NIGER delta CRISIS IN NIGERIA, ROOT CAUSES OF PEACELESSNESS IN THE REGION
NIGER DELTA CRISIS IN NIGERIA, ROOT CAUSES OF PEACELESSNESS IN THE REGION
The oil-rich Niger-Delta region of Nigeria has been mired in a conflict between government troops and militant elements that are dissatisfied with several fundamental issues impacting the region, leading to peacelessness.
Over the last two decades, militants have battled alongside government forces, damaged oil installations, kidnapped foreign oil workers, and carried out deadly vehicle bombings. A crisis of underdevelopment is at the basis of the situation.
Emerging challenges such as significant distortions of Nigerian federalism in terms of resource control, citizenship rights, and environmental degradation have compounded the crisis.
Unfortunately, the external manifestation has primarily been that of violent agitation and criminal activity by some individuals exploiting the unfortunate situation.
The project work will be divided into five chapters. Chapter one will look at an introduction, Nigeria in brief, the Niger Delta area in perspective, a statement of research problems, objectives of the study,
hypothesis significance of study, and limitations of the work. Chapter two will look at a literature review and the theoretical framework, which will be the system theory developed by David Eas.
The presence of oil resources in developing countries creates a great dilemma. On the one hand, oil and gas discoveries allow for the abolition of poverty and the creation of strong economies. This is what happened in Texas and Alaska in the mid-twentieth century, for example.
More recently, in 2004, then-East Timor Prime Minister Mar. Alkafiri declared that oil discoveries in the Timor Gap could provide “the money to immunise and educate every child” in his country, which is one of the world's newest and poorest (Jill Shakleman, “oil profits and peace: Does business have a role in peace-making? 3)
(United States Institute of Peace, 2007). On the other hand, the “curse of oil” is visible in many oil-rich countries around the world, with oil-producing states exhibiting a high incidence of corruption and violent conflict, as well as low scores in education and health services and economic strength.
Of the seventy-four countries identified by the International Crisis Group as being in situations of current or potential conflict in February 2007, 35 percent have known oil and gas resources (International Crisis Group, “crisis watch”). Nigeria, located in the oil-rich Niger Delta region, is one of these countries.
The issue foreshadows a significant threat to the Niger-Delta Region in particular and the Nigerian state in general. The truth is that militants are fighting not only the Nigerian state, but also an extension of global capitalism represented in the region by multinational oil companies.
If not addressed, the situation could escalate into a major conflict between armed insurgents and the Federal Government of Nigeria. The gravity of the problem and its impact on the country prompted former President Shehu Shagari to declare during a visit to Port Harcourt in the Niger Delta that “the biggest problem Nigeria faces today, in my humble opinion, is with militants in the Niger Delta area” (Shehu Shagari, BBC News, Wednesday 30 May, 2007).
1.2 A SUMMARY OF NIGERIA
Nigeria is a country in West Africa. The country is known as the “African Giant.” 1000N, 800E are the geographic coordinates. It is bounded on the north by Niger and Chad, on the east by Cameroon, on the south by the Atlantic Ocean,
and on the west by the Benin Republic. It has a population of over N150 million people and has an area of 923,770 square kilometres or 356,200 square miles (http:geography.about.com, accessed June 26, 2010).
Sir. Frederick Lord Lugard combined the protectorates of Northern and Southern Nigeria, as well as the colony of Lagos, on January 1, 1914 (R.O.F Ola and D.A. Tonwe, “local administration and local government in Nigeria”, p.44). The merger was solely for economic reasons.
The southern protectorate was more viable and had more resources than the northern protectorate, which was less endowed. Nigeria is divided into 36 states, with Abuja serving as the federal capital for political and administrative purposes.
Nigeria is separated into six geopolitical zones for office sharing: South West, South East, South-South, North West, North East, and North Central.
1.3 PERSPECTIVE ON THE NIGERR DELTA AREA
The Niger-Delta region is located in the geopolitical zones of the South-South and South-West/East. South-South states include; Edo, Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Cross River, and Akwa Ibom, but with the seeding of Bakassi Peninsular to Cameroon in 2007 by the International Court of Justice, Cross Rivers ceased to be an oil producing state.
To the south west, Ondo State is included, and to the south east, Abia and Imo State are included. The Niger-Delta covers an area of well over 70,000 square kilometres and The Niger-Delta is Africa's largest wetland, with abundant renewable and nonrenewable natural resources such as oil, gas, bitumen, nontimber forest products and timber forest products, animals, and so on.
Oil and gas exploration generates 95 percent of overall revenue for the Nigerian government. Brisibe A.A. African tradition “the identity of a people: with a special focus on globalisation and its impact in the Niger Delta” C.O.O.L Conference, Boston, USA, March 18, 2001, p.1).
STATEMENT OF THE RESEARCH PROBLEM
It is no secret that Nigeria is the world's sixth largest producer of oil and petroleum, and that this is the country's basis, accounting for well over 90 percent of exports.
The low sulphur content of majority of Nigeria's petroleum makes it particularly appealing in an environmentally conscious world. Other minerals found in Nigeria include Barite, Coal, Columbite, Flourite, Gold, Iron Ore, Kyanite, Uranium, Natural Gas, Phosphate, Tin, and others.
Prior to the commercial discovery of oil in 1957 at Oloibiri, in present-day Bayelsa State, Nigeria relied heavily on agriculture for its economy and domestic consumption. Oil had surpassed cocoa, groundnuts, and palm products as the country's main foreign exchange earner as of today.
Oil has long been a vital component of the Nigerian economy. Since a large petroleum reservoir was discovered. According to published figures, Nigeria has collected about $400 billion in oil money since the early 1970s (International Crisis Group, Nigeria: Want in a Land of Plenty). Africa Report No.113, July 19, 2006, page 1).
Despite these massive foreign exchange revenues, the economy continues to underperform, and the vast bulk of the population has seen little benefit. Poverty, unemployment, deteriorating infrastructure, high levels of corruption,
suffering, a lack of basic human requirements, and so on appear to be the fate of the people. Oil, which was formerly seen as a godsend by the people, is now regarded as a curse. This is because it carried with it more bad than beneficial effects.
The sense of a never-ending crisis has grown since the last decade, when a secretive group of armed, hooded rebels known as the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger-Delta (MEND) intensified attacks on oil platforms and pumping stations run by multi-national oil companies in the region.
Militants from MEND and other groups have killed soldiers and security guards, kidnapped both local and foreign oil workers, and detonated car bombs, resulting in oil spillage, degradation, underdevelopment,
and suffering among the people in the region, which has resulted in escalating violence in the region. (Oil in Nigeria, the curse of the Black Gold) www.nationalgeographic.com (accessed on July 30, 2010).
1.5 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
This research project's objectives are as follows:
To investigate Nigeria's Niger-Delta conflict
To ascertain the core reasons of the unrest and restlessness.
To understand the crisis's impact on Nigeria and the Niger-Delta region.
To assess and plan the best path out of the issue.
To make recommendations for addressing the region's crisis and bringing peace to the region.
The following hypotheses will be developed and investigated for the purposes of this study:
The Niger Delta crisis is the result of this underdevelopment.
That the region's high percentage of youth unemployment is to blame for the insecurity.
That illiteracy is also to blame for the unrest.
That the bad or false nature of Nigeria's federalism is to blame for the Niger Delta issue.
That once the amnesty initiative is completely executed, the region's peacelessness will be a thing of the past.
That if the amnesty policy is not fully implemented, the unrest will resume.
That with ex-militant training, the situation would be kept to a bare minimum.
1.7 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This initiative is very important to everyone who reads it, especially the youth, government policymakers in the Niger-Delta region, and the general populace. The research will also provide solutions to Nigeria's Niger Delta conflict.
There is little doubt that this research will help reveal the core causes of the region's peacelessness as well as help to limit the social and economic damages created by the crisis.
1.8 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
A variety of constraints tend to impede the researcher's attempt to probe into Nigeria's Niger-Delta problem, root reasons of the peacelessness, and these include:
The study is further hampered by the lack of written documents and texts relevant to the topic issue, which is owing to the short amount of time available to search for enough materials and also to get respondents to answer questions.