Natural gas exploration activities have been singled out as a source of the lingering poverty and a direct negation of the concept of sustainable development in the peasant rural communities. Thus, this paper examines the impact of natural gas exploration activities on the lingering poverty in the Niger Delta region. Essentially, the main environmental challenge in the region is how to tackle environmental degradation from natural gas production activities which undoubtedly have serious impact on socioeconomic activities and the livelihoods of the local people. The region is suffering from administrative neglect, high unemployment, food insecurity, social deprivation, abject poverty, filth and squalor, endemic conflicts with limited economic opportunities and crumbling social infrastructure. The paper argued that poverty in the Niger Delta is directly linked to the fragile aquatic ecosystems, exacerbated by environmental degradation from natural gas production activities. The inhabitants of the Niger Delta are predominantly rural peasant farmers depending mainly on the environment for subsistence living. Thus, it is impossible for any meaningful development to subsist upon a deteriorating environmental resource base because the level of agricultural production depend largely on the quality of the environment.
Prof. Dr. Bilal BİLGİN