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Research The Groningen Research Institute for the Study of Culture (ICOG) Research Research centres Research Centre for Historical Studies (CHS)

CHS lunch seminar- JACKSON TAMONUSAKI (The Nordic Africa Institute, Uppsala): 'Surviving Ecological Precarities: Livelihood Responses and Adaptive Capacity to Environmental Degradation in Nigeria's Niger Delta'

When:Mo 05-06-2023 12:30 - 14:00
Where:Poststraat 6 (GIA)

This guest lecture is hosted by the Research Centre for Historical Studies, and is moderated by Iva Peşa.


The study interrogates the livelihood responses that households in marginal farming and fishing communities adopt as means of adapting to environmental degradation occasioned by oil spillages and gas flaring in Nigeria's Niger Delta. It demonstrates how local perceptions and understanding of environmental changes helps marginal communities frame livelihood responses to ecological precarities in their domain.

The study identifies several on-farm and on-fishing adaptation strategies, as well as secondary livelihood diversification practices. It further evaluates the efficacy of these strategies through the lens of household adaptive capacity, revealing these strategies to be palliative and unlikely to mitigate the long-term effects of oil and gas extraction in the region.

This was demonstrated with the emergent maladaptive livelihood strategy of artisanal crude oil refining locally known as ‘kpo-fire’ which exacerbates environmental pollution and livelihood insecurities, thereby resulting in a vicious circle of what the study referred to as the “livelihood dysfunction trap”.

The paper therefore argued for the need for a sustainable restoration of the Niger Delta environment and the creation of opportunities for sustainable livelihood alternatives which can provide for the livelihood needs of the present and future generations.