013).

There have been frequent allegations, and on occasion criminal charges, at the cause of corruption in Nigeria with regard to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) as well as politicians. The governance of and by the people is also corrupted, as local people, the rightful owners and determiners of their ancestral territory did not participate in the initial transfer of land to the Nigerian government nor are they permitted to lead the governance of these lands. Like the American and Canadian Indians, when the land and property rights were transferred to the newly formed nations out of the former colony there was a failure to gain agreement at the local or tribal level with regard to property rights. There was no consultation, and as a result the national government in Nigeria ended up in control of resources that rightfully belong to the tribes who have been long resident in the Niger Delta.

References

  • Austine, E., & Sunday, E. C. (2013). Niger Delta: A Critical Appraisal of the Amnesty Programme and Social Political Development in Nigeria. Research on Humanities and Social Sciences, 3(22), 130-137.

  • Nwankwo, B. O. (2015). The Politics of Conflict over Oil in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria: A Review of the Corporate Social Responsibility Strategies of the Oil Companies. American Journal of Educational Research, 3(4), 383-392.

  • Oromareghake, P. (2013). Youth Restiveness and Insecurity in Niger Delta: A Focus on Delta State. Global Journal of Human-Social Science Research, 13(3).