Friday, July 10, 2020

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Article Index

B. The Niger Delta Nation

      The Niger Delta region of Nigeria, in West Africa, extends over more than 70,000 square kilometers of the southeastern part of Nigeria, making up about 7.5% of the country's total land mass. The Niger Delta is one of the world's largest deltas, comparable to the Mekong, the Amazon, and the Ganges, and is home to Africa's most extensive mangrove swamp forest. The region has a population of more than 12 million people, with more than twenty distinct indigenous ethnic groups, such as the Efik, Ibibio, Ogba, Itsekiri, Urhobo, Isoko, Anang, Ijaw, and Ogoni people, who spread across nine of the thirty-six states that constitute Nigeria. Nigeria is regarded as the largest oil and gas producer in Africa, with estimated oil reserves of 37.20 billion barrels and an estimated 5, 110 billion cubic meters of natural gas reserves, making it one of the top ten natural gas endowments in the world. However, constituent states of the Niger Delta region produce more than 75% of Nigeria's total oil and gas production output, equal to more than 80% of the national government's annual revenue. The Niger Delta region, considered to be naturally endowed with one of Africa's most significant oil and gas deposits, is predominantly populated by many indigenous ethnic groups.

      The germane questions therefore are, first, whether the indigenous ethnic populations of these countries have adequate beneficial rights in the use, management, and control of the exploitation or commercialization of the natural resources found in their territory. Second, whether they are entitled to fair and equitable revenue sharing from those resources, as prescribed by international normative standards.

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