Home Environmental and governance action in the Niger Delta

Environmental and governance action in the Niger Delta

2016 – 2020


This project aims to improve the natural environment in the Niger Delta, and the quality of service provision by government and other institutions in the area.

Under the project, SDN is engaging stakeholders at all levels, including local communities in the Niger Delta and policymakers in Abuja, to support reform of how Nigeria’s petroleum industry is governed. Our goal is to help bring Nigerian regulation in line with international best practice, ensuring the protection of the environment and that all Nigerians benefit from the industry.

In tandem, we are working to promote the transparency and accountability necessary to improve governance in the Niger Delta. We support and act in solidarity with people living in the Niger Delta to demand that their social, political, and economic rights are upheld—and create incentives for political representatives and policymakers to meet the population’s needs. This includes, in particular, supporting communities to engage with officials on how development funds, which derive partly from the oil and gas industry, are spent.


  1. To strengthen the capacity of government, regulators, and civil society to monitor and respond to the environmental performance of the oil and gas industry.
  2. To improve interaction between communities in the Niger Delta and the government institutions responsible for development activities.

Key activities

  • Conducting research, policy analysis, and advocacy on environmental and development challenges and legislation.
  • Providing technical assistance to Nigerian regulators and government agencies to support their pollution monitoring and other environmental protection work.
  • Supporting local communities to engage with politicians and government officials on their social and economic development priorities.
  • Raising awareness of environmental and development issues across the Niger Delta.


Environmental degradation is a major issue in the Niger Delta. The legacy of half a century of exploitation of the region’s oil and gas resources without adequate environmental protection has been the creation of one of the most polluted natural environments in the world. The land and water resources, on which the population of the Niger Delta relies, are contaminated, and the perception that this has not been adequately addressed is a significant grievance for many impacted communities. This has also contributed to the broad breakdown in trust between communities and oil companies operating among them, as well as, to a lesser degree, the Nigerian government agencies mandated to regulate the industry.

This mistrust is compounded by a lack of transparency in political and state institutions. Sourcing official information on development funding, and its implementation, is challenging. It is difficult for civil society and individuals to have a clear idea of where financing is intended to be spent, and whether it is spent effectively. This makes it difficult to hold government to account for initiatives that are promised but do not materialise, breeding frustration and apathy. This project aims to generate access to clear, accurate information on these issues, and support public, civil society, and official responses to them.

Related news and updates

Policy analysis: NOSDRA Amendment Draft Bill

Policy analysis: NOSDRA Amendment Draft Bill

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Oil sector reform: Clean The Delta campaign update

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Recent political developments are paving the way for changes in how Nigeria’s oil industry, predominantly ...
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Community voices for change: local advocacy in the Niger Delta

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Project resources


Published: 11.12.2019