The Impact of the Oil Industry on Human Security and Child Trafficking In Nigeria


The Impact of the Oil Industry on Human Security and ChildTrafficking In Nigeria

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The oil industry is an imperative and a key sector in theinternational economy. Besides being a backbone for the GDP, thesector provides a sense of nationality and cultural belonging.However, there are several negative impacts of the oil industry.Nigeria began extracting its oil after the discovery of big depositsin the 1950s. However, since then, there have been several negativeimpacts on various aspects of human life. The researcher used anepistemological standpoint approach to investigate the impact of thecountry’s oil industry on the people’s human security, and childtrafficking. This included personal interviews and an analytic reviewof published documents. The seven tenets of human security, asdescribed by the United Nations, were used. These are theenvironment, politics, and economic, food, and health, personal andcommunal security. Child trafficking was studied under the umbrellaof economic, personal and communal tenets of human security.

The dissertation established that the stakeholders involved in theNigerian oil industry and human security matters are the government,oil companies, the communities and individuals. While the governmentholds the biggest responsibility in ensuring that human security isupheld, the oil companies were responsible for the decline of thesame. Of the 7 tenets studied, the most affected by the oil industryare the economic, environmental and political aspects. Communitiesfrom the Niger Delta remain to be the most affected, as the largestpercentage of the nation’s oil deposits originate in this expanse.Skirmishes facilitated by greed in oil business have led towidespread poverty and neglect, which are the main factors behindchild trafficking in the country. While the government has attemptedto upgrade the living conditions of the people, poor policies andlack of sustainable development plans are cited in the deleteriousimpact of the country’s oil business on human security and childtrafficking.


Abstract 2


1.1 Introduction 6

1.2 Background of the problem 7

1.3 Statement of the problem 8

1.4 Objectives 9

1.5 Scope of the study 9

1.6Significance of the study 10

1.7 Theoretical framework 11


2.1 Introduction 13

2.2 Overview of the oil industry 13

2.3 Conflict and social unrest 14

2.4 Application of human security 16

2.5 Child trafficking 18

2.6 The oil-security connection 20

2.7 The Nigerian dilemma 22

2.8 Summary 25


3.1 Epistemological standpoint 26

3.2 Researcher’s role 28

3.3 Field study methods 28

3.4 Methods and tools 30

3.4.1 Open-ended interviews 30

3.4.2 Published documents 31

3.5 Research ethics 31

3.6 Research experience 32

3.7 Summary of methodology 33


4.1 Impact of the industry –State level 34

4.2 Regional level 36

4.3 Sense of human security from respondents 37

4.4 Economic security 42

4.5 Environmental security 44

4.6 Political security 46

4.7 Food security 47

4.8 Health security 49

4.9 Personal security 49

4.91Community security 50

4.92 Child trafficking – concept of child trafficking, child labor, sex trafficking, 52

4.92.1 Overview 52

4.93 Impact of oil 52


References: 62

List offigures

Figure 1: Conceptual scope of the study. 10

Figure 2: Graphical representation of the Nigerian fuel complex since 1980. Source (Index Mundi, 2015). 35

Figure 3: Nigeria’s oil production vs GDP per Capita. 43

Figure 4: 2014 spill statistics. 45

Figure 5: 2012 spill statistics 45

Figure 6: 2013 spill statistics. 46

Figure 7: Agricultural composition FDI in Nigeria, 1999-2007. Source: Ukwaba, 2014 48


The oil sector remains one of the strongest and dynamic sectors ofthe international economy (Kilian and Murphy 2014). State budgetstowards developing oil field and attracting investors is ademonstration of the importance of this industry to the economic andsocial growth of nations. Over years, countries with sizeable oildeposits have been able to maintain a steady growth through theexploration and selling of oil to other countries. Besides being aneconomic pillar for a country, oil forms a strong cultural and socialidentity for the people. This has seen to the formation of leagues ofcountries that share a common thing in oil exploration.

However, oil has been attributed to some of the worst humanitariancrises in the world (Coombs and Holladay 2011). Many countries haveplunged into civil wars, which go on for decades without seizing.This leads to the loss of thousands of exists and people,obliteration of billions of dollars’ worth of material goods, andabove all, the devastation of the social assembly. These problems areascribed, but not limited to, human greed and loss of morality. Humansecurity and sustainability of future generation are core issues incountries that face the oil crises. While problems arising from theoil industry are attributed to the communities and governments of thecountries that own the oil, the impact takes a global perspective,hence calling for collective action.

Today, Nigeria is one of the foremost and principal producers of oilin the world. Every year, the total production is about 783 millionbarrels per year ( 2015). However, since the discovery andexploration of oil in the country, there have been major natural andhuman-facilitated disasters that have rocked the country’s oilindustry. Among these are major spills, civil wars, terrorismfunding, social unrest and corruption, among many others. While thereare several problems associated with the country’s oil industry,some attract more attention than others do. In this regards, thestudy explored the stimulus and spill over effect of the oil sectoron child marketing (trafficking) and human safety.

1.2Background of the problem

Nigeria discovered its oil deposits in 1956 (Whiteman 2012). Thefirst place to be explored after this discovery was Oloibiri, locatedalong the Niger Delta. Shell-BP was the first company to be licensedto conduct the oil exploration and mining activities. Afterincreasing its production to about 5100 barrels per day, Nigeria wasincorporated into the ranks of global oil producers on 1958 (Kadafa2012). After the conclusion of the Second World War and consequentincrease in the oil prices in 1958, Nigeria joined the Organizationof Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Baba-Musami et al. (2015)contend that decree 33 led to the formation of the country’s oilindustry regulator, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation(NNPC) in 1977.

Due to the booming oil industry, Nigeria underwent significanteconomic, social and political changes. The expansion of the oiltrade through exportation to other nations led to the growth ofrevenue generated from the industry. Idemudia (2014) says that thisfacilitated a struggle to control big junks of the big oil industryin the country. This led to in-fights among cartels and communitiesover the control of major oil centres. Some of the major crises havebeen six successful and numerous other failed military coups (Baker2014). At the same time, there have been disputes over the ownershipand distribution of oil wealth, which scholars and historians as wellhave attributed to the Nigerian industry oil human crises. This hasled to many social illnesses, of particular interest to this study,child trafficking and human security.

1.3Statement of the problem

In Nigeria, militancy has inflamed the response to human repression.Human rights violation has become a major problem, which besidesbeing blamed on the lack of substantial attention from the state, hasled to total social disorder among many communities. The oil industrycrises and privatized violence have eaten into the country’s socialfabric. Today, the country is listed among the worst regionsexperiencing humanitarian disaster that is attributed to the oilindustry (Soneye 2014). One of the leading forms of humanitariandisaster is child trafficking. According to the United NationsChildren’s Fund (UNICEF), child trafficking is a widespreadphenomenon in Nigeria (UNICEF 2015).

At the same time, human insecurity has been on a sharp increase sincethe discovery of oil in the country. This is attributed to major oilspills, conflicts of interest, gas flaring, destruction of othernatural resources and significantly, civil unrest. These elements ofinsecurity have facilitated violence that is targeted against certainmembers of the Nigerian communities (Anifowose et al 2012). Militiashave taken over the control of some oil fields, while the governmenthas failed to protect its people against the problems caused by theoil industry. Despite the fact that the government, in collaborationwith external stakeholders, has attempted to ameliorate humansuffering in Nigeria, the condition remains dire, and the violenceagainst people remains to be a major concern.


The broad objective of the research was to establish stimulus andspill over effect of the oil sector on child marketing (trafficking)and human safety. Precisely, the research will look to establish theelements associated with the deterioration of the human securityconditions in the country, which is attributed to the country’s oilindustry. At the same time, the researcher aims to explain theassociation between the oil industry and rampant child traffickingthat it experienced in the country. In detail, the paper will addressthe nature of the oil industry, and elements of it that areintrinsically linked with violence, social unrest, politicalinstability, economic problems, environmental degradation, andmilitia involvement in the oil industry, all which are ingredientsfor the deterioration of human security. While at it, the paper willalso address the forces behind need for child labour, minors’sexual abuse, widespread poverty and child militia, which are some ofthe major causes of child trafficking in the region.

1.5Scope of the study

This study was conducted within the scope of human security as put inthe United Nations. The scope of human security, as such, redirectedattention from the national level to the human communities that arethe most vulnerable. The harm to human security goes beyond thephysical harm, extending to emotional and social wellbeing. Withoutaddressing any particular tenet more than the other addresses, thestudy investigated the impact of the Nigerian oil industry to theseven tenets of human security. These are environmental, economic,political, food, health, personal and communal security. Whilstlooking at Nigeria as a whole country, the study focused more on theNiger Delta region. This is because it is the largest producer regionof oil in the country, meaning that it is the most affected. Whileaddressing the issue of child trafficking, the researcher focused onthe oil industry. This is because child trafficking in Nigeria isrampant, and there are many elements related to this illegal trade.As such, for clarity, and to limit the scope, the study focused onchild tracking as influenced by the oil industry. At the same time,the author treated the issue of child trafficking as a human securityissue under the umbrella of economic, personal, and communal securitytenets of human security.

Figure 1: Conceptual scope of the study.

1.6Significance of the study

The findings of this study will be beneficial to researchers andpolicy makers who are interested in studying the challenges of thegrowing oil industry, in not only Nigeria, but also other countriesthat are facing similar problems. While using the findings,researchers can get ideas on developing more detailed studies, whichnot only bridge the lack of knowledge in the subject, but alsoaddress technical issues that are associated with the topic. At thesame time, the findings will be useful to policy and lawmakers, whoare entrusted with protecting the civilian population. These includepoliticians and diplomats affiliated to international relief bodies.For scholars, the paper will help them to explore critical areas inhuman sociology, which are attributed to natural resources and humanexistence. As such, the research paper expands the theory of humanbehaviour, mutual existence and socio-political organization.

1.7Theoretical framework

The term “human security” is associated with the HumanDevelopment Report by Mahbub Ul Haq (Malik 2013). Regardless, theterm was used in earlier conferences, where delegates from differentcountries came together to discuss the position of global humansafety. The underlying intention of describing human security was toclose the existing gap between want and freedom from fear. Thesefreedoms are described by the United Nations. According to proponentsof human security, the battle to secure peace for humanity has beenfought on two major fronts (Chandler 2012). The first one is theeconomic and social front. To achieve human security in this front,there has to total guarantee of separating freedom from want. Thesecond front is the security front. According to this front,achieving human security is highlighted by separating freedom fromfear. This means that the people live comfortably within theircommunities, and are in no fear of any harm to their existence.Theoretically, there are four major characteristics of humansecurity.

Primarily, human security is a collective concern, meaning that it isachieved through the collaboration of global stakeholders. As such,there are no limits to achieving human security, regardless of thedifferences in social, economic, political, or racial status.Secondly, all components of human security are interdependent. Thesuccess or failure of one influences the others. At the same time,human security is better assured than regretted. This implies that itis cheaper to help communities enjoy human security, rather than helpthem recover after experiencing deprivation. Finally, human securityis centred around people. Regardless of anyone or any community’sposition, they all influence and enjoy the fruits of human security.

The constitutive and economic theories will be applied to study childtrafficking. According to the constitutive theory, power and equalityare the main building blocks of socially constructed harm anddeprivation (Moore 2011). While the interconnectedness of the societycannot be explained without the cultural and structural contexts, thetheory holds that certain types of crimes are geographies that aremore pertinent to given. According to constitutive criminologist, theexcessive investors are people who use any means to achieve desiredoutcomes, while the victims are the disabled party who cannot defendtheir human dignity. The theory subjectively describes thevulnerability of victims to human traffickers. On the other hand, theeconomic theory explains crimes and behaviours that are driven bybenefits, accrued from participation (Donnely 2013). According tothis theory, people make decisions to gain from illegal activities,just the same way that they would to gain from legal activities. Thistheory postulates that the criminals take actions because thebenefits outweigh the possibility of being apprehended and made topay for their actions.


This chapter scrutinises the prevailing literature on the oilindustry and its association with a number of social, political andeconomic aspects of state. These aspects are directly or indirectlylinked to human security and child trafficking. For cleardescription, the researcher defines literature review as a set ofscholarly articles, published documents, books and reports thatentail the existing literature on the topic. This literature ischaracterized by substantive findings that are based onmethodological and theoretical frameworks.

2.2Overview of the oil industry

The oil trade or production is one of the principal engines of globaleconomic growth (Haufler 2013). In countries that have oil reserves,the governments, in collaboration with the private sector, have beenable to expand the oil industry to handle economic, social andpolitical progress of the people. According to Haufler (2013), whenall direct and indirect linkages are factored, the oil industryaccounts for about a third of the global Gross Domestic Product(GDP). However, despite there being an established overall importanceof the oil industry, there is relatively little quantitativeinformation about the structure of operations and complexity of itsexploration. Haufler (2013) says that this is the reason the oilindustry has been associated with some of the direst activities thathave rocked the very social fabric of co-existence.

Globally, Nigeria is the 10th largest producer of oil(Kadafa 2012). Up to the moment it was overtaken by Algeria, thecountry remained to be the top producer in Africa. A large bulk ofthe foreign exchange is based on the oil trade, which since itsdiscovery, has been the backbone of the country’s economy.According to Kadafa (2012), the country’s oil reserves stood atabout 35 billion barrels by the end of 2008. Almost all of thecountry’s oil wells are located in the Niger Delta. According tothe government definition, the Niger Delta covers about 7.5% of thecountry’s land mass (Ross 2012). Besides the revenue that thecountry collects from the oil business, the contribution that thesame makes to the country’s GDP shows how much the economy isdependent on the industry. Now, there are well over 20 local andinternational companies that are involved in the Nigerian oilindustry, ranging from exploration, mining, refinery and distribution(Ross 2012).

2.3Conflict and social unrest

According to Barnea and Rubin (2010), oil companies play a role ingiving rise to conflict and social unrest in countries andcommunities where thy operate. Obi (2010) makes special reference tothe Delta region in Nigeria. In this region, there has been increasedtheft, facilitated by conflicting interest between the oil companiesand the local communities that has led so social unrest. Militias getinvolve in the theft and vandalizing of the oil infrastructure,citing ignorance by the government and mining companies in addressingmatters that pertain to the well-being of the local communities.However, as Ibaba and Ikelegbe (2010) note, the leaders of themilitias that are involved in conflicts with the oil companies andthe government are cartels, who have more selfish interests thancommunal interest at heart. At the same time, the Willink CommissionReport of 1958 indicated that the manner in which the oil companiesassociated with the local communities was very likely to fuel hatredand violence among the people, hence, leading to social unrest(Akpabio and Akpan 2010).

According to Ifedi and Anyu (2011), government’s management of theoil industry plays a role in social unrest and disorder. There havebeen recurring criticisms of the way that Africa’s oil producingcountries’ governments have lacked transparency and integrity inhandling the key sector. As such, it becomes difficult understand thepotential that the oil sector has in improving the lives of thepeople. According to Ihua (2010), this misunderstanding leads to themismanagement of the oil industry, which in turn goes deep intoaffecting the communities where the oil in mined. Lack of knowledgein matters influencing the structure and composition of the oilindustry lead to chaos, which ultimately turn into socialinefficiency in the handling of oil matters. Ovadia (2012) is of thefeeling that few African countries have addressed the issue oftransparency and integrity in the oil sector. While some have donethis independently, a majority have taken the action after beingcoerced into joining regional oil production partnerships.

Despite their oil wealth, poverty remains widespread in countriesproducing oil, especially in Africa. According to Sala-i-Martin andPinkovskiy (2010), less than 8% of the Nigerian population was ableto survive on more than 2 dollars a day by 2010. The country’simplementation of federal and state plans has not been able toaddress the widespread poverty, even in communities where the oilwells are located. Anyawu and Erhijakpor (2010) cite the lack oflong-term commercial and social advancement stratagems as theexplanations behind the widespread poverty in some oil-richcountries. Unsustainable utilization of the oil revenue leads to manyforms of social unrest, manifested in disease, insecurity, crime andlack of basic human needs. While the governments involved in the oilcrises have established commissions to carry out developmentprojects, little has been done to alleviate the situation at thecommunal level. There is little that is being done to address theissue, for instance, lack of comprehensive engagement of allstakeholders that are involved (Home and Lim 2013).

2.4 Application of human security

In their work, Matthew et al. (2010) describe human security as adynamic and practical policy that is applied in a variety ofsituations, which involve threats facing the people and challenges ingovernments. As such, they assert that all stakeholders in humansecurity must recognize the fact that human security diverse acrossvarious countries and regions. Human security therefore needs acollective action that needs the assessment of human insecurities,which in essence, has to be people-centred. According to Newman(2010), besides being preventive, human security also needs to becomprehensive enough to cover every aspect of the socialorganization. Chandler (2012) asserts that it is imperative forgovernments and other stakeholders involved in guaranteeing humansecurity to identify the concrete needs of populations that are underpressure. In doing so, they will be able to address the matters thatdetail their well-being, co-existence and freedom from internal andexternal threats.

Snyder (2011) asserts that governments hold the biggestresponsibility for ensuring human security. This is by ensuring thatthey put in place mechanisms for safeguarding the livelihood,property and dignity of communities. However, Snyder (2011) assertsthat some threats have proven to be beyond the control of thegovernment or any individuals. These include natural disasters andothers that are associated with human error that is beyond control.However, Dodds and Pippard (2013) argue that a majority of threats tohuman security are manageable, as long as there is substantial effortfrom the government and other stakeholders. In this regard, Black,Shaw and MacLean (2013) support the idea that assessing the realitiesof the ground forms basis for structuring frameworks to deal withresponses that are proactive and sustainable. At the same time, therole of regional and sub-regional organizations in ensuring humansecurity is instrumental in the campaign.

Cilliers (2004) looks at the issue of human security in Africa.According to him, the first action by policy-makers when it comes todiscussing human security in the continent is to argue thatdevelopment improves the people’s livelihoods. By doing this,people are less likely to be involved in conflicts, such asinter-communal clashes, hence, doing away with the threat to humansecurity. However, Aiyede (2010) counters this argument, noting thathuman security in Africa boils down to ensuring that the means ofdevelopment are sustainable. Through this, the policy makers can forma framework for conflict prevention, given that many national crisesin Africa are associated with development, especially through thatmaterializing out of natural resources. Black, Shaw and MacLean(2013) closely inspect the lack of evidence of the relationshipbetween economic development and human security. In conclusion, hemaintains that Africa still suffers from an economic and ecologicaluncertainty, which ultimately turns into a threat to sustainabledevelopment. Additionally, Goldstone et al. (2010) assert the factthat political democracy in Africa is still in its infant stages,hence affecting the manner in which governments manage developmentand human security.

Onuoha (2011) exemplifies the case of human security in Nigeria,saying that despite the fact that the country experienced commodityprice boom in the 1970s, the government has not yet been able tosecure fully human security for its citizens. The economicdevelopment, facilitated by natural resources, has not been able tobe stabilized to achieve sustenance for future generations. However,Scheffran et al. (2012) say that the country has been facing thereality of having to build a strong foundation to achieve humansecurity. This has been through humanitarian aid, regulation ofnatural resource exploitation, involvement of communities in peacebuilding and consolidation of the socio-economic status of thecountry. Regardless, using the Niger Delta as the point of focus, Obi(2010) denies that any substantial efforts, befitting the moderntimes, have been implemented to ensure that human security in thecountry is safeguarded.

2.5Child trafficking

Many authors have documented the influence of conflicts on childtrafficking. According to Fong and Cardoso (2010), a large number ofchildren are trafficked to serve as child soldiers, labourers, andsex workers in conflict zones. This has raised global awareness, andmore attention has been paid to the issue of forcefully separatingchildren from their parents and communities, and transporting themelsewhere, illegally. According to reports by human rights agencies,hundreds of thousand so children are moved from their places ofresidence to serve as child soldiers, fighting in civil wars andother related conflicts (Conradi 2013). Cardoso (2010) asserts thatthe children are targeted primarily for two main reasons. First, theyare easily convinced and brainwashed to dedicate their lives tofighting for warlords. Secondly, the children’s’ loyalty can bebought easily. This is by giving them a false sense of freedom, byciting the freedom to use drugs and kill without being heldaccountable. According to Conradi (2013) abducted children offerlittle resistance after being assimilated into militia fighting invarious armed conflicts.

Fong and Cardoso (2010) identify sex slavery as a leading cause ofchild trafficking across the world. According to them, commercialexploitation of minors for sexual reasons has gradually become aninternational concern. Child trafficking that is associated withsexual exploitation is manifested in some forms. These are childrenworking in brothels, child pornography, prostitution, and sex tourism(Shelley 2010). In Africa, many female children are trafficked andused as sexual tools for militia fighting in armed conflicts. This ismostly experienced in conflict zones that are associated withpolitical struggle, natural resources conflicts, and other relatedcauses. While the exact number of children that are trafficked forsexual exploits is not static, Blackburn et al. (2010) say thathundreds of thousands of children are victimized every year acrossthe world.

Mclee (2013) likens child trafficking for labour purposes with thatof adult trafficking. While addressing the issue, he acknowledgesthat a majority of the existing literature has focused on childtrafficking for sexual exploitation. However, over recent years,scholars have noted that there is a rise in child trafficking forlabour reasons. This, as Wheaton, Schauer and Galli (2010) assert, isnot a new phenomenon, but there are indications that the issue is setto attract more attention as the other forms of child trafficking do.According to MacKinnon (2011), there is subjective evidence that doesnot support the existence of child trafficking from African nationsto Western nations for the purposes of labour exploitation. Childrenare less likely to be victimized when it comes to human traffickingfor the purpose of skilled labour. As such, Huijsmans and Baker(2012) note that child trafficking in developing and underdevelopedcountries, especially in Africa, are for unskilled labour. On thispoint, Raffrty (2013) poses that there is lack of sufficient evidenceto inform scholars on the exact scale of child trafficking that goeson in Africa for labour purposes.

Despite the existing evidence that most of child trafficking forlabour purposes occurs in many parts of Africa, scholars agree thatregions hit with social conflicts suffer the most (Swadogo 2012).This is because such regions are largely underdeveloped, when itcomes to evaluating the levels of education and living standards thatthey have. As such, most parents sell off their children, or in mostcases, they are robbed of their children, who go to provide labourfor their masters (Swadogo 2012). In Africa, McCulloch and Pickering(2012) assert that identifying children who are victimized may bequite challenging. This is because there are many children who workvoluntarily to support themselves and their kin economically. At thesame time, another factor that hinders subjective identification ofchild labour victims is the lack of clarity surrounding theresponsibility of these children. This is in realization that somechildren victims of child labour work alongside their parents inlabour camps. Regardless, Rafferty (2013) says that areas sufferingfrom social and armed conflict, such as natural resource exploitationzones, record the highest number of illegal child trafficking forlabour reasons.

2.6 Theoil-security connection

Many case studies have been conducted to evaluate the relationshipbetween the oil industry and human security conflict. According toPeet, Robbins and Watts (2010), many scholars have reinforced theview that the nature of the oil industry and conflict linkage is dueto some factors that can be controlled by the governments andindividuals. These factors are political, economic, and social. Peetet al. (2010) add that there are some cultural and historicalcontexts that cannot be overlooked while addressing the same. Theseinclude the manner in which people treat the natural resources, andthe historical handling of the same within their communities.According to Johansson (2013), there are disagreeing factors thatstrengthen the major threats that make the oil industry a riskyengagement. These include the expectations of the masses, handling ofthe income by the government, and involvement of parties withconflicting interests. When not properly addressed, the people areput at risk of losing their freedom, and being plunged into chaosthat are worsened by the unsustainable growth of the oil industry(Johansson 2013).

However, Goldthau and Witte (2010) assert that bad governance is themain source of problems related to the oil industry. According tothem, developing countries are always falling short of theexpectations of taking care of their natural resources in a sensiblemanner. Van Gyampo (2011) adds that bad regulations and enforcementcapacities are elements of poor governance, which continue to affectdeveloping countries. The governments, while taking responsibility ofoverlooking the oil industry, fail to ensure equitable distributionof the wealth, hence introducing some degree of unreliability. Patey(2010), while looking at the case of Sudan’s oil industry, explainsthat this fosters mistrust in the government’s handling of thenatural resources, hence introducing social disorder in thecountries. In response, grievances develop out of the need forvarious quotas to receive attention, which mostly turns out to bechaotic. As Oshwofasa, Anuta and Aiyedogbon (2012) add, failure ofthe government mechanisms to handle and control the masses leads toillegal activities being carried out by perpetrators of conflict.Scholars have aligned this explanation with the existence of socialdisorder in oil rich countries, leading to widespread disrespect ofhuman dignity.

In all countries that face human crisis due to their oil industry’sinstability, Oshwofasa et al. (2012) say that the core challenge hasbeen establishing efficient counter strategies. Given the transitioninto a globalized world, some countries have lagged behind in termsof educating their masses on the importance of unity, more so when itcomes to managing the expanding oil industry. Oluduro and Oluduro(2012) assert that there is preliminary evidence showing thatcountries with human crises that are related with the oil industry,such as South Sudan and Nigeria, have weak conflict-resolutionstrategies. Instead of coming up with meaningful ways of solvinghuman crises that continue to affect the citizens, these governmentsare more engaged in expanding the oil industry and growing to thelevel of other countries, which have stabilized oil industries.

While doing this, governments lose control of some key aspects ofsustainable development, such as the involvement of communities inthe management of the oil revenue. Conca and Wallace (2012) term thisas lack of prioritization. While doing this, militias and othergroups get involved in controlling local oil wells, as seen in thecase of the Delta region. This gives room to human rights abuses, andtotal lack of respect for life and property. Despite there being anumber of programs initiated by the governments and otherstakeholders to revert this, the oil industry conflict continues tobe a foremost challenge for the oil producing nations.

In the context of the oil industry, Herman and Ming-Yen (2011)explain that issues that are related to the provision of basic humanneeds, such as the distribution of oil wealth and access to basicamenities, lead to human conflict. Those who feel that they have beendeprived of their rights often join and from groups to fight back atthe government and forcefully obtain what they feel is rightfullytheirs. Herman and Ming-Yen (2011) relate this observation with whathappens in the Congo, where mall militias have increased in number.These militias often use illegal means to gain from the naturalresources in their communities. Ewetan and Ese (2014) say that thepresence of social disorders in oil producing regions is anindication of the absence of conditions that ensure equitability inresource allocation. While going for individual growth, cartelscontrolling local oil wells often engage in activities that definehuman security.

2.7 TheNigerian dilemma

Numerous author’s literature on sustainable development, especiallyin the context of interpreting the role of the oil industry in thepeople’s futures, recognizes the factors that governments lackapproaches and strategies for realization of sustainability (Kogerand Winter 2011 Crittenden et al., 2011 and Lovell, 2010). Nigerialike other Oil-producing African nations has faced interminableskirmishes and conflicts mostly related to the oil industry. Overtime, the government has attempted to put in place policies toregulate the management of oil wells, and the actions by the oilcompanies. However, like in many African countries, Nigeria’sauthorities have been unable to control various elements of the oilindustry that are intrinsically associated with human security. Forinstance, environmental problems are specifically related to thewider concept of sustainable development.

Destruction of the animal and human habitats leads to imbalances inthe ecology, which Peet et al. (2010) assert that has a definiteeffect on human security. By lacking policies and mechanisms toprevent environmental disasters facilitated by the oil industry, thegovernment fails to secure people’s basic needs. According toPfeiffer (2013), lacking the gifts of the environment, such as food,water and shelter, deny the people the basic needs of life, henceleading to chaos. These chaos are responsible for the deterioratinghuman security and related disasters.

Ghai and Vivian (2014) say that throughout human history, theconstraints occasioned by declining environmental conditions havebeen held responsible for low level of human security. In oilproducing countries, like Nigeria, Scheffran et al. (2012) assertthat risks to human security are hard to do away with. A number ofenvironmentalists have asserted that there are complex relationships,occurring at different scales, which place the oil industry as one ofthe main threats to human security. These complex relationships arehighlighted by the global and local climate changes, economies ofscale and inter-communal relationships. According to Sovacool andMurherjee (2011), oil-producing countries face the challenge ofexplaining the transition from the concerns over human security anddevelopment, as linked with the oil industry. However, Sovacool andMukherjee (2011) fear that there are some serious concerns about thepossibilities of having responsible governments that can address theissue of human security, as far as regulation and control of the oilindustry is concerned.

However, a number of scholars hold a strong argument that Nigeria’soil industry, especially in the Niger Delta, are driven more bygrievances (Mahler (2010 Ukiwo 2011). This argument holds water,going by the fact that there is a set of complex issues that can beexplained to characterize human suffering that is experienced in thecountry. Traditionally, local historians and scholars hold the factthat oil in the country has been more of a curse than it has been ablessing (Mahler, 2010). This is deduced from the manner in which theauthorities and other people involved in exploiting this naturalresource have handled matters. For instance, the government, whileusing its legal tools to take over the oil field, has failed inequitably distributing the oil resources. There has been a reactionfrom local politicians and other stakeholders in the way that the oilmining is conducted, for instance, the awarding of contracts tocompanies to handle the exploration. Ukiwo (2011) says that thisgives room for the entry of troublemakers, whose actions lead to thedestruction of property and human life. In the midst of it all, humansecurity is undermined, and the oil industry becomes a curse to thenation altogether.

Methodological studies in the country’s oil industry haveestablished antagonism between the oil companies and the authorities(Ugoh and Ukrpere 2010). This, when mixed with factors such asenvironmental degradation and entry of militias, leads to chaotichandling of the entire oil industry. Ibaba and Ikelegbe (2010)describe the engagement of various stakeholders in the country’soil industry as repressive and conflictual. Violations of basic humanrights, abductions and killings are the highlights of the conflictsthat the Niger Delta faces. In his study, Nwajiaku-Dahou (2012)describes structural violence, which is an aspect of violence thatinvolves social and political forces. These are forces that fight toattempt to balance out the issue of revenue allocation and wealthdistribution, which, however, end in social injustices. Some of thoseinvolved in this are identified as local environmental groups thattrigger violence among communities. The violence is manifested inkidnappings, human trafficking, attacks on property, killings andmany other forms of social injustices (Nwajiaku-Dahou 2012).


This literature review has covered major issues that are associatedwith oil industry. Many authors have established that despite thefortune and blessings that are associated with this sector, there isconvincing evidence that the industry has its major shortcomings.Besides the natural disasters that are occasioned by poor handling ofthe oil reserves, some challenges that are associated with the oilindustry are connected with human greed and dissatisfaction. Manyforms of violence and injustice, and in this context, human securityand child trafficking, are products of the mishandling of the oilindustry. While there are a number of countries that have maderecommendable steps towards the management of the oil industry, many,and mainly in Africa, still lag behind. This is because thesecountries have not been able to manage sustainable development fortheir oil industries. However, there is still lack of extensiveliterature to establish a direct connection on the stimulus effect ofthe industry on human safety and child trafficking in Nigeria. Thenext part proffers the methodology that the researcher utilized tostudy this topic.

CHAPTER 3: METHODOLOGY3.1Epistemological standpoint

The researcher took an epistemological standpoint whilst designing amethodology to study the topic. As such, the human safety approachwas used to provide discussions of the impact of the oil industry onhuman safety and child trafficking in the country. One of theunderlying assumptions is the reality does not exist as a positivistnotion. Instead, the researcher opted for a constructivist approach.According to Stewart (2010), researchers who aim to understand theworld of human experience use the constructivist paradigm, alsocommonly known as the interpretivist paradigm in research. Theparadigm suggests that reality is indeed socially constructed.Additionally, despite the fact that most constructivist researchapproach avoids relying on theories, scholars generate a pattern ofmeanings from the process. At the same time, the technique allows forthe use of qualitative and quantitative data to study the phenomenaand make meaning out of observations.

As such, the researcher relied on the assumption that the notions ofhuman security and child trafficking are socially constructed.According to the conceptual framework suggested by Stewart (2010), asocially constructed phenomenon is one that has many actors, playingat different levels, however, having an equal and measurable impacton the outcome. In this framework, there are relational systems anddiscourses that are interrelated, and function to produce an impacton the general phenomena. The research, therefore, brought the humansecurities factors into play, and constructed a framework thatapplies specifically to the area of study, Nigeria. While consideringthis, it was crucial to factor in the role of the community, policymakers, various stakeholders and the tradition of security within thecommunities. Below is the framework upon which this research’smethodology was based upon.

The discourse theory was also instrumental. The study approach usesthis to inform researchers about the nature and operation ofsocieties. Given that the topic of research cannot be limited to aspecific community in the society, there is need to integrate otherdiscourses, to exhaustively investigate the variables. As such, theaim of the methodology was not just to uncover the objective reality,but also to explain the source of the reality. By doing this, theresearcher was in a position of rightly including knowledge fromother sources hence, make a meaningful discussion of the topic.

While undertaking this study, the researcher held and assumptionthat state security that people’s perception of their security weredetermined by various interests from a number of stakeholders. Assuch, the decision-making process, when it comes to issues of thepeople’s security, is part of the entire human security matter. Assuch, while carrying out the study, the researcher took intoconsideration three major factors. The first one was the policymakers. The policy makers include the oil companies’administrations and representative from the government, all who playa role in the general human security issue. The second one was thecommunity. The community, in this context, is the most affectedgroup. This is because the members of the community are the ones whoare directly affected by human security. The third one isacademicians. This includes scholars and researchers who have studiedthe phenomena of human security and child trafficking, which are thecentre of this research.

3.2 Researcher’s role

This research was conducted in Nigeria. Given a wide knowledge of thecountry’s geopolitics and foreign matters, the opinion of theresearcher, and all assumptions taken, were judged to be wellinformed. The researcher therefore does not distant self from theopinions that were made in the build up to this research. In personalperception, the theory of human security, which is identified as thetheoretical and methodological frameworks of this research, helped todevelop a well-informed discussion about various elements of thestudy topic.

3.3Field study methods

The methods of data collection and compilation were determined onepistemological foundations. This included interviewing selectedparticipants, who were used to gather multi-faceted opinions on thetopic of study. At the same time, the information that was recordedin approved publications was widely applied in discussing the topic.Using the epistemological approach, the researcher had in mind fourpossible sources of information. The first one was intuitiveknowledge. This one is based on human beliefs. In Nigeria, applyingthis assumption guided the researcher in obtaining crucialinformation, given the country’s deeply rooted belief system. Thisapproach helps researchers to obtain knowledge that is driven by thecultural orientation of the people, and relies on facts about thecommunity.

The second source of knowledge under the epistemological researchparadigm is authorization knowledge. This is one that is obtainedfrom publications such as books and research articles. The same waswidely applied whilst reviewing literature in preparation for theactual research. The third one was logical knowledge. While studyingthis topic, the researcher applied logical reasoning to deductmeaning from the information that was available. This approach waskey in the discussion chapter. The final source of information underthe umbrella of epistemological approach is empirical knowledge.Using this, the researcher relied on objective facts. The facts canbe established, and at the same time, be categorically demonstrated.According to Stewart (2011), a social research study, such as thisone, can integrate all of these sources of knowledge within a singlestudy. This enables the researcher to explore a problem within aselected research area, and in doing so, analyse the findingsobjectively.

Having applied this approach, the researcher established that themethodology would expand the knowledge in theory. The topic, beingwide in nature, could, consequently, be studied within the context ofthe Nigerian oil industry, and produce facts that are limited inscope. This eliminates instances of ambiguity. For instance, humansecurity is a topic that can be studied in any region in the world.Consequently, is child trafficking. However, by using theepistemological approach, the researcher makes a distinction, andinvestigates elements of the topic that are pertinent to the area ofstudy. This means that objectivity in the study was assured, and thevariables in the study were observed in a unique way. At the sametie, in wider bearing, the findings of the study, as facilitated bythe epistemological research approach, would have a meaning withinthe context of social constructivism of “reality”. Accordingly,the researcher adopts positivism, and developed and empiricistperspective of the topic.

3.4 Methods and tools3.4.1Open-ended interviews

Interviews are the process whereby researchers obtain informationpertinent to the study topic from a willing, voluntary participant.Open-ended interviews are generally collaborative. While both theinterviewer and the interviewee take part in the process, theinterviewer is general control of the entire session, oftendetermining the path that the conversation takes. Using aconstructivism approach conversely, the interviewer avoids givingdirect instructions, or dictating the path that the interview takes.This is to ensure that in the long run, the process produces aparticular representation of the opinions of the participant. Whilethere might be some presumptions made by the interviewer before theinterview itself, the final opinion that is counted is that of theinterviewee. As such, the researcher asserts that the opinions thatwere gathered from the interview process were individual accounts ofthe participants.

Both professionals and non-professionals were interviewed. Theprofessionals were used to give informed opinion about the statisticsand professional documents, while the laymen were used to give a rawopinion. While interviewing the professionals, the researcher had anassumption that their opinion was reflective of the actions of thepolicy makers, oil companies and the government. However, there waslittle connection being made to the institutions that they workedfor. Additionally, it was assumed that the professionals’ opinionswould conflict the thoughts of the researcher, and as such, referencewas made to the theoretical underpinnings of the study, to affirm ordiscredit contrary opinions. Regardless, the information given byboth parties, the professionals and non-professionals, was used toguide the discussion of the topic as much as possible. Further, theopinions were integrated with the findings from officially publisheddocuments, whose method of usage is discussed next.

3.4.2Published documents

The researcher used published works from online databases and libraryinventories. Scientific works were used, especially explaining indetail the fundamentals of constructivist research, alongside othertheoretical publications from renowned scholars. At the same time,statistical data on the topic was sourced from published documents,both hard copy and soft copy. The numerical data used includednumbers and facts about the contemporary state in the country, as faras the research topic is involved. The information that was collectedfrom the published documents was not limited to the fieldwork only. In this realization, the researcher heavily relied on informationavailable through online resources. This included official websitesthat provide information about human security situation in Nigeria,and information about child trafficking. Both aspects of the topicare widely covered by government agencies and other independentbodies. Given that there are many publications available over theInternet, all providing relevant information to the topic, theresearcher narrowed down to those produced by acknowledged sources.

3.5Research ethics

Of prominence was the anonymity of the research participants.According to Bell (2014), making data anonymous means that theresearcher has to omit the participants’ name. However, there aremany other steps that can be taken to uphold a participants’anonymity. This includes giving information that can identify thegeneral characteristics of the participant, but not giving exact orlegal information. For instance, giving a different male name to amale participant works in protecting his identity, and stillmaintaining his gender characteristics. At the same time, theresearcher avoided asking the participants to reveal deep informationabout their personality, for instance, the positions they hold in thesociety, particularly in affected areas.

At the same time, the researcher guaranteed the participants thatthe evidence they revealed would only be used for the purpose of thestudy. The researcher informed them of the nature of the study, andits possible implications. In addition, the participants were madeaware of the impact of their participation, for instance, the shapingof the public opinion about their social group. Regardless, theparticipants were informed that the information that they gave wouldbe made available to relevant bodies, such as authorities andlibraries, of any justifiable need arose. However, to assure them oftheir safety, they were reminded that there were no tangibleconsequences that would be associated with their participation in theresearch.

Finally, given that a large portion of the information used in theresearch was obtained from works published by other researchers andorganizations, the researcher made all efforts to acknowledgerightfully the sources. Besides upholding the integrity of theresearch, this measure was applied to avoid academic dishonesty.While it is realized that most of the information obtained from thesecondary sources had been made public by the owners, who includedauthors and publishers, acknowledging the sources demonstratedrespect to ownership and credit to intellectual property.

3.6Research experience

While conducting the research, the researcher experienced difficultyaccessing the right people to acquire the information from. Forinstance, to acquire unbiased and objective information for thatmatter, the researcher had to travel to meet personally therespondents. Additionally, some of the participants were reluctant togive some important information, based on the sensitivity of theissue. The researcher also felt that some of the professionalopinions gathered may have been influenced by independent evaluationof the matter, as such, making it difficult to approve scientificallythe facts. However, in a positivist-constructivist research, theinformation that is obtained from the field must be treated withdependency. There was also a unique challenge from obtaininginformation from the internet. A good number of the publications arenot peer-reviewed. However, this challenge was easy to overcome,given that there are numerous official public websites and researcharticle databases that provide credible information. Finally, giventhat a study of a social phenomenon is most likely to result in manyinterpretations, the researcher faced a unique challenge of givingthe best-informed interpretation of the findings. To counter this,the researcher verified the validity of interpretations whilstcompiling the paper.

3.7Summary of methodology

The study had some advantages and disadvantages. Firstly, given thatthere are a number of scholars that have looked at the issue,fact-finding was not challenging. At the same time, the researchertook advantage of the role that the internet has played in makingmodern-day studies easy and quick. For instance, by using theinternet, the researcher was able to contact far-away participants,who were key in the fact-finding process. At the same time, by usingthe strong research tools that have been developed for research, suchas Google Scholar and Ebsco databases, the researcher obtained highlyvalid material. However, the most significant disadvantage was thedistance to the area of study. Secondly, the timing of the study wasnot appropriate, given that the country had just come from a majorpolitical process. This, in the opinion of the researcher, may affectsome important elements of human security in the region. At the sametime, with the entry of the terrorist threat, some aspects ofchild-trafficking may be intertwined with the terrorist’sactivities and the oil industry.

CHAPTER 4: DISCUSSION4.1Impact of the industry –State level

The local content, in the framework of the Nigerian Oil Sectormaterial, is the compound worth created in the Nigerian economythrough the exploitation of resources both natural and human, in thedelivery of products, facilities, and services to the oil industry(Ihua 2010). However, the chairperson of Nigeria’s Committee onupstream petroleum claims that the indigenous content means differentthings to dissimilar people. Regardless, scholars agree that thelocal content has to be viewed from the community contentperspective, stating that it is the realization of the wellbeing ofthe local population and the economic policy that affects the people.The policy is negotiated by the government and local oil companies,to ensure that in the long run, it is the Nigerian people who benefitfrom the oil industry. In Nigeria, a bill that was proposed so thatthe citizens could take up the largest percentage of the managerialand supervisory positions affects the local content policy. At thesame time, the government ensured that it made all necessary changesso that the capacity achieved by the local content consciously builtthe well-being of the local people, while consequently influencingnational interests. All these are in effort to ensure that therevenue from the oil industry positively affects the localcommunities, and keep the national interests in check.

Given the national and federal government’s position on theNigerian oil industry local content policy, the ultimate goal is toimprove the country’s economic growth, and to raise consequentlythe living standards of the people. As such, it is concluded that theimprovement of the living standards of the people is all dependent onthe national policy on the growth sector. By considering the policiesimplemented by the national government, naming the economic sphere isone of the most crucial elements of safeguarding the interests of thepeople. As per the analysis of the Nigerian oil market by Taiwo(2010), the fuel and energy complex are the backbone of the country’seconomic development. This implies that the fuel and energy complexare the guidelines for the securing of the people’s right todevelopment, which ultimately has an effect on the safeguarding oftheir human security.

The diagram below is a demonstration of how the country’s oilindustry accounts for the biggest percentage of production andconsumption, in terms of the fuel complex.

Figure2: Graphical representation of the Nigerian fuel complex since 1980.Source (Index Mundi, 2015).

By considering the above figures, it is possible to tell how thecomplex is an instrument in the achievement of national humansecurity. At the same time, Nigeria’s economy can illustrate thisobservation. Primarily, the Nigerian economy is export oriented. Themajor goods for export are those that come from the oil industry, andinclude natural gas, petroleum and other oil products. According tothe OEC, the country is the 41 largest exporter in the world. The topexports are crude Petroleum, which account for about $75.3B.Petroleum gas follows at $10.3B (OEC, 2015). This means the oilindustry makes up for a large percentage of the country’s taxrevenue. Naturally, the interest of the state in the economic sphere,therefore, puts many expectations in the oil industry. Given thecountry’s present 35% GDP dependence on the oil industry, it isconcluded that the state is likely to implement strategies toincrease the same over the next years. An inference of this is thatthe fiscal, social and political well-being of the Nigerian peopleis, and will continue, to be majorly influenced by the oil industry.

4.2Regional level

To evaluate the influence of the oil industry on the people, on aregional level, it was imperative for the researcher to determine howthe people themselves felt about the importance of the industry intheir lives. Given this, the researcher discussed the theoreticalelements of human security with the people. However, to put mattersin perspective, the people were asked to give their opinion on themeaning of security, and how they thought the oil industry influencedthe same. Prior to the exercise, the researcher established that theNigerians derived their security from belonging to a community(Adebakin and Raimi 2012 Prata et al 2012). This means that thepeople are highly dependent on the sense of collectiveness andidentity. Adumbi (2015) writes that in the Niger Delta, the oileconomy shapes the perception of livelihood and belonging. By comingtogether in groups, the locals create oil identities (given that itis the main commodity that shapes their economy), and governthemselves internally. However, given the interference by government,organizational and military factions, and the sense of security thatthey derive from the sense of belonging is disturbed. The next partdiscusses the sense of security among the locals, as it wasestablished from the field study.

4.3Sense of human security from respondents

The first task was to investigate how the oil industry influenced theNigerian’ people’s identity. The oil fields were previouslyherding and fishing grounds for the local communities. However, theoil business has now shifted the focus from this traditionaleconomics to a modern one, one which was introduced by who the localsconsider as “guests”. Presently, the population around the NigerDelta is composed of indigenous people, and others. The indigenouspeople are considered as those who indigenously occupied the land,and who have been inheriting it from their ancestors. They areprimarily composed of the Ogoni tribesmen. They have occupied theNiger Delta for over 500 years, and their present number is about 1million people ( 2015). In Africa, ancestral land is highlyregarded as a blessing and culture passed down from the earliergenerations. The others are those who have been brought into theNiger Delta to participate in the oil industry. This includes peoplefrom all parts of Nigeria, and other foreigners, who have beenemployed by the oil companies.

In an interview with the head of a local organization, the researcherlearned that over the years, the indigenous people have always feltdisturbed by the presence of the oil companies in the area. This isprimarily because of the occupation of their ancestral lands, whichthey culturally highly regard. Of particular concern were thepollution of the agricultural land. Accordingly, the informantclaimed that their traditional ways of life have been affected in asignificant way. However, the impact has not been overly negative.The people can now enjoy technology, such as telephone and computers.Thus, from a constructivist evaluation of the situation, the stimuluseffect of the industry to the people of the Niger Delta pools bothtraditional and non-traditional elements.

Human security encompasses people’s values in the society. Inlight of this, the researcher set to obtain the value of Ogoni peoplein the Niger Delta, as influenced by the oil industry. In aninterview with the informant, the indigenous life of the people wasdescribed as follows:-

“The Ogoni people highly value their land. Through a traditionalmethod of farming, the people cultivate cassava and yams, which holda cultural and economic meaning to the community. This is animportant way to making a living. However, given the economies ofscale, facilitated by the expansion of the oil industry, the revenueobtained from these products is not very high. Regardless, the Ogonipeople have not profited from the oil exports. In fact, they feelthat the business is more of a curse than a blessing. The people’sagricultural production has been severely reduced, and the fertilityof the soil has been destroyed.” (Suanu, J., personal communication22 October 2015).

Ugoh and Ukpere (2010), Akpan (2010) and Ugbomeh and Atubi (2010)),while describing the impact of the oil industry to the Niger Delta,write about the feeling of the local people and their leaders. Thereare four main issues that are discussed in these publications. Thefirst one is that the farming land has either been reduced ordestroyed by the oil mining activities. Secondly, the companies thatare operating in the communities have failed to establish aconnection with the people, largely side lining them from theeconomic agenda. The same is blamed on the actions of the government.Regardless, there are mentions of the efforts by some organizationsto help the locals build schools and other social amenities, to helpthem progress economically and socially. At the same time, thesigning of contracts, where the indigenous people are left out,highlights lack of attention from the oil companies and thegovernment.

Using the above information, the constructivist approach informs thestudy that the main values are land, resources, environmental safety,economic security, preservation of culture and participation indecision making. Intrinsically, all these are elements of humansecurity. The values that are addressed in this discourse can betransformed into agents of threat to human security. These threatsdirectly affect the Nigerian peoples’ environmental wellbeing,economic wellbeing (which is manifested in the possibility of losingthe value of their cultural land), threats to their survival (viathe transformation of the dependence on the land as a source ofincome to oil, which is not serving them appropriately) and the needof the people to be involved in the larger decision making.

To establish the perception of the non-indigenous people, and thoseno-longer living in the Niger Delta, on the impact of the oilindustry on the Nigerian people’s human security, the researcherobtained feedback through an interview from one of the people workingfor an oil company in the area. Below is an interpretation of theinformant’s response: –

The oil industry has transformed the locals’ lives. Basically, theindustry has transformed their lives from the traditional to modernform. As someone with experience in the oil industry, I can say thatthis business is one of the best blessings ot the Nigerian people’slife. Over time, the oil companies have employed more and morelocals. Besides economically uplifting them, the industry haselevated their social classes, and opened them to the outside worlds.However, there are some detrimental impacts on the people. This ismostly brought about by the greed of local politicians, and theinvolvement of the militia in the industry. People are being killed,and their property destroyed, in the ongoing war between oil cartelsand the government. Additionally, there is an undeniableenvironmental catastrophe facilitated by the oil industry.”(George, K, (personal communication 22 October 2015).”

The second informant is a student in a local Nigerian University,whose family comes from the Niger Delta.

“The oil industry is all about the money that is involved. However,the environmental impact is scary. This made my family to lose allconnection with the oil business in the area. As such, by lacking aeconomic linkage with the oil industry, we had to move from Oloibiri.I now consider the town as narrow and dull, lacking development andcultural identity. People have quit their traditional way of life,and have assimilated themselves to a life that is shaped by the oilindustry. The number of crimes associated with this industry hasescalated significantly. While I cannot deny the positive influenceon the lives of the people, such as education and the economy, thecultural identity has been completely destroyed.” (Ofuna, S, (2015October 22), Personal Interview.

From the above interviews, it can be established that there aredifferent attitudes about the impact of the oil industry to thepeople’s human security. There are both positive and negativefeelings about the same. The first informant describes a totalpositive impact, while the second information describes a negativeone. However, both seem to address the issue about the people senseof gain from the oil industry. The informants describe therelationship between the economic and social wellbeing of the people,as influenced by the oil industry. While the industry is noted tohave had a measurable positive impact on the people’s economicimpact, the social perception of it is negative. This is because theindustry has facilitated the development of economic foundations,manifested in the development businesses and such. However, socially,the oil industry has deprived the people of their sense of belonging,for instance, by degrading their ancestral land and putting theirfuture livelihoods on the brink.

The researcher represents the feedback from the three respondentsgraphically. This is to evaluate the sense of human security, andthought of the interviewees, and general observations.

Respondent 1

Respondent 2

Respondent 3

Indigenous, head of local organization, directly impacted by oil field operations, little perspective on employment

Non-indigenous, working for an oil company, well informed in oil industry dynamics, holds a neutral view on impact of the business on the locals

Local, a student with informational background on the oil industry, family directly impacted by the oil industry




During the interview, the respondents were questioned about theirunderstanding of the concept of human security. The first respondentwas of the idea that security is what the future holds for thepeople. This means a decent living, and one free of deprivation ofhuman happiness. The second respondent was of the idea that humansecurity was mainly economic assurance for the future. The thirdrespondent was of the idea that human security was based on thebalance between economic and social welfare. The next part confersthe effect of the oil industry on human safety, according to the 7tenets of the same.

4.4Economic security

Economic benefits are treated as the most important when consideringthe impact of the oil industry to the people of Nigeria. In aconstructivist observation of the impact, the discourse consideredthe effect on the people’s employment, the tax that is generatedfrom the industry, which is used in developing the county, and thecreation of new jobs in the country.

The Royal Dutch Shell employs the largest number of Nigerians workingin the oil industry. The company has set up offices in major citiesin the country, as well as in remote areas where the mining takesplace. According to the Nigerian government reports, about a third ofthe country is directly or indirectly dependent on the jobs that theoil sector creates. However, reports indicated that the Royal DutchShell had begun cutting the number of employees in 2015 Eboh 2015).This therefore disturbs economic dependence on the oil industry inthe country. The diagram below shows the country’s GDP in relationsto the oil sector.

Figure3: Nigeria’s oil production vs. GDP per Capita.

Ihua (2006) says that tax payments are the most obvious effect of theoil industry in the country. According to field survey conducted, theNigerians felt that the policy-makers had the biggest influence onthe tax regime, and how the same would be used to improve the livesof the people. Eboh (2015), while analysing the country’s taxationsystem, concludes that the tax policy affects the sector’s growth,which trickles down to affecting the people involved in the business.

Government reforms after the handing of power to Jonathan Goodluckand Muhammadu Buhari meant that the federal taxes were going to bepaid in a way that the revenue would be redistributed to the entirecountry. As such, it is concluded that despite the theoreticalbenefit to the entire nation, the local people of the Niger Deltawould not receive any direct economic benefits. This has a directeffect on the income of the local communities, and their economicdevelopment agenda.

4.5Environmental security

Following the earlier discussions, land and water resources are someof the most important values for the local people, especially theindigenous people dwelling in the Niger Delta. It is therefore notpossible to underestimate the economic and social significance of theland to the people. However, as indicated by several studies Obi(2010), Kadafa (2012) and Akpomuve (2011)), the oil industry has beencategorically undermining the Niger Delta’s environment. The UnitedNations Development Program (UNDP) has described the Niger Delta asan administrative neglect, which is victim to undeniably massiveenvironmental degradation. Given that more than 60% of the peoplehinge on on the natural setting for their means of support, theadministration and oil firms have fallen short of guarding it.

The environmental degradation is highlighted by waste dumping, oilspills and gas flaring. The United Nations, on the advice ofstatistics on the same, has termed the Niger-Delta as one of theworld’s most harshly oil-impacted bionetworks. The oil spillsaffect the land and water sources in the region. They are facilitatedby corrosion of the oil pipes, vandalism, human error, poormaintenance, actual oil extraction, and several other reasons. Due tothese leakages, the people are deprived of clean drinking water, fishand other fruits of the land. The diagram below shows the oil spilldata for the past three years, according to official reports of theShell oil company.

Figure4: 2014 spill statistics.

Figure5: 2012 spill statistics

Figure6: 2013 spill statistics.

The Niger Delta region does not receive enough money to cater forthe environmental impact from the oil operations. This causesdiscontent among the locals, and national grieve fromenvironmentalists. Clearly, the oil industry has a deleterious effecton the ecological tenet of human security in the country.

4.6Political security

The United Nations defines people’s political security as thatwhich honours their basic human rights. When evaluating politicalsecurity through the prism for the oil industry, the most importantaspects are the political and indigenous human rights. Nigeria’spolitical security is can be evaluated from the aspects of theparticipation of the people on the political discourse, that is, inelections, and in the establishment of party-political parties thathave similar interests in the oil industry. Back in 2006, the countrywas rocked by an explosion of violence, which was directed towardsexpelling large oil companies from the country. These were mainlyexperienced in the Niger Delta. The explosion on pipelines,kidnappings, and killing of oil workers marked the violence, bothlocal and foreign (Wilson Centre 2015). Unfortunately, the politicalviolence between the local communities and oil companies dates backto the 1990s. In the country, ethnicity and provincialism aresignificant to the national politics. Alliances of major elites havesubjugated the oil sector at the expense of the minorities. Thepartners are mindful of controlling the oil resources, and formingregional and national governments that address their interests.

In the recent past, there has been a campaign among the people ofthe Niger Delta, for what they term as ‘resource control’. Thishas in turn sensitized the rest of the nation, who have become awareof the dangers of the politics of the oil sector. Most of thepolitical resistance comes from the minority communities in the NigerDelta, who feel that they have been sidelined from becomingstakeholders in the oil industry. There are two manifestations of thepolitical trouble that is associated with the oil industry in theNiger Delta, and many other parts of the country. The first one islawlessness and extremism. The second one is the formulation of partypolicies that are divisive and backward. This has impoverished thepolitical progress of the people, and is all linked with theexistence of a poorly managed oil industry.

4.7 Foodsecurity

There are indications of inadequate resources to support thegovernment’s long-term investment in the country, as is usually thecase in many other countries in Africa. This is because attractingforeign investment has taken a dominant spot in the developmentstrategies in Nigeria. The foreign capital investment has a directlinkage to the country agriculture sector’s performance. This isbecause a lot of money has been pumped into the oil sector, at theexpense of other sectors, such as the agricultural sector. Since thereturn to democratic rule, statistics indicate that Nigeria has beenable to benefit from an inflow of foreign investment. However, thereis lack of balance among major sectors in the county, which hasaffected the level of agricultural production in the country.

Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) account for over 85% of thecountry’s economy. In the country, development policies havefocused on external consumption, meaning that the linkage effect onother sectors is quite minimal. The table below shows the total FPIin the Nigerian economy, up to the year 2007.

Figure7: Agricultural composition FDI in Nigeria, 1999-2007. Source:Ukwaba, 2014

The above table is a demonstration that the country is not growingat the same rate as the domestic food demand. For instance, theamount of production of rice in the country has been steadilydeclining over the decades, and so is the decrease in the volume ofarable land. This is linked with the imbalance facilitated by thecountry’s ambitious oil industry. Given that food is a major valuein the satisfaction of human security, the lack of attention to thisimportant aspect raises concern.

4.8 Health security

The health security aspect of human security, as far as thecountry’s oil industry is concerned, is associated with oil spills.There is an average of 240, 0000 barrels of crude oil spilled in theNiger Delta every year (Ordinioha and Brisibe 2013). The oil spillscontaminate the ground water, air, crops and the environment ingeneral. These oil spills are capable of contaminating as much as 36%of the food that is farmed on the land. This has a potential ofsignificantly increasing the prevalence of childhood malnutrition, aswell as animal diseases. The animal diseases could in turn affect thepeople, as they depend on them for meat and other animal supplies. Atthe same time, the compounds from spills could be hemotoxic andhepatocis. This has the potential of causing infertility and cancer.Other diseases associated with the carcinogens are respiratorycomplications, gastrointestinal disorders, skin ailments, and manymore. While there is no consistent figure of the exact oil spills inthe country, it can be estimated that there have been over 2 milliontons spilt since the beginning of mining. This has in turn affectedover 1000 communities, especially in the Niger Delta. The oil spillsin the region have therefore caused short and long term acute effectson the health of the people.

4.9Personal security

The aim of personal security is protecting individuals from threats.Nigeria has been on the list of countries where expatriates arewarned by their governments about traveling. For instance, the UnitedKingdom government in 2015 strongly warned their citizens abouttraveling into the country and moving around, for either leisure orbusiness ( 2015). The UK government noted that the mostaffected areas are within the Niger Delta. According to the traveladvisory, the people are warned to be careful of some areas with highforeigner kidnapping statistics, especially the Kogi area. This isbecause there are many kidnappings that are targeted at oil and gasfacilities workers. There are also incidences of foreigners,especially those associated with the oil companies, being abductedprovide ransom for the criminals (McGreal 2007).

At the same time, personal security has been an issue in thecountry, as far as the oil industry is concerned. Locals, especiallythose who live around the oilrigs, are targeted by criminals andmilitia who aim to disturb the operations of the government withinthose areas. By knowing that the government and oil companies will beblamed for failing to provide enough security, the criminals targetindividuals, and in many cases killing them. In 2012, Shell, the mainplayer in the country’s oil industry, was reported to be spendingmillions of dollars to improve security around its facilities (Hirschand Vidal 2012). Besides aiding the government financially, thecompany maintains a 1200 man police for, in addition to otherplainclothes informants.

4.91Community security

Oil industry-related community problems are mainly experienced in theNiger Delta. About 20 ethnic groups host more than 16000 autonomouscommunities in the area. These groups and communities’ politicalideologies are centered around the control of oil and oil-relatedresources. This includes the mining of the oil itself, jobs in theoil companies, and clan leaders elected to represent the communitiesin the companies and in the government. Over year, political analystshave established that the general political discourse within thesecommunities draws heavily from Rentier mentality. Using thismentality, the communities have selfish interests, such as thecontrol of the oil and oil resources, without minding the presence ofother communities in the equation. This makes the political scenehighly volatile, hence sparking ethic and communal clashes within theNiger Delta. The clashes lead to the destruction of property andlives.

In efforts to diffuse ethnic clashes, the government has implementeda number of strategies. These are focused on dividing the nationsinto communal blocs, governed by state representatives. However,political analysts maintain that this only fuels the cries from theminority communities. As of present, there are 34 states and 774local governments. The problem is that they are all based onethnicity and religion. While there are efforts to enable the poorcommunities to maintain social services, corrupt communal leaderscontinue fuelling the hatred among these communities. This only leadsto the deprivation of the people of their communal security, animportant tenet of human security in Nigeria.

4.92 Child trafficking – concept of child trafficking, childlabour, sex trafficking, 4.92.1Overview

In Nigeria, incidences of child trafficking are concentrated in thedense and larger centres of settlement. Statistics indicate that mostvictims come from communities that are poorly developed. As such,UNESCO concludes that poverty is the largest cause of childtrafficking in Nigeria (Ofuoko 2010). However, there is a distinctassociation between poverty and the oil industry. One of the maincauses of poverty in Africa, and in Nigeria as a nation, iscorruption. Corruption is mostly experienced where there is a fightfor resources, for instance, natural resources. From earlierdiscussions, the researcher has established how cartels, communityleaders and other stakeholders in the country’s oil industry fuelcorruption within the government and the communities. While theseindividuals and cartels continue raking in billions of dollars fromthe corrupt activities, the poor communities continue to lavish inpoverty. This is the underlying association that the paperestablishes between the oil industry, corruption, poverty andultimately, child trafficking in Nigeria.

4.93Impact of oil

Oil is viewed as an immeasurable factor that has a potential incontributing to the child trafficking menace in the country. Officialchild trafficking reports indicate that seven out of the nine childtrafficking hotspots in the country are located in the Niger Deltaarea (Oluwaniyi 2010). Since the dawn of the new millennium, theregion has hosted a number of prolonged conflicts, which as earlierdiscussed, are fueled by minority groups that are fighting foridentification. One of the main agendas of these communities is toprevent the oil companies and the government from continuing with thedestruction of their natural environment. As a response, the Nigeriangovernment militarized the police force. This was in effort to pushback the communities, and prevent them from destroying the oilinfrastructure. The conflict was mostly met with military responsebetween 2006 and 2007. Under the orders of the President, a couplethousands of locals were massacred. Most of the massacres wererelated with armed gang’s murders of policemen. However, analystsassociated the murders with the government’s efforts to stop theindigenous people’s claim to the oil and oil resources in the area(Badmus 2010). As of 2015, tens of thousands of the locals have beenmassacred, especially adults and the elderly. This leaves thechildren to taking care of themselves, sparking the trail of eventsthat leads to massive child trafficking in the area.

Scholars explained the connection between conflict and childtrafficking. Conflict leads to social unrest, which is one of theelements that child traffickers use to carry out their trade. Whenthere is conflict in an area, The Niger Delta in this context, thegovernment fails in its duty to protect the citizens from harm. Thereare thousands of children in the Niger Delta that have been orphanedby the oil-related conflicts in this area. These children have nocapacity to provide security for themselves, nor are they able toprovide food and shelter, two of the basic human needs. Thetraffickers maximize on this, often approaching some of the childrenwith promises of better lives somewhere else. Having no choice forthemselves, these children are trafficked to places where they aremade labourers for their masters. In some incidences, the UNICEF hasnoted that children are trafficked from the oil-conflict areas onNigeria to work in other countries, especially abroad (Ofuoku 2010).Human Rights Watch also reports that there are cartels in the Westerncountries who collaborate with child traffickers from theoil-conflict regions in Nigeria. The relationship is purely based onbusiness, as these cartels obtain the children as goods, and sellthem off to their clients in the Western Nations. While some of thesechildren end up providing child labour for their clients, some ofthem end up in prostitution and in the pornography industry.

A personal account by Grabale, an activist working with human rightsgroups in the country, describes how the oil industries and the oilbusiness altogether contribute to child trafficking in the NigerDelta (Grabale n,d). According to this account, the government hasneglected children from the area, who are consequently subjected todaily abuse. Guardians, religious leaders, caregivers and the entiresociety, discriminate against these children. However, there is acomplex perspective to this matter, as far as child trafficking inthe area is concerned. Fundamentally, oil-mining operations havecontributed to the destruction of the environment and the basiclivelihood of the Niger Delta communities. Initially depending onfarming and fishing for economic support, these communities no longerhave a source of revenue for themselves. The situation is made worseby the failure of giant oil companies, such as Shell, AGIP andChevron, among many others, to adequately compensate the communities.As a result, many children are forced into helping their families tomake a living. This leads to school dropouts and engagement in childlabour. Using this, child traffickers get an opportunity to buy thechildren, or in some incidences, kidnap them, and sell them off.

The presence of vigilantes and terrorists (Boko Haram) in theNigerian oil industry is another significant contributor to child-trafficking. In this regard, the most vulnerable are male children,who are kidnapped and taken to serve as militia in these outlawedgroups. The Nigerian government has for many decades failed toneutralize these groups, as they have continued to grow in number andstrength. The Thomson Reuters Foundation (2014) released a reportsaying that the militants in the Niger Delta were using children intheir armies. These children are used as child soldiers, servants,and even spies in the oil-rich Niger Delta. The source of thesechildren has been kidnappings within the area, facilitated by thechaos emerging from oil struggles. At the same time, local vigilantegroups, formed by communities to safeguard their interests in the oilbusiness, have been involved in the area’s child traffickingbusiness. These groups often traffic the children mainly forfinancial purposes. By selling them off to western nations, and otherparts of Nigeria, the vigilantes get finances to support theirillegal activities in the Niger Delta Region.


In this dissertation, the author has discussed the effect of theNigerian oil industry on child trafficking and human safety. To puteach in perspective, the study determined the interests of variousplayers in the matter. This includes stakeholders in the oilindustry, such as the oil companies and investors, the government,and the communities in the oil mining areas as well. As such, thepaper was able to establish the interrelation between the variousplayers and trends in human security and child trafficking. Moreover,to understand the correlation between the oil industry and theresearch variables, it was necessary to explain the scope withinwhich the researcher would conduct the study. In light of this, theresearcher investigated the matters of human security by exploringthe 7 tenets of the same. At the same time, the issue of childtrafficking was investigated by limiting the context to acts ofillegally moving children, as influenced by the existence anddevelopment of the oil industry in Nigeria, more so the Niger Delta.

Among the many human security approaches that were articulated in theUnited Nations reports were chosen. At the same time, the researcheranalysed the tenets of human security by referring to what otherstudies have focused on. Epistemologically, the researcher approachedthe topic with a constructivist point of view. This formed thetheoretical and conceptual framework foundation upon which the studywas conducted. To obtain informative data to guide the discussion, itwas necessary to use published documents, as well as information frominterview participants to inform the study. The researcher alsoensured that the local people, as well as the information from policymakers, the government and the oil companies was used to discuss thetopic variables. In determining the standpoints and interests ofvarious players in the oil industry, the study embarked uponanalysing information available in several publications, a number ofthem, which were appraised in the literature review section.

The Nigerian people’s security is determined through theaction of the government, policy makers, investors and theircommunities as well. Of concern among these stakeholders is theeconomic, social and political development of the people. This inturn affects elements of human security such as health, personal andcommunal security. Other interests, particularly the environment andcultural security, are also equally valued. However, some of thetenets of human security are more affected by the oil industry thanothers. This is facilitated by the presence of other factors, such asnationalization, globalization and individual interests in thecounty’s oil sector. Regardless, the study established thatNigeria’s human security is one of the most adversely affected inthe world, given excesses in the management of its natural resourcesand participation of warring groups in the control of the oilindustry. In equal measures, the research determined that thesecurity of Nigerian children, especially those coming from the NigerDelta, was highly affected, as far as the oil industry and childtrafficking are connected.

A significantly large portion of the dissertation focused on humansecurity. This was so as the researcher regarded child trafficking aselement of human security, under the umbrella of economic, personal,and communal security. Having established this, it is concluded thathuman security in Nigeria, as far as the oil industry is concerned,can be looked at through all 7 tenets. Economic security is theassurance of income for the citizens and sustainable growth insectors that directly affect their lives. Food security is theavailability of adequate food to support all communities, and keepthem from experiencing malnutrition and starvation. On the otherhand, health security is the guarantee of maximum protection fromhuman diseases, and the upholding of a healthy lifestyle.Environmental security is the protection of their cultural land andresources. Personal security describes the protection of physical andmental harm to the members of the Nigerian community. The same isclosely related to communal security, however, the latter assumes awider scope. Lastly, political security is the safeguarding of thepeople’s political discourse, and participation in progressivepolitics. The paper established that all these element of humansecurity were affected by the oil industry, in one way or the other.

To put matters in perspective, there is the need to analyse theinterests of the players in the country’s security and how the sameinfluences their wellbeing. As such, the researcher finds itnecessary to tabulate the opinions and influences of various aspectsof human security, and the effects by various players, as far as theoil industry is involved. The table below summarizes the correlation.

Government interest

Corporate interests

People’s values and interests

Human security




























from the above analysis, it is possible to tell that the mostaffected tenets of human security, as far as the oil industry isconcerned, are economic, environmental and political security. Thisis because the stakeholders (the government, oil companies andcommunities) have given little or no attention to other tenets ofhuman security, as far as the oil industry is concerned.

Conclusively, economic security is the most commonly affectedinterest in the prism of human security in Nigeria. However,deducting from the discussion in the research, it cannot be resolvedthat the interest is satisfied in Nigeria. Instead, the discussionpoints that when looking at it from economic security perspective,human security is endangered in Nigeria. The economic interests ofthe stakeholders in the Nigerian oil industry are conflicting, henceleading to unsustainable growth. While every player wants to have thebiggest share, matters of sustainable growth of the oil industry arenot given the attention they deserve. While at it, the Nigerianpeople, especially those from the Niger Delta, end up being the mostadversely affected. Similarly, there are futile attempts from thegovernment, in terms of policies and laws, to regulate the oileconomy. This has led to the domination of unsustainable policies inthe oil industry, which put human economic security at risk. Whilethere are a number of changes being implemented by the currentgovernment, the current economic status of the Nigerian oil industryremains to be detrimental.

Environmentally speaking, the indigenous communities in the NigerDelta are the most affected. This is because the activities of oilcompanies operating on their land have led to the deterioration ofits fertility, which the locals depend on for economic and socialsecurity. Little has been done by the oil companies to compensate forthe large tracts of land that are destroyed by oil spills, gasflares, and related incidents. At the same time, the government hasfailed to address accumulatively the environmental interests of thecommunities in the Niger Delta. Instead of pressuring the companiesto ensure that they respect the people’s cultural land, thegovernment has been accused of being lenient and non-visionary. Whilethe economic benefits of the oil industry can be seen in thedevelopment of local communities, there have been no substantialefforts to protect their land. The land holds immense cultural andsocial meaning for the communities. This is one of the reasons thatthe locals, and scholars, have termed the Niger Delta’s oil acurse.

The political well-being of the Nigerian people has been sabotagedby the oil industry. The people’s basic human rights have beenviolated by non-reformist interest in the country’s oil resources.Politicians have politicized economic development from the oilindustry, often taking up political policies that threaten thesecurity of the people. As a result, the Nigerians, especially thosefrom the Niger Delta, feel that the government and politicians havejeopardized their political security at the expense of the oilindustry. Similarly, ethnic and communal political groups havewreaked havoc on people from opposing political groups. The result isthe destruction of property and loss of lives. Conclusively, greedfor the oil and its associated resources has put at risk thepolitical tenet of human security in Nigeria, especially in the NigerDelta.

The oil industry has been directly and indirectly linked to childtrafficking in the country. In the Niger Delta, militias and localvigilantes have taken advantage of the lawlessness and poverty totraffic minors. The children are bought, or abducted, and sold off toclients, both in the country, and abroad. While a number of thetrafficked children end up in child labour, some of them end up inprostitution and the pornography industry. Despite the efforts of thegovernment and the United Nations to put an end to child trafficking,immense poverty and social disorder have facilitated the expansion ofthis trade. The poverty and social disorder experienced are bothconnected to the country’s oil industry.


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