Nigeria: State Violence against Agriculture in the Niger Delta

This paper examines the impact of petroleum exploration on agriculture in the Niger Delta. To attain this objective, the paper examines government policies and legislations regulating agriculture and the environment in Nigeria. The paper establishes that agricultural and environmental policies in Nigeria are deliberately structured against agriculture in the Niger Delta. This is demonstrated in political, physical, economic and social threats to agriculture in the region. These threats to agriculture persist knowing that aside food security, agriculture is a catalyst for peace as it guarantees a stable income and employment for the rural poor. The role of agriculture as an agent for peace in the Niger Delta is placed as a second fiddle to petroleum by the Nigerian state. Thus, state-company alliance continues to undertake unbridled ecological terrorism in the Niger Delta region. Furthermore, the totality of these policies and actions represents mute violence against the people of the Niger Delta, who had suffered a considerable loss of their livelihood sources. The resultant loss of livelihood sources precipitates conflicts in oil bearing communities of the Niger Delta. The paper suggests a review of Nigeria’s National Policies’ on Agriculture and Environment that militates against agriculture in the Niger Delta as the way forward. The paper demonstrates that Nigeria’s agricultural and environmental policies have designated sections that inhibit agriculture in the Niger Delta; though, currently sustained as it ensures rents/royalties from petroleum.

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