The economic impact of oil spill on communities in Imo State and the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria
Keywords:oil spill, economic impact, clean-up, compensation, occupational displacement
The study examines the economic impacts of oil spill on the life of the people of Ohaji/Egbema and Oguta Communities in Imo State Nigeria. The oil spill has polluted the rivers making it difficult to fish; the spills on farms have destroyed the crops leading to low yield and income, and this caused socioeconomic problems in these communities. The oil spill in these communities are peculiar as it occurs both on water and land unlike other spill in other countries occurring only on water. Literature shows that oil spill worldwide caused severe economic impact including loss of income, drop in share prices, loss of funds through clean-up and remediation, and payments for injurious harm to businesses and environment. The Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC) theory and stakeholders’ theory are useful in this study. The international laws on oil spill compensation have not been adequate, hence compelling countries to invoke their national laws. Using mixed methods, the findings of the study show that the income of these communities was negatively affected and little or no compensation paid to the affected communities. Inadequate enforcement of oil spill laws in Nigeria coupled with lack of political will to strictly enforce these laws has been identified. The spill caused psychological trauma and stress, occupational displacement, decrease in income, poverty and diseases in these communities. There is a need to amend the international laws on oil spill covering both spill from ship and on land, and the urgent need for all related agencies in Nigeria to be active in their duties. The oil companies need to be proactive in addressing the problems created by oil spill, while urgent clean-up and adequate compensations need to be paid.
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