THE NIGERIAN STATE, POLITICS OF NATURAL GAS PRODUCTION AND ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY IN THE NIGER DELTA REGION, 1999- 2012
The Niger Delta is on the throes of death caused by the unmitigated exploration, exploitation and production of hydrocarbon which feeds and develops foreign economies at the detriment of the host communities which live in the worst state of neglect by the Nigerian state which laid claim to ownership of all natural resources, including oil and gas and the foreign operators in the industry. Serial irreparable damage to the environment of the region has led to series of peaceful protests at the onset which were met by state repression and protection of the foreign interests. It is paradoxical that a region which contributes the lion share to the country’s GDP and to highest foreign exchange earner remained in a state of squalor and impoverishment compared to no other regions of the country. This study adopted the Rentier State Theory as its theoretical framework. The study relied on secondary sources of data which were analyzed using qualitative descriptive analysis. The ex post facto research design was adopted in the collection of data for this study. The study argued that the rentier character of the Nigerian state ensconced in colonial heritage has fuelled the unsustainable operational practices in the oil industry that continues to waste economic-laden natural gas for oil which causes environmental degradation, displacement of host communities and destruction of the traditional ways of life of the people, especially their livelihood. A just environmental practice which respects right to a healthy environment, fiscal federalism, amongst others was recommended.