The phenomenon of oil exploitation and the pervasive deprivation in the Nigeria Niger Delta are eloquent demonstrations of the link between environmental problems and social injustices. Conflicts have erupted in a bid to protest the observed level of deprivation and poverty. This paper examines the relationship between oil exploitation in the Niger-Delta vis-à-vis the deprivation and poverty suffered by its people. The paper is structured to examine the political economy of resource exploitation and utilization in an oil rich country like Nigeria. It posits that more than anything else, the causes of conflicts and strifes in Nigeria revolve around what the land contains. The structure of the paper includes an introduction and the background of Nigeria as containing groups of autonomous people brought together during colonialism through a geographical marriage of inconvenience. The section also examines the rich ecological resources of the country. The second section is an overview of environmental resource exploitation and distribution as well as the principles underlying these. In the third section, the paper examines the phenomena of poverty and deprivation in the country particularly in the oil bearing Niger Delta. Using a welfarist perspective, the paper reveals a lopsided resource distribution that suggests an inversion of benefits, the higher the level of environmental resource available to a region thus establishing the inevitability of conflict and violence among the deprived communities. As a way forward, the paper canvasses for a shift in the paradigm of resource distribution for the adoption of social and environmental justice. The benefits of this paradigm are overwhelming but the challenge for the country is the taming of the bourgeoning capitalism and its class structure. To achieve justice-social and environmental- orientation of leaders and followers must change. This shift is urgently required as a reconciliatory paradigm in Nigeria.