Hannah Whalen


The year 1956 represents a dramatic shift in economic development for the colony of Nigeria under British rule, for below the Niger Delta lay a rich resource that was yet to be discovered. Nigeria became a protectorate under Britain in 1901 and remained under British colonization until 1960. During the early years, the British pushed for exploration to discover and extract valuable natural resources, predicted to be present in the Niger region. Finally, in 1956, oil was discovered in Oloibiri, and since then oil has become a leading source of economic value in Nigeria. Big oil companies such as Shell BP and private British companies took part in the extraction of Nigerian oil. This extraction led to the pollution of the Niger Delta and its surrounding land. In 1960, Nigeria became independent and took control of most of its oil reserves. Due to the great success of the oil industry, Nigerians chose to move forward with both the legal and illegal extraction of oil in order to continue to maximize their wealth. This paper will discuss how the economic stability of the oil industry became crucial to Nigeria’s survival as a sovereign nation and how, ultimately, the environmental damages were overlooked by the Nigerian government.



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