The Niger Delta is the location of massive oil deposits, which have been extracted for decades by the government of Nigeria and by multinational oil companies. Oil has generated an estimated $600 billion since the 1960s. Despite this, the majority of the Niger Delta’s population live in poverty, with crumbling social infrastructure and services, high unemployment, social deprivation, abject poverty, filth and squalor, and endemic conflict. The majority of the people of the Niger Delta do not have adequate access to clean water or health-care. Their poverty and its contrast with the wealth generated by oil, as become one of the world’s starkest and most disturbing examples of the “resource curse”. Government negligence has been worsened by massive environmental degradation caused by oil spills. Oil spills have destroyed farmlands, polluted ground and drinkable water, caused drawbacks in fishing off the coastal waters and generally affected the sources of livelihood and health of oil communities in Nigeria. There have been continuous regional crises in the Niger Delta area as a result of oil spill pollution of the coastal ecosystem.
People in the affected areas complain about health issues including breathing problems and skin lesions; many have lost basic human rights such as health, access to food, clean water, and an ability to work.
For this big concern, the Nigerian Youth Climate Action Network alongside the Nigerian Youth Climate Coalition had a tweet-meet on January 25, 2012. It started with a moment of prayer in memory of all those who lost their lives in the Kano bomb blast.
The tweet-meet addressed various impacts of pollution and environmental damage caused by the oil industry, human rights issues of the people living in the oil producing areas, government actions/inaction and the role of the Nigerian youth in protecting our ecosystem.
Hamzat Lawal, tweet-meet facilitator said the the goal was to engage the government and demand more proactive actions while inspiring the youth to become development actors in their communities.