THE NON-STATE ACTORS AND CHALLENGES OF NATIONAL
1.1 Background to the Study
The Non-State actors are organized agitating armed groups that operate in the Niger Delta region as social movements to express their anger, sometimes violently arising from the perceived frustration and marginalization by the Nigerian State and its agents in the region. They are classified into three groups, the militia groups, the cult groups, and gangs, who operate independently in the region. This research is aimed at identifying the characteristics and activities of the non-state security actors and their impact on development trajectory of their host communities.
Amidst the national development disequilibrium in the country, Nigeria is also confronted with daunting developmental challenges which pose serious threat to socio-economic development. These developmental challenges include endemic rural and urban poverty, high rate of unemployment, debilitating youth unemployment, low industrial output, unstable and deteriorating exchange rate, high inflation rate, inadequate physical and social infrastructure, very large domestic debt, and rising stock of external debt (Ewetan, 2013)
In this light Chandler (2007) sees development as a broader concept that recognizes psychological and material factors that measure human well-being. Development therefore is a multifaceted phenomenon and man centered. It is the process of empowering people to maximize their potentials, and develop the knowledge capacity to exploit nature to meet daily human needs (Rodney, 1972; Nnoli, 1981; Ake, 2001). The transformation of the society and the emergence of new social and economic organizations are critical indicators of development (Stiglitz cited in Nwanegbo and Odigbo, 2013).
This research work will focus mainly on the activities of the Niger Delta militants assessing the challenges they pose to Nigeria as a country in the aspect of national development.
1.2 Statement of the Research Problem
Since the mid-2000s, national security crisis in Nigeria has been escalated by the rise of ethnic Ijaw militant groups in the Niger Delta region. On the one hand, militancy in the Niger Delta is regarded as a response to poverty, environmental degradation and oil pollution within the region occasioned by oil exploration and the operations of oil multinationals and by years of government neglect and insensitivity to the plight of the people (Ogbonnaya 2011).
The Niger Delta remains an important region to Nigeria due to the massive contribution to the economy of the country through its oil resources. However, the insurgence of militancy in the region poses serious challenges to not only the region but also the national development of the country. These challenges as they appear in the Niger Delta area include; bombings of oil facilities, kidnapping, oil bunkering etcetera.
Responsibilities for most of the recent attacks in Niger Delta have been claimed by a group named Niger Delta Avengers, which intends to deal consequent attacks on the region, with the futuristic motives of crippling the Nigerian economy. Militancy in the Niger Delta region is not a recent development, but it has been suppressed to the barest minimum in the past through several policy and military actions by the government and supposed contribution from the oil majors, such as; Amnesty Programme, JTF operations, etc.
Despite the supposed importance accrued to the Niger Delta region and efforts in combating militancy in the region, there has been resurgence of military and incessant security crises which have undermined development. Is the Niger Delta really the bedrock of the Nigerian economy? Policy and development measures have been introduced, why does it always seem to be short lived? Or are the development and policy actions of the government as gimmicks to explicit the region of the oil resources? Do the activities of both government and multi-national corporations in the region contribute to development challenges?
1.3 Research Questions
In the view of the study, some important research questions have been raised, which debunks the depth of the research work, these questions are;
i. What are the implications of the renewed agitation in the Niger Delta on national development?
ii. How relevant is Niger Delta to the development of Nigeria.
iii. What has been the government responses to activities of militancy in the Niger Delta?
iv. If truly the multi-national corporations (MNCs) have established some means of avoiding resurgence of militancy, why are they not effective?
1.4 Objectives of the Study
The study adumbrates on the renewed agitation in the Niger Delta region and its implications on national development of Nigeria. This study will make an attempt to pay attention to the main reasons behind the resurgence of militancy in the Niger Delta and how best to overcome these agitations for good. Thus, the objectives of this study include the following:
i. To examine the implications of the renewed agitation in the Niger Delta region on national development.
ii. To identify the relevance of the Niger Delta region in the development of Nigeria, as regards the absence of insurgence in the region.
iii. To identify the roles played by the Nigeria government on the resurgence of militancy in the Niger Delta region.
iv. To identify actions and inactions of the Multi-national corporations (MNCs) in avoiding resurgence of militancy and unrest in the Niger Delta region.
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The study will be guided by the following hypothesis
i. Renewed agitation in the Niger Delta has negative implications on the national development of Nigeria.
ii. Renewed agitation in the Niger Delta does not have negative implications on the national development of Nigeria.
i. Niger Delta is important to the development of Nigeria.
ii. Niger Delta is not important to the development of Nigeria.
i. Some factors are responsible for the inefficiencies of the measures the government have put in place to confront the renewed agitation in the Niger Delta.
ii. No factors are responsible for the inefficiencies of the measures the government have put in place to confront the renewed agitation in the Niger Delta.
i. There are certain inconsistencies in the Multi-national corporations (MNCs) efforts to curb resurgence of militancy in the Niger Delta.
ii. There are no certain inconsistencies in the Multi-national corporations (MNCs) efforts to curb resurgence of militancy in the Niger Delta.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The study has both theoretical and empirical significance;
i. Theoretically, the study will add to the existing knowledge on challenges of national development posed by the non state actors (militants) as one of the existing literature and also a secondary data for future study.
ii. Empirically, the study will assist the government in Nigeria to do everything possible by developing good policies that will aim at the development of the Niger Delta region.
1.7 Scope of the Study
This study will focus primarily on the Niger Delta militants as non-state actors and the challenges they pose towards national development since inception till date.
THE NON-STATE ACTORS AND CHALLENGES OF NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA: A CRITICAL APPRAISAL