Nigeria’s Black Economy Part I

Oil spill in Niger Delta, Nigeria

Nigeria’s rich oil deposits have become a curse for the majority of the inhabitants of the Niger Delta, where most of the extraction takes place. Pollution, corruption and persecution of those who dare to raise critical voices characterize the situation.

International companies have been conducting oil extraction in the Niger Delta in Nigeria for more than 50 years. Here, however, the extraction of petroleum resources has become a disaster for most people. Every year, more than 1,000 oil accidents occur here that poison nature, people and animals. In many places it is not possible to grow food, because the pollution has penetrated far into the soil.

  • What problems do oil spills and pollution cause serious for the people of Nigeria?
  • How important is the oil industry to the country’s economy today?
  • What oil interests does Norway have in Nigeria?
  • What is being done – and what should be done – to improve the situation resulting from oil pollution for the environment and the people living in the vulnerable areas of Nigeria?

Operation Daywork 2017 addresses this Nigerian tragedy. With the project Extraction for development, the NPD – with the partners Naturvernforbundet , Natur og Ungdom and the Nigerian ERA – will help to change the situation. Through better education for young people, they will show that wise recovery and alternative use of resources can provide development and better living conditions. Among other things, the project will provide young people in Nigeria with increased knowledge about what rights they have, how they can promote them, and about alternatives to oil. This special edition of Where does it happen? addresses the topic of the NPD 2017.

2: Nigeria – an African giant

With its 190 million inhabitants, Nigeria is a country full of contradictions . Poverty is high and as much as 70% of the country’s population of over 130 million people has to make do with less than two dollars a day. At the other end of the economic scale we find a very prosperous elite.

Taken as a whole, Nigeria is an economically strong country, and the only real superpower in West Africa. Gross domestic product per capita, adjusted for purchasing power , is $ 5,900. Although 70 percent of the workforce derives its income from agriculture, it is the oil deposits that make Nigeria an economic superpower in Africa. The country is the world’s 10th largest oil producer in 2017.

Nigerians are known for their entrepreneurial spirit. The will and ability to create business is great. Some even believe that all internet fraud originating in the West African country can be seen as a reflection of this entrepreneurial spirit.

Nigeria, as a country located in Africa according to, has the second largest stock exchange in Africa (by turnover), and the Nigerian cement billionaire Aliko Dangote is Africa’s richest and the richest man of African descent in the world.

Nigeria was a British colony until its secession in 1960. The country’s history since independence has been marked by internal strife. The first ordeal came already with the civil war in 1966-1967 when the Igbo people broke out and declared Biafra as their own state. Three years and a million dead people later stranded the Igbo state-building project. However, political instability persisted until 1999 when Olusegun Obasanjo won the election and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) became Nigeria’s state-supporting party. Today, Muhammadu Buhari is the country’s president, following the election victory over Goodluck Jonathan in 2015. Buhari belongs to the APC party., and his election victory has thus broken the PDP’s long reign.

English is still the official language of the country, almost 60 years after the British colonial masters had to give Nigeria back to its own people. The choice of English as the administrative language is due to the fact that the country, in addition to the major languages, Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo (Ibo) and Fulani, has over 500 smaller languages. Most languages ​​are so different that people from different language groups do not understand each other.

The huge local film industry Nollywood is helping to unite Nigeria. The production of low-cost films has made the country the world’s second largest series and feature film producer, beaten only by Bollywood in India.

Roughly speaking, we can say that Muslims dominate in the north, while Christians have their foothold along the coast and in the southern parts of the country. Islam is the largest religion with half the population behind it. In the Muslim areas of the north, a mild form of sharia is practiced. There are about 40 percent Christians in the country. Different tribal and natural religions make up the rest of Nigeria’s religious diversity.

Is the story of Nigeria a success story or a tragedy? Historians cannot agree on that. The corruption, the ethnic differences and the huge economic differences speak in favor of defining Nigeria as a tragedy. On the other hand, it is a fact that Nigeria is held together and functions as an African superpower both politically and economically despite the deep dividing lines, which may speak to speak of a Nigerian success.

Oil spill in Niger Delta, Nigeria