Poverty is a challenge to development. Its presence anywhere is a threat to development everywhere. It manifests in household lack and denial, unemployment, illiteracy, water and sanitation crises, inadequate medical services, poor child welfare and health and gender issues. There is the need for Community Corporate Involvement (CCI) to enhance response to poverty and development challenges afflicting the host community. Peripheral CCI practices border on unsustainable donations or philanthropy and are mere poverty panaceas that need to be de-emphasized for those that address sustainable community development and truly reduce poverty. Using the critical research method of analyzing available secondary data and information, this study examined the crippling poverty situation existing side-by-side with Corporate Social Actions (CSAs) of oil and gas corporations in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. The findings show that poverty indicators are worse in South-South zone of Nigeria (the heart of the Niger Delta region), where petroleum oil corporations claim to embark on CSAs, than in other geo-political zones of the country, where there is no oil exploration. This points to peripheral CSAs that do not reduce poverty, hence the attendant restiveness in the Niger Delta region. The study recommends, among others, concentrating efforts on CSAs that address sustainable community development, sustainable livelihood and poverty reduction.
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Poverty has become a persistent challenge to development in developing countries, including Nigeria-the most populous African nation. In spite of huge revenue from petroleum, Nigeria remains among the poorest countries in the world. About 92.4% of the Nigerian population live in poverty on less than $2 per day, while 70.8% lives in extreme poverty on less than $1 per day. Absolute poverty incidence rose persistently from 27% of the population in 1980 to 42.7% in 1992, 65.6% in 1996, 70% in 1999 and 70.8% in 2006. One-third of children in Nigeria are malnourished. Nigerias under-five mortality rate (200 per 1,000 live births) is high compared with the top three (110-120 per 1,000 live births) in the sub-Saharan Africa (African Development Bank, 2007; Eneh, 2008; Akintunde, 2008).
The petroleum oil-rich Niger Delta region of Nigeria is not an exception in the poverty conundrum in the country, various Corporate Social Actions (CSAs) notwithstanding. Previous studies on the area have shown that oil exploration activities have adversely impacted agriculture and natural resources in the region, specifically soil/land resources, aquatic lives/fisheries, water resources, crops, livestock and forests/vegetation. Oil spills degrade most agricultural lands, reduce the availability of fish and fish products, cause pollution of surface and ground water resources, destruction of arable and tree crops and death of farm animals in the region as a result of toxic materials in the soil and polluted water. Oil exploration activities have also resulted in the disappearance of some forest vegetation and animal species, including primates, fish, turtles and birds. Consequently, there is a drastic reduction in farm productivity and animal farm income (Ugwu, 2009; Inoni et al., 2006; Chinda and Braide, 2000; Hassan et al., 2002; Akpofure, 1994; Abiola, 2007; Environment Rights Action, 1998; Anoliefo and Vwioko, 1994; Nwilo and Badejo, 2007; Alexa, 2006; Worgu, 2000; Molles, 2005).
Previous studies have also suggested that proactive roles of corporations could help to address development and poverty challenges of their host communities (Rwabizambuga, 2007; Edoho, 2008; Hamann and Kapelus, 2004). This perception is consistent with the increasing popularity of Corporate Community Involvement (CCI) as an approach to sustainable development of host community (WBCSD, 2007; Moon and Muthuri, 2006). The private sector plays a leading role in CSR initiatives, but substantial doubts remain regarding the general suitability of contemporary CSR initiatives to tackle some of the most pressing development challenges (Barkemeyer, 2009).
A great deal of the CSR studies conducted so far has been in the context of developed countries, such as Western Europe, the USA and Australia (Jamali and Mirshak, 2007). However, literature is beginning to emerge for developing countries, such as Ghana and South Africa in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America (Ofori and Hinson, 2007; WBCSD, 2007). The few available studies in developing countries have, however, revealed distinctive differences between triggers of CSR practices in these countries (Jamali and Mirshak, 2007; Babarinde, 2009).
The present study examines the extent to which current forms of CCI practiced in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria are actually delivering on its development and poverty reduction agenda as suggested by scholars, such as Leisinger (2007). The justification for the study derives from the strand of the research that has shown that some CCI practices that are limited to unsustainable peripheral donations, serve as mere poverty panacea and therefore, inadequate means of addressing development challenges of low-income communities, especially those in developing countries (Manteaw, 2008; Muthuri, 2008). These authors also advocate for moving community development and poverty reduction agendas from their current peripheral position to the heart of strategic business thinking (WBCSD, 2007). They also argue for the need to re-conceptualize the role of business in the local communities that goes beyond philanthropy and towards sustainable community development (Idemudia, 2008). These observations have guided the present study, which is further justified on the ground of adding to the scanty literature on CSR activities in Africa in general and Nigeria in particular (Ofori and Hinson, 2007; Alexa, 2006; Amao, 2009; Amaeshi et al., 2006; Philips, 2006).
The study reports an analysis of data titled, The Nigerian Statistical Fact Sheets on Economic and Social Development and documented by the Nigerian National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), a federal agency charged with the responsibility of providing the nation with comprehensive, timely and reliable statistical information in all spheres of human endeavour (Akinyosonye, 2006). The need to provide readily available and properly documented detailed information for articulating and evaluating policy implementation for meaningful development informed the documentation of the data, which cover among others, statistics for household, employment, education, health and gender. Since, the fact sheets are documented by government organ, they become an important basis for various studies.
This study compares the relevant statistics of the document with claims of CSR by oil corporations in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. Development indices contained in the document for other geopolitical zones of the country, where there is no oil exploration with the attendant negative environmental and social impacts and CCI claims by oil corporations, serve as control. The study seeks to stimulate a rethinking by policy makers, community dwellers and corporations on peripheral corporate community intervention projects and the need to de-emphasize them for a shift towards CSAs that address sustainable community development, sustainable livelihood and poverty reduction. The rest of the study is structured as follows: literature review, which looks at an array of literature, before reducing it to theoretical and conceptual framework, to later form the basis for discussion of data. Some consequences of oil exploration in Nigeria were identified from previous work, as a prelude to establishing the need for sustainable CSR initiatives in the oil-rich Niger Delta region of the country. Methodology of the study follows to describe the area of study, the data and analysis approach. Discussions, implications for corporate strategies and government policies and conclusion follow:
Literature review: With industrialization, the impact of business on society and the environment assumed significant dimensions. The corporate paternalists of the late 19th century and early 20th century used some of their wealth to support philanthropist ventures. This is the historical origin of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), which is a concept that encourages organizations to look beyond profit and consider the interests of the society by taking responsibility for the impact of the organizations activities on customers, employees, shareholders, communities and the environment in all aspects of their operations. It is about business and other organizations going beyond the legal obligations to manage the impact their activities have on the environment and society. This obligation goes beyond the statutory obligation to comply with legislation and voluntarily take steps to improve the quality of life for employees and their families as well as for the local community and society at large (Wikipedia, 2008; McComb, 2002; Lea, 2002).
|•||Negative social and environmental impacts of mining|
|•||Related criticisms levied at mining companies from governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and local community-based organizations (CBOs)|
|•||Finiteness of the resource body|
|•||The environmental and social impacts related to closure of mining|
A concept of the CSR pitches the stockholder theorists against the stakeholder theorists. The pro-stockholders see CSR as distracting businesses from their cardinal goals, while the pro-stakeholders see it as providing superior legitimacy to businesses within their ambient societies.
The stockholder perspective is that businesses primary function in societies is to provide a return on investment to owners and shareholders, create jobs and fair pay for workers and discover new resources. The business of business should always remain business (Friedman, 1962). The CSR is antithetical to sound business practice and serves to dilute business focus on wealth creation (Clement-Jones, 2005). On the other hand, the stakeholder perspective sees business and society as interwoven rather than distinct entities (Wood, 1991). Businesses are active partners in a world of increasing scarcity and dwindling resources. Being principal creators of value and managerial resources, businesses have obligations to societies in which they are embedded to contribute to economic growth and opportunity (Jamali and Mirshak, 2007). Recent developments in the debate point to a more socially responsible model derived from the stakeholder theory and currently perceived by scholars as more capable of capturing the dynamics of business-society linkage (Idemudia, 2008).
Nonetheless, some scholars still see CSR as reflecting corporate citizenship, corporate philanthropy, corporate giving and corporate community involvement-emphasizing the social role on its own merit. Others see these practices as corporate social investments (Babarinde, 2009) with corporate image, goodwill and branding as outcomes (Irwin, 2003). Values-led branding is therefore catching on as a deliberate corporate strategy that should provide increased returns on investment and is measured along the same lines as other forms of economic investments.
CSR studies in the developing countries also register divergent perspectives. Three perspectives identified by Idemudia (2008) in these countries are (1) voluntary initiative (2) the accountability perspective and (3) enabling environment. CSR initiatives are most effective when they are voluntary rather than obligatory. While government regulations interfere with corporate freedom and undermine efficiency, voluntary self-regulation in organisations is intrinsically motivating to organisational members and therefore, enriching to those participating in it. On the contrary, the accountability perspective argues that the logic of capitalism does not support CSR initiatives. Businesses will not finance CSR activities in the developing countries and sacrifice profits unless compelled by laws and regulations to do so. Local and international regulations are necessary. The enabling environment perspective agrees to the necessity of the voluntary initiatives and regulations, but adds that they do not provide sufficient conditions for the fulfillment of CSR (Garvin et al., 2009). There is the need for governmental institutions, NGOs and civil societies to join hands to create incentives and congenial environments that stimulate CSR initiatives. Without joint planning and actions, key stakeholders may end up undermining each others efforts (Gulbrandsen and Moe, 2007).
One of the most popular analytical models and conceptualizations of CSR is the four-part definitional model provided by Carroll (1979, 1991), which identifies four types of CSR initiatives: economic, legal, ethical and discretionary. The economic drivers of CSR are reflected in the corporate social investment. The legal triggers entail expectations of legal compliance and playing by the rules of the game. The society expects business to fulfill its economic mission within the framework of legal requirements. The ethical responsibilities of firms define expectations that are not stipulated in laws but are considered in a given society as being part of the morals, ethos or accepted rules of behaviour for firms and organisations. These responsibilities are predicated on the view that businesses are moral and managers do what is right, just and fair. Businesses are expected to engage in behaviours, such as respecting people, avoiding social harm and preventing social injury (Lantos, 2001). Thus, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, (WBCSD, 2000) defines CSR as achieving commercial success in ways that honour ethical values and respect people, communities and the natural environment. Similarly, Steiner and Steiner (2000) argue that social responsibility is the duty a corporation has to create wealth by using means that avoid harm, protect, or enhance societal assets. Epstein (1987) refers to this perspective as the Social Contracts Theory.
Since, identification of the different types of responsibilities does not provide an adequate framework for empirical investigations of CSR, scholars must critically study the factors that trigger CSR initiatives of specific businesses or industries in focal countries (Wood, 1991). These entail the motivating principles or reasons for engaging in CSR activities, the CSR-related issues that firms embrace and the outcomes of these initiatives. The motives are listed in Carrolls work, while the CSR related issues include environmental protection, health and safety, social welfare, human rights and community development. The outcome can be viewed at two levels: (1) the impacts on businesses taking the initiatives and (2) the developmental impacts on citizens, including economic and social benefits. Jamali and Mirshak (2007) combined Carroll (1991)s work with Woods to get an integrated framework for analysing CSR practices in developing, which they applied to study CSR practices in Lebanon.
A range of stakeholders are pushing for increased commitment by companies to widely recognized standards and multinational corporations are expected to apply the same standards in different parts of the world. Companies themselves are seeking to establish a level playing field, especially in connection with international trade. For multinational corporations, there are strong pressures to be seen to be applying the same standards in different parts of the world (Hamann et al., 2005).
Theoretical and conceptual framework: Although, the prime responsibility of a company is to generate profit, companies can, at the same time, contribute to social and environmental objectives through integrating CSR as a strategic investment into their core business strategy, management instruments and operations. Both moral and economic arguments have been advanced in support of CSR. The moral argument recognizes that profits are necessary for any business entity to exist, but submits that all groups should strive to add value and make life better in the society. Businesses rely on the society in which they operate and could not exist or prosper in isolation. Increasingly, society expects businesses to have an obligation to the society in which they are located, to the people they employ and their customers, beyond their traditional bottom-line narrow shareholder concerns. The economic argument recognizes self-interest and submits that CSR actions represent a real point of differentiation and competitive market advantage on which future success can hinge (WBCSD, 2000).
CSR is voluntary in character. For example, the European Commission (2001) defines it as essentially a concept whereby companies decide voluntarily to contribute to a better society and to a cleaner environment. Companies embark on CSR for medium-and long-term business interest, albeit in response to stakeholders, minimizing negative impacts and maximizing positive impacts (Holliday et al., 2002). The International Council on Mining and Metals commits its members to seeking continual improvement in our performance and contribution to sustainable development so as to enhance stakeholder value. The CSR seeks to align corporate policies and reputation to sustainable development, in order to ensure companies reputation and their access to capital, land and markets (Hamann and Kapelus, 2004). The eco-modernization hypothesis argues that effective environmental management would increase the efficiency of the production process- in terms of less energy and material needs-and hence increase bottom-line profits (Porter and van der Linde, 1995). In an African context, Philips (2006) argues that the motivation for CSR in countries, such as Nigeria, is quite different from the Western countries. Africas collective approach to problem-solving and the impact of the extended-family system, reinforced by the strong village community mentality and philosophy, encourage local businesses to exhibit profound social responsibility (Lepoutre and Heene, 2006). Dominant historical conception of CSR in South Africa is in terms of Corporate Social Investment (CSI), or philanthropic initiatives in education, health, or welfare at the national or local level. These efforts have generally been motivated by managerial discretion, a sense that it is the right thing to do and after 1994 the increasing incentive to be seen contributing to social development, especially by government. A national survey conducted in 2001 estimated that total annual spending on CSI was about R2 billion (US$200 million) and that non-financial contributions involved at least a similar amount. However, there is little agreement on what constitutes CSI (e.g., does it include sports sponsorship?) and consequently, there are no generally accepted accounting frameworks. Furthermore, CSI is easily criticized for its add-on nature, without much influence on companies core business (Hamann, 2004; Rockey, 2001). CSR activities of South African firms have been motivated mainly by managerial discretions, i.e., a sense that it is the right thing to do (Hamann et al., 2005).
Culture has a strong impact on management behaviours and decisions (Hofstede, 1991). Businesses take their cue from the cultural values of their ambient societies in defining their social obligations (Sachs et al., 2005). Puffer and McCarthy (2008) submit that a companys social responsibility and its sustainable competitiveness must rest on a culture grounded in appropriate ethical values. Accountability for this foundation lies with the corporate leadership, which is responsible for establishing organizational values and culture.
Amaeshi et al. (2006) showed that indigenous Nigerian firms perceived and practised CSR as corporate philanthropy aimed at addressing socio-economic development challenges in the country. The evolving principles of CSR in Nigeria are propelled by government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). CSR Bill or Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) is before the National Assembly (Amao, 2009; http://www.nnpcgroup.com/pcb/faq.html).
Critics argue that CSR practices merely serves to project a suitable image to placate critics and ensure business as usual. NGOs have labeled CSR initiatives greenwash (Friends of the Environment International, 2002). Companies have been accused of walking away from their CSR, their ecological and social debts to affected societies, in a vacuum of legally binding regulation (Rivas-Ducca, 2002). For CSR to be anything but greenwash, critics demand, it has to guarantee that companies be accountable for the direct and indirect impacts of their activities (Hamann and Kapelus, 2004).
The neoclassical dependence model of development attributes the existence and continuance of underdevelopment and poverty to the unleveled ground of play between the rich and poor countries and the attendant exploitation and neglect, which make development and poverty reduction difficult or impossible for the poor countries. The native comprador elite groups in the poor country are used by the centre to perpetuate the interests of the latter and get rewarded (Jhingan, 2007).
The false-paradigm development model attributes the existence and continuance of underdevelopment and poverty to faulty and inappropriate advice provided by the international experts of the development agencies. This group chooses, designs and champions the CSAs, which are hardly owned by the host community and therefore, unsustainable (Todaro and Smith, 2006).
Some consequences of oil exploration in Nigeria: According to Ugwu (2009), the pre-oil economy of Nigeria depended solely on agriculture. Palm oil became an export commodity for Nigeria as far back as 1558 AD and by 1830, the Niger Delta region of the country had become the major source of palm oil which dominated Nigerias export list for more than 50 years. Records show that 72% of the gross national product (GDP) came from agriculture in 1950, as against 1.1% from mining and crude oil. The dominant role of agriculture in the nations fortune continued in 1960, when its contribution stood at 66%, compared to 1.2% from minerals. Also, at independence in 1960, more than 70% of exports came from agriculture. The nation was self-sufficient in food production before the era of crude oil (Tell, 2008). Agriculture provided 95% of Nigerias food, until the early 1970s, when crude oil upstaged agriculture.
In 1970, crude oil contributed 7.5% of the GDP. But, today, Nigeria is the largest oil producer in Africa and the seventh largest in the world. Total estimated crude oil production of 23.2 billion barrels and revenue of N29.8 trillion (US$ 0.2 trillion) have been recorded from the Niger Delta region in Nigeria between 1958 and 2006 (NBS, 2006), with the attendant major contributions to the development of the Nigerian economy. Each of the States in the Niger Delta region of the country contributes to the national oil revenue: Delta (30%), Akwa Ibom (22%), Bayelsa (18.2%), Rivers (18.2%), Ondo (7%), Imo (2.5%), Abia 1.4%) and Edo (1%).
But, oil exploration in Nigeria has generated numerous ecological problems and poverty in the Niger Delta region of the country. The effects of oil exploration and production activities on the agricultural sector of the Niger Delta region could be examined in the context of soil/land resources, aquatic and livestock, forest/vegetation resources, as well as farm labour and farm income. All stages of oil exploration impact negatively on the environment, especially on the land. Oil spills have degraded most agricultural lands and have turned hitherto productive areas into wastelands (Inoni et al., 2006). With increasing soil infertility due to the destruction of soil micro-organisms and dwindling agricultural productivity, farmers have been forced to abandon their land to seek non-existent alternative means of livelihood in the city.
Oil films on the solid surface act as physical barrier to soil aeration. In fact, oil pollution affects the physiochemical properties of the soil, such as temperature, structure, nutrient status and pH. Oil spillage also causes the release of liquid hydrobous and other toxic chemical substances into farmlands and surroundings, hampering agricultural output and productivity (Chinda and Braide, 2000; Awobajo, 1981). In Nigeria, about 62.8% of the oil spill incidents occurred on farm lands (Nwankwo and Ifeadi, 1988). A major impact is the reduction in the availability of fish products, such as small fish, crayfish and other marine products, like periwinkle, crabs and frogs. These fish products are now relatively expensive.
Oil spills from oil exploration activities stain fishing nets, thereby making them unusable until they are properly cleaned up at the expense of man-hour and other resources. Again, the heavy construction equipment and pipes of the oil companies often tear the fishermens nets without any compensation by the oil companies. Thirdly, most fishing grounds have been taken over for construction exploration sites, new platforms or oil wells. These adversely affect the total output of fishing activities and fish products in the region (Hassan et al., 2002).
Like land, water is an important factor of production in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. Oil exploration activities lead to pollution of surface and ground water and indiscriminate dumping of municipal waste. Depending on polluted water for drinking and domestic uses worsens health conditions already bad as a result of persistent poor nutrition and poor health facilities characteristic of developing countries. Oil spillages on water spread and undergo a series of chemical processes, including evaporation, emulsification, photo-chemical oxidation and degradation. Oil slicks in the aquatic environment cause direct lethal toxicity and sub-lethal disruption of physiological and behavioural activities, leading to death due to the interference with both feeding and reproduction. Other consequences are direct coating or painting of water entry bodies by hydrocarbons that get into the food wall and alternation of biological habitat (Akpofure, 1994).
The inhabitants of most communities in the Niger Delta region grow plantation, yams, cassava, coconuts, groundnuts, potatoes and other crops and rear livestock, such as goat, sheep, pig and poultry. Oil spill on crops causes great damage to the plant community (Chinda and Braide, 2000). Crops and trees wither due to the presence of toxic materials in the soil. Oiled shoots of crops, like pepper and tomatoes, may wilt and die off due to blockage of stomata and the attendant inhibition of photosynthesis, transpiration and respiration. In fact, germination, growth performance and yield of these crops are stifled by oil spillage (Anoliefo and Vwioko, 1994). Oil spills reduce crop yield and productivity and greatly depress farm incomes. A 10% increase in oil spill reduces crops yield by 1.3%, while farm income plummets by 5% and above (Inoni et al., 2006).
Lots of livestock (e.g., goats and sheep) die when they drink polluted water. Dead animals line the shore of streams, rivers and canals and progressively decay and generate odour that contaminate both the water and the surroundings. The Environmental Right Action (ERA) reported the death of 800 pigs at Miagen; 376 pigs, 84 cows and 120 sheep at Bale-Nla; and the death of over 3,260 animals during the Chevrons oil spill in Ilaje, Ondo State, Nigeria in July 1998 (Environment Rights Action, 1998).
Crop farming and fishing activities account for about 90% of all forms of activities in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. About 50-68% of the active labour force is engaged in one form of agricultural activity or the other, including fishing and farming (Worgu, 2000). But, oil exploration has led to adverse environmental impact on the soil, forestry and water of the Niger Delta communities. This has ultimately affected peasant agriculture in a variety of ways, which have caused the problem of environmental refugees. Some of the farmers, dispossessed of their farmlands, migrate to other more fertile lands in other communities. This puts pressure on scarce fertile lands and on the ecosystem or marine communities (Molles, 2005). This contributes to deforestation through further encroachment on forest land and reduction in fallow times. Some of the displaced farmers, however, out-migrate to the urban areas in search of non-existent alternative means of livelihood. As a result of the out-migration of the rural displaced farmers, a significant percentage of the local inhabitants remain in poverty and penury circle (Worgu, 2000).
Vegetation in the Niger Delta comprises extensive mangrove forest, brackish swamps forests and rainforests. The large expanses of mangrove forests are estimated to cover approximately 5,000 to 8,580 km2 of land (Nwilo and Badejo, 2007). Poor land management upstream from human impacts, coupled with the constant pollution of oil, has caused 5-10% of these mangrove forests to disappear. Both the volatile, quickly penetrating and viscous properties of oil have wiped out areas of vegetation. The effects of oil spills on mangroves are known to acidify the soils, halt cellular respiration and starve roots of vital oxygen. The loss of mangrove forests is not only degrading life for plants and animals, but humans as well. In addition to providing oxygen for human inhalation, mangrove forests have been a major source of wood for natives. They also provide essential habitat for rare and endangered species like the manatee and pygmy hippopotamus, including primates, fish, turtles and birds (Alexa, 2006).
To a population that depends on agriculture for its survival in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, the devastating impacts of oil exploration on farming dictate poverty and exacerbate it. There is dearth of basic infrastructure, such as health, transportation, education, water and sanitation, power, credit and farm inputs. Infant and maternal mortality rates are still high at 105 per 1,000 and 800 per 100,000 live births respectively. Health, water and sanitation indicators for the fishing communities are far worse than the national average. Poor accessibility of the rural communities makes the movement of goods and people difficult with adverse effect on cost of inputs, access to health facilities and other social services. Lack of or poor electricity supply constrains industrial development, processing and preservation/storage of agricultural products in the Niger Delta region. The poor state of infrastructure in the area puts enormous strains on living conditions of the rural population (Ugwu, 2009).
Area of study: The Niger Delta region of Nigeria is politically made up of eight States found in three of the six geo-political zones of Nigeria, namely, Abia (South-east), Akwa Ibom (South-South), Bayelsa (South-South), Delta (South-South), Edo (South-South), Imo (South-East), Ondo (South-West) and Rivers (South-South). Five of the six States of the South-South geo-political Zone, 2 of the 5 States of the South-east geo-political Zone and one of the 6 South-West geo-political Zone make up the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.
According to Ugwu (2009), the region is a vast flood plain endowed with forests and wetlands built up by the accumulation of secondary deposits washed down by the Niger and Benue Rivers. The area is composed of four ecological zones, as follows:
The coastal barrier islands: These are largely intact and have high concentration of biodiversity and are the smallest of the ecological zones in the Niger Delta.
The mangroves: The mangrove forest of Nigeria is the third largest in the world and the largest in Africa. Over 60% of this mangrove is found in the Niger Delta.
The fresh water swamp forests: These are considerably large forests that succeed the mangroves and continue in low lying places along water ways inland in the forest zone.
Low-land rain forest: Although, virgin vegetation probably no longer exists in Nigeria, logging and agricultural encroachment are degrading the forest zone.
The Niger Delta States are generally more densely populated than the rest of the country. They have population densities that are above the average population density of 100 persons/km2 for Nigeria (Table 1). The population densities per habitable area are much higher where swamps and potential flooding restrict housing to the relatively small area of higher elevation.
The 2006 census figures for the Niger Delta region of Nigeria total 28,335,611. The census indicates the age distribution of the households that shows a high dependency ratio with about 50% in the age category of 14 and below, indicating that the population is growing at a fast rate.
|Table 1:||Population and geo-political zone of the niger delta states|
|Source: NPC, 2007|
Many of the rural population are in the age category of 21-50 years and not many people in the younger generation want to remain in the rural areas.
Arable crop, livestock and fisheries production constitute the primary occupation of the majority of the population in each of the Niger Delta States. The main crops produced in the region include cassava, yam, cocoyam, sweet potato, maize, rice, grain legumes, melon (egusi) and different types of vegetables. Tree crops in the area include oil palm, rubber, cocoa, coconut, banana, plantain, guava, paw-paw, citrus, pine-apple, mango, bread fruit, etc. Livestock rearing is an important socio-economic activity among the people. Major livestock species in the area are goats, sheep, rabbit, pigs and poultry. These animals are managed by traditional practices. The population also depends on artisanal fisheries for their livelihood with such identifiable groups as fishers, fish processors, fish marketers, boat builders, net fabricators and outboard engine mechanics. Artisanal fishery resources account for 70-90% of the annual income generated by the people. In addition, there is great potential for aquaculture development in the region.
Non-farm/fishing occupations are primary sources of income for many rural people. These include trading, carpentry, tailoring, masonry, bakery, etc. These activities are mostly small scale in size.
The data: The information on the CSR initiatives of the oil corporations in Nigeria were obtained from the Internet. Approaches made to some of the corporations to release these information for research purposes had failed. There was no response to the approach in most cases. In one case, the corporation gave the researchers a condition that would have led to excessive bureaucracy and eventual obtaining of stale information, if at all. The limitation of the Internet information is that it may not be comprehensive, as the corporations may have pasted only the information they wished to publish. Again, some of the CSR initiatives may be ongoing and not ready for publishing.
The NBS has embarked on the production of a compendium of statistical information called The Statistical Fact Sheets on Economic and Social Development since the year 2004. The third edition of the publication, which was produced in 2006, provided the data for this study. It was unique in several respects. In an effort at quantifying more variables in the economic and social sectors of the economy, the edition covered such important areas as macro-economic aggregates, manufacturing, transportation, agriculture, trade, health, education, productivity, among others. In addition, the Employments Generation Survey and the Core Welfare Indicators Questionnaire (CWIQ) Survey both of 2006 provided extra sources of relevant indicators. The extra indicators border wages, adult literacy, household security, medical, difficulty in satisfying household needs, welfare, household infrastructure and ownership of IT/Telecommunication. The statistical indicators contained in the publication are recommended by the Federal Government of Nigeria to policy makers, researchers, students, business community, development partners and the general public for monitoring and evaluation of progress and success of projects and programmes (Akinyosonye, 2006).
Analysis: The study used the critical research method of analyzing available secondary information and data. Five of the six States of the South-south geo-political Zone belong to the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. In fact, South-South zone is synonymous with the oil producing Niger Delta region of Nigeria, since the sixth State of the zone, Cross River, was also formerly regarded as part of the oil producing States, until recently. Only two States of the South-East belong to the region. Only one State of the South-west belongs to the region. No State of the three Northern geo-political Zones-North-East, North-west and North-central - belongs to the region. The statistics for the South-South Zone were, therefore, assumed to represent the picture of poverty and underdevelopment in the Niger Delta region and were compared with those of other geo-political Zones that had two, one or none of their States in the region.
CSAs of oil and gas corporations cover a wide range of projects. Total Nigeria Plc believes in meaningful contributions to the development and poverty alleviation in the host community and projects CSR as one of its core values (http://www.google.com.ng/search). Its CSAs include:
|•||Skills acquisition training|
|•||Starter packs for graduands of skills acquisition training|
|•||Software competition (for Nigerian students)|
Some of the CSAs of Oando Nigeria Plc in 2008 include (http://www.gaslink.org/Nigeria/about-oando/social-responsibility/csr-projects/index.php; http://www.oandoplc.com/Nigeria/about-oando/media-press-release-archive/more-releases/charity.html):
|•||Donation of food, household items, gift items, equipment, etc. worth millions of Naira to 46 charity homes|
|•||Financial support for|
|•||Installation of (electric) transformer|
|•||Construction of borehole and storage tank|
|•||Day Nursery school|
|•||12 Secondary school scholarship payout for students|
|•||Recruitment of graduate trainees|
|•||Improvement of the quality of education from 2005 through|
|•||Adoption 8 primary schools in 2007, leading to renovation of their facilities|
|•||provision of teaching aids, books, etc.,|
Nonetheless, core welfare indicators reveal relatively high figures of poverty indices and poor development levels of host communities in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria (Table 2-13). This is in agreement with the findings in earlier studies (Onah, 2006; Eneh, 2006, 2009), which noted that Nigerias poverty and underdevelopment were more of poor implementation of development visions and programmes than lack of them.
|Table 2:||Household-difficulty satisfying food need (2006)|
|Source: NBS, 2006: 78|
|Table 3:||Household-self-classified as poor, 2006|
|Source: NBS, 2006: 79|
|Table 4:||Household-infrastructure 2006|
|Source: NBS, 2006: 79|
|Table 5:||Household-Ownership of IT/Telecommunication 2006|
|Source: NBS, 2006: 80|
|Table 6:||Employment status in last 7 days 2006|
|Source: NBS, 2006: 80|
|Table 7:||Education-Adult literacy rate (any language) 2006|
|Source: NBS, 2006: 81|
|Table 8:||Education-Youth (15-24) literacy rate (any language) 2006|
|Source: NBS, 2006: 81|
|Table 9:||Education-primary school 2006|
|Source: NBS, 2006: 82|
|Table 10:||Education-Secondary school, 2006|
|Source: NBS, 2006: 83|
|Table 11:||Medical services, 2006|
|Source: NBS, 2006: 83|
|Table 12:||Child welfare and health, 2006|
|Source: NBS, 2006: 84|
|Table 13:||Gender, 2006|
|Source: NBS, 2006: 84|
Policy summersault and development projects abandonment are common in the country. High level of corruption hampers the implementation of development projects. By the same token, CSAs choice, design and implementation are not corruption-proof.
The South-South (with 18.5) was far higher in difficulty satisfying household food than North-East (with 12.5), North-West (with 9.5) and North-central (with 7.2). Since, North-East, North-West and North-central Zones do not belong to the Niger Delta region, this agrees with the findings of Ugwu (2009) that agricultural and natural resources were being destroyed in the Niger
Delta region due to petroleum oil exploration activities. Since, the major occupations of the inhabitants of the Niger Delta region are agriculture-based, it is not surprising that the region records comparatively high figure in difficulty satisfying household food because oil exploration activities hamper agricultural activities and productivity in the region. On the other hand, CSAs are not arresting the situation.
The South-South (with 64.2) was higher than North-West (with 49.2) and North-central (with 61.5). Since, North-west and North-central Zones do not belong to the Niger Delta region, this finding agrees with claims of Tell (2008) that oil exploration activities are impoverishing the inhabitants of the Niger Delta region through disruption of agricultural activities. And, CSAs did not reduce the high poverty figures in the Niger Delta region.
Both North-West (with 50.2) and North-central (with 48.5) are better than South-South (with 45.5) in availability of safe water source. Since, North-west and North-central Zones do not belong to the Niger Delta region, this backwardness of the region could be attributed to pollution of the abounding water (Akpofure, 1994). CSAs have not provided sufficient safe water for the inhabitants of the Niger Delta region, hence the low figure on availability of safe water source.
South-South (with 1.2) trails behind the South-East (with 1.3) and South-West (with 2.3) in ownership of personal computer. Again, South-south (with 33.7) trails far behind South-West (with 47.2) and is almost abreast with South-East (with 32.4) in ownership of mobile phone. Thus, CSAs co-exist with poor ownership of IT/Telecommunication equipment in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. Table 6 gives statistics on employment status.
South-south records highest figures of 9.5 and 16.4 for unemployment for ages 15-24 and 15, respectively. Similarly, male unemployment figures are highest in South-South with 9.9 and 17.4, respectively. Again, female unemployment figures are highest in South-south with 9.2 and 15.4 for ages 15-24 and 15 years, respectively. In contrast, North-West records low figures of 2.2 for unemployment of 15-24 age bracket, 2.7 for male and 1.7 for female. Therefore, CSAs run side by side with relatively highest unemployment figures in the Niger Delta region. This indicts the CSAs as peripheral.
Table 7-10 give statistics on education. Table 7 gives statistics on adult literacy rate (any language), Table 8 on youth (15-24) literacy (any language), Table 9 on primary school and Table 10 on secondary school.
South-South (with 84.2) trails behind the South-West (with 85.9) in adult literacy rate (any language). Even, the South-East records a similarly high rate of 81.3. Thus, CSAs operate side by side with relatively high adult illiteracy level in the Niger Delta region.
South-South (with 89.2) trails behind the South-west (with 96.0) and South-East (with 92.3) in youth (15-24 years of age) literacy rate (any language). Even, North-central records a similarly high rate of 81.6. This questions the effectiveness of CSAs in South-south Zone in respect of youth education (literacy, any language).
South-South (with 70.3) is abreast with North-West (with 70.2) and trails behind the South-west (with 87.5), North-central (with 78.8) and North-West (74.7) in access to primary school. Similarly, South-South (with 77.3) trails behind the South-West (with 82.9) and South-East (with 84.1) in primary school net enrollment. Also, South-south (with 17.2) trails behind the South-West (with 18.6) and South-East (with 22.9) in primary school completion rate. Thus, amidst CSAs, biting poverty manifests in South-South Zone in forms of inadequate access to, low net enrollment and completion rates of primary education.
South-South (with 47.1) trails a distance behind the South-West (with 68.6) in access to secondary school. Similarly, South-South (with 58.9) trails behind the South-West (with 65.2) and South-East (with 59.9) in secondary school net enrollment. Also, South-South (with 25.5) trails behind the South-West (with 39.4) and South-East (with 27.9) in secondary school completion rate. Again, in spite of CSAs, biting poverty manifests in South-South Zone in forms of relatively inadequate access to, low net enrollment and completion rates of secondary education.
Table 11 gives statistics on medical services.
South-south (with 44.6) crawls behind the South-West (with 72.3), North-central (with 60.1), North-West (with 54.2) and North-East (with 47.3) in access to health. Similarly, South-South (with 68.7) trails behind the South-West (with 86.7), South-East (with 78.3) and North-central (with 70.5) in pre-natal care. Also, South-South (with 57.7) is the very worst in health services satisfaction among the six geo-political Zones of Nigeria. These suggest peripheral CSAs with regard to medical facilities in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.
Table 12 gives statistics on child welfare and health.
South-South (with 32.2) crawls far behind South-West (with 55.1) and South-East (with 45.9) in birth registration. Similarly, South-South (with 94.0) falls behind South-West (with 95.0) and runs abreast with South-East (with 92.1), North-central (with 93.2), North-West (with 93.7) and North-East (with 93.1) in births delivered by health professionals. Also, South-South (with 26.8) is worse than South-West (with 54.4), South-East (with 44.4) and North-central (with 32.3) in children fully vaccinated. Even, South-West (with 6.0) is better than South-South (with 12.5) with regard to children not vaccinated. Therefore, there are no indications that CSAs address poor child welfare and health in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.
Table 13 gives statistics on gender for 2006.
South-South (with 46.7) has scandalously high proportion of circumcised female than North-East (with 1.7), North-west (with 2.0) and North-central (with 14.5). In a similar vein, South-South (with 8.6) trails far behind South-west (with 14.0) and North-central (with 13.5) in female access to credit facility. These suggest CSAs that do not address sustainable development, sustainable livelihood and poverty reduction in the Niger Delta region of Niger.
Rather than reducing, crippling poverty is widening in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria because of the unleveled ground of play between the rich countries that own the oil corporations and Nigeria (the host country). Using and rewarding the native comprador elite groups in Nigeria, the rich countries that own the oil and gas corporations operating in the country perpetuate their interests. There is also an internal dimensional working of this neoclassical dependence model of development, which further perpetuates underdevelopment and poverty through unleveled ground of play between the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) and the Niger Delta inhabitants (Jhingan, 2007). FGN plays the role of the centre (or the Government at the centre) in using the comprador elite groups in the Niger Delta region to perpetuate its interests for a reward.
Again, the Federal Government of Nigeria directly or indirectly chooses, designs and champions development intervention and poverty reduction programmes for communities, including those in the Niger Delta region. In line with the false-paradigm development model, this accounts for existence and continuance of underdevelopment and poverty. The Government appears to depend on faulty and inappropriate advice provided by the international experts of the development agencies. This group chooses, designs and champions the CSAs, which are hardly owned by the host community and therefore, unsustainable (Todaro and Smith, 2006). Similarly, these programmes are hardly owned by the host community and therefore, unsustainable (Miles et al., 2006).
Culturally-induced obligations enjoin even small local firms to engage in philanthropic CSR practices in the form of economic support to disadvantaged individuals of their communities or funding community development projects (Amaeshi et al., 2006; Hamann et al., 2005). In line with the findings of these scholars, indigenous companies in Nigeria see philanthropic donations to health, education and other social infrastructures as normal costs of doing business (Babarinde, 2009). Similarly, the oil corporations seem to toe the line of the local small firms and base their CSR initiatives on philanthropic donations to health, education and other social infrastructures, especially as CSR Bill is yet to be passed in Nigeria. In line with earlier researches findings, these CCI practices, which are limited to unsustainable peripheral donations, serve as mere poverty panacea and, therefore, inadequate means of addressing development challenges of low-income communities, especially those in developing countries (Manteaw, 2008; Muthuri, 2008).
Implications for development: The situation of unmitigated, widening and biting poverty in the midst of touted peripheral CCI initiatives in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria provokes frustrations that lead to youth restiveness in the region. The realization of the attendant exploitation and neglect, which makes development and poverty reduction difficult or impossible in the region, informs the ethnic militia attacks (directed at FGN) and kidnap and hostage taking (directed initially at expatriates working with oil corporations and later at the native comprador elite groups and members of their families or cronies). There is the need for dialogue to get the hearts of the aggrieved inhabitants of the region, who are reacting to age-long deprivation, exploitation, neglect and marginalisation.
Moral and economic considerations need to come into play in the design and implementation of CSAs in the region. Existing CSAs need to be reviewed in order to embrace those that focus on human capital development, sustainable livelihood and poverty reduction. Bottom-top approach to choice, design, planning and execution of CSAs needs to be adopted. All-inclusive approach to implementation of CSAs is imperative. Avoidance of peripheral, wasteful and unsustainable CSAs that feed corruption is crucial. There must be zero tolerance for corruption if CSAs will be wisely chosen, properly designed, efficiently implemented and managed and accurately monitored and evaluated. Deliberate efforts need to be made to move CSR agendas targeting community development and poverty reduction from their current peripheral position to the heart of strategic business thinking (WBCSD, 2007). In fact, there is the need to re-conceptualize CSAs beyond philanthropy and towards sustainable community development (Idemudia, 2008).
Nigerian government may consider fast-tracking the passage of the CSR Bill, since foreign firms derive their CSR triggering cues mainly from legal demands. The adoption of voluntary CSR approach needs to be reviewed, since it may have a limited impact (Hamann et al., 2005). Foreign firms must encourage their subsidiaries in Nigeria to do more than the minimum legally required social obligations in the communities in which they are located.
Since, the governance environment of a country influences a firms CSR behavior (Lattemann et al., 2009), the Government of Nigeria, in order to encourage the adoption of higher CSR standards of oil corporations, need to improve the business environment, especially the governance environment in addition to monitoring the oil corporations more intensively. So far, the governance environment in Nigeria is poorly geared to supporting CSR practices of oil corporations in the country (Fig, 2005).
Oil exploration activities in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria dispossess the inhabitants of their land and other resource inheritance and lead to disruption of their occupation and attendant poverty. These inform unacceptable reactions-militia activities, kidnap and hostage taking, etc. Corporate organizations need to include the challenge of community development and poverty reduction in their core values-not as formalities or peripheral CSAs, but as projects that truly address sustainable community development, sustainable livelihood and poverty reduction. CSAs of oil and gas corporations co-exist with relatively high figures of poverty indicators in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. Therefore, they are more of peripheral than curative sustainable community development, sustainable livelihood and poverty reduction measures, hence the biting poverty and attendant restiveness in the region.
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