Christopher Ehizefua Ekpu, Joseph Unufe


The thrust of the paper is the determination of the effects of environmental degradation on rural communities’ sustainable development, with emphasis on rural communities in Niger Delta Region (NDR) of Nigeria.  Unarguably, the strategic importance of Niger Delta Region to Nigeria as nation cannot be over stated because of the considerable volume of oil deposits located there.  It is significant to the survival of the nation because it lays the golden egg that feeds and sustains the nation. A large proportion of government revenue is generated mainly from the region. Generally, oil is cardinal and central to sustainable development of a nation, socially, politically and economically.  However, despite the huge oil deposit in the NDR, many communities in the region are bedevilled with monumental environmental challenges. The authors relied on secondary data such as textbooks, journals, relevant books and magazines etc.  The study recommends that as an antidote to continued environmental degradation in rural communities in the NDR, the physical environment should not be further degraded through the use of obsolete technology while the devastated areas should be reconstructed, while the government also need to demonstrate the necessary political will by massively investing in human, infrastructural and capital development, job creation and confidence building measures among others. The paper concludes that except the environmental challenges in the NDR rural communities are substantially addressed, the much talked about restoration of peace and security would be futile and elusive.


Environmental degradation, Rural communities and Sustainable development

Full Text:



Akpabio, Z. K. A. (2006). The Impacts of Gas Flaring on Micro Environment & Yield of Plantain in Rivers State, Nigeria. Environmental Perspectives 10(1).

Akpobme, C.A. (2004). Oil Spillage and Gas Flaring and Environmental Degradation in the Niger Delta, Nigeria. Journal of Environmental Analysis. 2(2).

Alakpodia, I. J. (2000). Soil Characteristics under Glass Flare in the Niger Delta, Southern Nigeria. Geo-Studies Forum, 1(1 & 2).

Amechi, E.P.(2009). “Poverty, Socio-Political Factors and Degradation of the Environment in sub-Saharan Africa: The Need for a Holistic Approach to the Protection of the Environment and the realization of the right to Environment”, Law, Environment and Development (LEAD) Journal, Vol.5, No.2.

Amnesty International (AI), (2009). Petroleum, Pollution and Poverty in the Niger Delta, (June) Index: AFR 44/021/2009, London: Amnesty International Secretariat Peter Benenson House.

Aregbeyen B. O. & Adeoye B. W. (2001). “The Oil Industry, Environmental Health and Sustainable Development in Nigeria.” African Journal of Environmental Studies. 2(2).

Center for Population and Environmental Development (SPED) (2003). Demographic and Baseline Studies for the Niger Delta Regional Master Plan.

Center for Population and Environmental Development (SPED) (2007). Pilote Study on Community Based Forest Management in Nigeria – Amahor Forest Reserve, Igueben LGA, Edo State. A report prepared for Food & Agricultural Organization (FAO) & National Forest Development Committee, Federal Ministry of Environment, Abuja.

Ekuerhare, J. S (2003). “Development Options for the Niger Delta Region”, The Delta Bureaucrat, April, Vol.3/1.

Environmental Resources Management Limited (ERML) (1997). Environmental & Socio-Economic Characteristics of the Niger Delta.

Federal Republic of Nigeria (2004). Niger Delta Regional Development Master Plan, Nigeria: NDDC.

Ikelegbe, A. (2001b). “Civil Society, Oil & Conflict in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria: Ramifications of Civil Society for a Regional Resource Struggle”, Journal of Modern African Studies, 39/3.

Imoni, O. E. (2009). “Effects of Forest Resources Exploitation on the Economic Wellbeing of Rural Households in Delta State, Nigeria”. Agricultural Tropica et Subtropica Vol.42, No. 1.

International Energy Forum (IEF) (2009). “Reducing Energy Poverty through Cooperation and Partnership”, Background Paper for IRF Symposium of Energy Poverty, 8-9 December, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Iyayi, F. (2010). “Environmental Cost of Gas Flaring in Nigeria” in Ojo, G.U. (ed), Envisioning a post Petroleum Nigeria (Leave Oil in the Soil, Yenegoa, Portharcourt, Lagos: ERA/FoEN, Chapter 5.

Juan, P. P. A. (2004). Cited in The Economist, September 25, London.

Kerapeletswe, C. K. & Lovett, J. C. (2001), “The Role of Common Pool Resources in Economic Welfare of Rural Households”, Environmental Department Working Paper 2001-2004, University of York.

Niger Delta Environmental Survey (NDES), (2000), Niger Delta Development Priorities and Action Plan, Phase II Report.

Odjugo, P. A. O. (2010). “The Impact of Natural Gas Flaring on Microclimate & Yield of Egusi Melon (Citrullus Lanatus), in the NDR of Nigeria. Centre for Population & Environmental Development (CPED), Policy Paper Series No. 2.

Odogbor, P. O. (2005). “Effects of Environmental Degradation on the Cultural Heritage of the Niger Delta and the implications on Sustainable Rural Development, (ed)., F. Parker Publishing Company.

Ogbonanya, I. (2003). “The Effects of Glass Flaring on Natural Vegetation and Wildlife”. Journal of Ecosystem. 7(1).

Ogon, P. (2006). “Land and Forest Resource Use in Niger Delta: Issues in Regulation and Sustainable Management”, www.ippnigeria.org (an adobe acrobat document.

Offiong O. J. & Oriakhi I. O. U. 2005). “Oil, the State, Internal Colonialism & the Crisis of Accumulation: A Study of The Real-Politic of Fiscal Federalism in Nigeria, In Federal, State & Resource Control In Nigeria, (F. Parker Publishing Company).

Oladipo, E. O. (2001; 340). “Key Elements of Environmental Impact Assessment in Nigeria”, in Abumere, S. I.and Soyinbo A., (eds.), Development Policy and Analysis, Ibadan, Development Policy Center.

Omuta, G, E,D. (2011), “Poverty and Environmental Quality in the NGR: Dependence on Biomass Fuels as the source of Household Energy”, A commissioned paper for the Centre for Population and Environmental Development (SPED), Benin City, Nigeria.

Onakuse S. and Lenihan E. (2003). “Livelihood Systems and Rural Linkages in NDR of Nigeria”. www.nuigalway.ie/.../44-stephen-onakuse-and-eamon+lenihan;pdf.

Onosode, G. O. (2003). “Towards Environmental Management and Sustainable Development in the Niger Delta”, in Chokor, B.A.(ed.), Environmental Issues and Challenges of the ND: Perspectives from the Niger Delta Environmental Survey Process (Selected Speeches and Presentations (1995-2001) by Gamaliel O. Onosode), chapter 9.

Onuorah, A. O. (2000). “The Oil Industry and Environmental Degradation”. Journal of Atmospheric Science 10(2).

Otuaga, C. O. N. (2004). “The Social Perspective of Gas Flaring and Human Health in Southern Nigeria”. Environmental Perspectives 8(1).

Udoinyang, G. U. (2005). “The Effects of Glass Flaring on Sweet Potato Production in Niger Delta, Nigeria”. Journal of Ecosystem.

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), (2006). Niger Delta Human Development Report, Vol. 2.

United Nation Environmental Programme (UNEP), (2004). Women and the Environment, Policy Series: Nairobi, United Nations.

Warwick, H. and Doig A. (2004). Smoke: The Killer in the Kitchen Indor, Air Pollution in Developing Countries, ITOG (Practical Action).

Wokocha, G.A. (2010), “Impact of Biomass Fuel Utilization in Rivers State”, European Journal of Scientific Research Vol.48, No. 1.

World Bank, (2007). The 2007 Global Monitoring Report: Confronting the Challenges of Equality and Fragile States, Washington D.C.


  • There are currently no refbacks.