My research investigated the extent to which the Nigerian media have alerted the public and key opinion formers to risk-related issues / conflict in Nigeria’s Niger Delta region in order to shape the Nigerian public policy sphere as a response to the reoccurring [1958-2009] conflict between the government, oil host communities and independent multinational oil companies operating in the Nigeria’s Niger Delta region over economic embarrassment due to underdevelopment and environmental degradation. Drawing on the recent academic literature on policy agenda-setting, risk communication and trust communication, my research explored Research Questions on risk communication and risk perception linking policy agenda-setting that would be of great benefit for the Nigerian policy-makers, and indeed oil companies to understand. The researcher addressed these Research Questions through a survey [1,200 questionnaires] of Nigerians and interviews  with key people in Nigeria. These Research Questions are very timely and penetrating, in what has been, to date, a very under-researched area – namely, investigating the flows and impacts of trust-risk communication in agenda setting in a less-developed country. The researcher used three states in Nigeria’s Niger Delta region namely, Delta, Bayelsa and Rivers for the purpose of this research because conflict and risk issues is most pronounced in the aforementioned states due to oil exploration / exploitation and underdevelopment. Findings from this research revealed that the Nigerian media-policy-public agendas face specific problems in influencing one another on environmental risk issues and other facet of the conflict in Nigeria’s Niger Delta region. These specific problems which reflect gaps in knowledge in the Niger Delta conflict have now been outlined, so needing further attention and work by stakeholders in the public policy field with regards to the Niger Delta conflict. To this end, areas in need of research focus were outlined and several recommendations were made by the researcher which if adopted by the Nigerian government / policy makers, the media, oil companies and other stakeholders will help douse Nigeria’s Niger Delta conflict.
|Date of Award
|Vian Bakir (Supervisor), Philip Mitchell (Supervisor) & David Barlow (Supervisor)