The Niger Delta is located in the southern part of Nigeria. It is one of the world's largest arcuate (fan-shaped river deltas. …
LOCATION AND VEGETATION
The Niger Delta is located in the southern part of Nigeria. It is one of the world's largest arcuate (fan-shaped river deltas.
The riverine area of the Niger Delta is a coastal belt of swamps bordering the Atlantic ocean.The swamps are vegetated tidal flats formed by a reticulate pattern of interconnected meandering creeks and distributaries of the River Niger.
The vegetation of the Niger Delta consist mainly of forest swamps.The forest are of two types,nearest the sea is a belt of saline/brackish Mangrove swamp separated from the sea by sand beach ridges within the mangrove swamp.Numerous sandy islands occur with fresh water vegetation. Fresh water swamps gradually supersede the mangrove on the landward side. About 70% of Nigeria's crude oil and gas production is from the area.
POPULATION AND CLIMATE
The riverine area is home to a large population of people living mainly in small villages scattered along the banks of rivers and creeks.
Rainfall in the coastal belt of the Niger Delta is heavy due to the closeness of the Delta region to the equator. Annual rainfall totals vary from 2400 to over 4000 millimeters.
Niger Delta cities and their annually rainfall totals in millimeters:
Warri — 2,730mm
Forcados (coastal town in the Niger Delta) — 4,870mm
Port Harcourt — 2,400mm
Calabar (coastal city) — 3,070mm (rainiest city with over one million people in Nigeria)
Bonny (south of Port Harcourt) — 4,200mm
The Niger delta, which stretches for nearly 150 miles (240 km) from north to south and spreads along the coast for about 200 miles (320 km), extends over an area of 14,000 square miles (36,000 square km). Within the delta the river breaks up into an intricate network of channels called rivers.
The Niger delta is a vast low-lying region through which the waters of the Niger River drain into the Gulf of Guinea. Characteristic landforms in this region include oxbow lakes, river meander belts, and prominent levees. Large freshwater swamps give way to
brackish mangrove thickets near the seacoast.
SIZE AND ETHNIC GROUPS
The Niger Delta, as now defined officially by the Nigerian government, extends over about 70,000 km² and makes up 7.5% of Nigeria’s land mass. Historically and cartographically, it consists of present day Bayelsa, Delta, and Rivers States. In 2000, however, Obansanjo's regime included Abia, Akwa-Ibom, Cross River State, Edo, Imo and Ondo States in the region. Some 31 million people of more than 40 ethnic groups including the Efik, Ibibio, Annang, Oron, Ijaw, Itsekiri, Igbo, Urhobo, Yoruba, and Kalabari, are among the inhabitants in the Niger Delta, speaking about 250 different dialects.
The Niger Delta, the delta of the Niger River in Nigeria, is a densely populated region sometimes called the Oil Rivers because it was once a major producer of palm oil. The area was the British Oil Rivers Protectorate from 1885 until 1893, when it was expanded and became the Niger Coast Protectorate.
The Niger-Delta region of Nigeria accounts for one the world’s largest deposits of oil and gas and over 80% of Nigeria’s income, the region which is home to over 3000 different tribes and nationalities have played host to activities of multinational Oil and Gas firms with its attendant environmental consequences since the discovery of commercial quantities of oil and gas in 1956.
However, the historical failure of all stakeholders, predominantly the Nigerian state, to protect the rights and wellbeing of inhabitants of the region has led to great depletion and destruction of the environment through pollution in form of Oil spillage, Gas Flaring etc. This situation has created serious resentment and frustrations at all levels of the society.
The frustrating part of the situation is the long Connivance of the Nigerian State with these Multi National Oil and Gas Corporations to perpetually exploit the people. Nigeria remains the Highest Gas flarer in the world and has contributed more greenhouse gases than all other sub-Saharan sources combined. The practice of gas faring in the Niger-Delta remains widespread, violating the rights of local population and right to health and healthy environment. Flames and Fumes are produced 24hours a day, seven days a week, year after year, affecting health, polluting the local environment and destroying livelihoods. Nowhere else in the world are communities subjected to it on such large scale.
Furthermore in the region, 17 billion m3 of associated natural gas is estimated to be flared annually, generating an estimated 2,700 tons of particulates, 160 tons of sulphur oxides, 5,400 tons of carbon monoxide, 12 million tons of methane and 3.5 million tons of carbon dioxide. Due to poor regulatory framework, Nigeria Flares 75 percent of the gas it produces and accounts for about 19 per cent of the total amount flared globally. (See Africa-Up in smoke?, The second report from the Working Group on Climate Change and Development, pages 20 & 21).
This scenario has led to the rise of resistant, militant and criminal Groups in the name of the Niger-Delta emancipation. The year 2006, witnessed an increase in the boldness and intensity of militia groups to inflict damage to the oil industry and the state. The arrest of a Notorious Gang leader in 2005 was followed by the rise of a new militia, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger-Delta (MEND).
Since January 2006, the wave of violence has resulted in several kidnappings and numerous battles between the state security services and militia groups, increasing the pervasive sense in society that the conflict will steadily increase.
The response by the Nigerian state to this mounting conflict to date has been to buy off the leaders of violence gangs at a local and regional level. This approach has failed, and will continue to fail because for every individual that is bought off there are 20 others ready to take his place and commit a greater level of violence in order to justify their own pay off.
"Niger Delta." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica, 2011. Web. 04/01/2011
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