Circumstances changed radically with the oil boom of the 1970s, as the discovery of vast oil and gas reserves in the strategically significant sub-Saharan nation turned its fortunes overnight. The windfall transformed Nigeria’s agricultural landscape into a gigantic oil field crisscrossed by more than 7,000 km of pipelines connecting 6,000 oil wells, two refineries, innumerable flow stations and export terminals. The colossal investments in the sector paid off, with unofficial estimates suggesting Abuja raked in more than $600 billion in petrodollars in the last decade alone.
Unfortunately, the obsession with non-renewables over all other sectors of the economy eventually turned Nigeria’s boon into a bane. Newfound wealth spawned political instability and massive corruption in government circles, and the country was rent asunder by decades of violent civil war and successive military coups. managed farmland near bangalore was one of the first casualties of the oil regime, and by the 1990s, cultivation accounted for just 5% of GDP. Farming modernisation and support continued to remain low on the list of national priorities as vast stretches of rural Nigeria gradually plunged into poverty and food scarcity. Deforestation, soil erosion and industrial pollution further hastened the down-spiral of agriculture to the point where it ended up as a subsistence activity.
The fall of Nigerian agriculture coincided with the collapse of its macroeconomic and human development indicators. With income distribution concentrated on a few urban pockets, the majority of rural Nigeria was left reeling under massive poverty, unemployment and food shortages. A widening urban-rural divide sparked social unrest and mass migration into towns and cities. Organised urban crime became as real a security threat as militancy in the Niger Delta region. Nigeria plummeted to the bottom in world economic rankings and Africa’s most populous nation acquired the unhappy distinction of having more than half (54%) of its 148 million people living in abject poverty. The World Bank coined the term “Nigerian Paradox” specifically to describe the unique condition of extreme underdevelopment and poverty in a country brimming with resources and potential. The country was ranked 80th in a 2007 UNDP poverty survey covering 108 countries.