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This work explored the insecurity in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria with a view to clearing out its direct and indirect source as well as its effects. This was done with the aim of proffering solution and recommendation to the attractable security situation in the region. This work discusses insecurity and attempt to trace the causes of and also review the attempts made by the government to resolve insecurity in the Niger Delta Region. Also, the work examines the impacts of Insecurity on the Nigerian economy, human resource utilization and organization effectiveness.
The study found that the enormous wealth of Nigeria’s Niger Delta does not match the abject poverty being witnessed by its people. Neglect, deprivation, environmental degradation, lack of social infrastructure in the Niger Delta Region gave rise to different responses across the region at various times: from peaceful agitation led by Isaac Adaka Boro to the present militancy. Government response to the problem in the region has also been varied: from 1959 panel of enquiry, that brought about the establishment of the Niger Delta Development Commission, Ministry of Niger Delta and 2009 presidential amnesty program. However all this responses was not enough to term the scourge of insecurity in the Niger Delta Region.
Environmental degradation, resource control, poverty, inequality and description of the Niger Delta Region
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Title Page – – – – – – – – – i
Declaration – – – – – – – – – ii
Certification – – – – – – – – – iii
Dedication – – – – – – – – – iv
Acknowledgement – – – – – – – – v
Abstract – – – – – – – – – vi
Table of contents – – – – – – – – vii
List of Maps – – – – – – – – – x
1.0 Introduction – – – – – – – – 1
1.1 The Niger Delta Region of Nigeria – – – – – 2
1.1.1 Maps describing the Niger Delta Region – – – – 5
1.2 The Problem – – – – – – – – 6
1.3 The Niger Delta Conflict – – – – – – 8
2.0 Literature Review – – – – – – – 17
2.1 The Historical Background to the Niger Delta Insecurity – – 18
2.2 Response to Niger Delta Issues – – – – – 26
2.2.2 Oil Companies Responses had been in the area of – – – 30
2.2.3 Government response – – – – – – – 30
2.3 Evaluation of the Responses by Major Stakeholders – – – 31
2.4 Effects of Niger Delta Crises – – – – – – 32
2.5 Theoretical Framework – – – – – – 35
3.0 Causes of Insecurity in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria – – 43
4.0 Consequences of Insecurity in the Niger Delta Region – – 49
4.1 Economy – – – – – – – – 49
4.1.1 Reduction in Crude Oil Output – – – – – 49
4.1.2 Reduction in Revenue From Sale of Crude Oil – – – 50
4.1.3 Reduction in Federal Allocation to States and Local Governments – 50
4.2 Sabotage – – – – – – – – 51
4.2.1 Destruction of Oil and Other Infrastructure – – – – 51
4.2.2 Oil Bunkering – – – – – – – – 51
4.2.3 Seizure of ships – – – – – – – 52
4.2.4 Unemployment – – – – – – – 52
4.2.6 Militarization – – – – – – – – 53
4.2.7 Drug Addiction – – – – – – – 53
4.2.8 Prostitution – – – – – – – – 54
4.2.9 Truncated Education – – – – – – – 54
4.3 Destruction of Family Values – – – – – – 54
4.3.1 Camp Formation – – – – – – – 55
4.3.2 Reactive Guilt – – – – – – – – 55
4.3.3 Environment – – – – – – – – 56
4.3.4 Criminality – – – – – – – – 56
4.3.5 Kidnapping – – – – – – – – 57
4.3.6 Indiscriminate Attacks – – – – – – 58
4.4 Health – – – – – – – – – 59
4.4.1 Avoidable Mortalities – – – – – – – 59
4.4.2 Chronic Stress Syndrome/Psychiatric Disorders – – – 59
4.4.3 Psychological – – – – – – – – 60
4.4.4 Pariah Environment – – – – – – – 60
4.5 Development and Socio-Cultural Implications of the Crisis – – 62
4.5.1 Economic Implication of the Niger Delta Militancy – – – 63
4.5.2 Effects on Human Resource – – – – – – 64
4.5.3 Containment of the crisis – – – – – – 65
CHAPTER FIVE: SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
5.0 Introduction – – – – – – – – 67
5.1 Conclusion – – – – – – – – 68
5.2 Recommendation: Panacea to the Niger Delta Crisis – – – 69
The Niger Delta region of Nigeria has witnessed ethnic, communal and political unrest since the 1990s; as well as incessant attacks on oil installations, hostage taking and general atmosphere of insecurity at both the communal and organisational levels. The people of the Niger Delta toughened over the years by circumstances of anguish, deprivations, and poverty visited on them by different oil mining companies Michael (2001). Their youths had drawn both local and international attention to their deplorable situation through their restiveness. Oil exploring organisations can be said to be operating under hostile and insecure environment. The government and the oil companies responses to the issues in the Niger Delta had been called to question by watchers of events and by the Niger Delta people themselves Idowu O. F. (2006).
Though the Federal government and the Oil exploration companies have responded to the crises in some measures stated later in this work, the work view these as social responsibilities which are at the whims of the donors. The extent to which these meet the needs and aspirations of Niger Delta people and the region leaves much to be desired. The insufficiency of these social responsibilities may account for the increasing violent attacks on oil installations and frequent hostage taking since 2006 Idowu O. F. The alternative dispute resolution (ADR) approach can be explored at the micro level of oil exploring companies and macro level of the federal government in addressing the conflict. The appeal is that the aggrieved people need to be heard not in a legalistic context, or in way that is imposed or for that matter, under duress.
1.1 The Niger Delta Region of Nigeria
The Niger Delta has been variously defined by scholars, individuals, organizations and authorities. The World Bank report describes it as one of the world’s largest wetlands, and African’s largest Delta covering some 70,000km, formed by the accumulation of sedimentary deposits transported by the Niger and Benue Rivers (World Bank, 1993). The Federal Government of Nigeria sees the Niger Delta region as the part of the Nigerian State, situated in the Southern Part of Nigeria and bordered to the South by the Atlantic Ocean and to the East by Cameroon. It occupies a surface area of about 112,100 square kilometers and represents about 12% of Nigeria’s total surface area of Nigeria having a population of 28 million inhabitants by beginning of 2006. The region has nine of Nigeria’s constitutent states, Abia, Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo and Rivers (FGN, 2006).
Isoun (2001) identified three definitions of the area. These are the scientific, Historical and political definitions, scientifically, the Niger Delta, according to him, is that location associated with the lower Niger especially where the River splits into its major tributaries; River Nin and the Escravos. It starts from the Benin Basin in the West, goes up to Agbor in the North and then to the Imo River. Historically, the Niger Delta refers to the conglomeration of people who in 1958 canvassed for special attention that led to the inauguration of the Henry Willinks Commission. It includes the Ogoni province, Degema province and so on. According to Isoun, the definition at the time even excluded the present Port Harcourt and Warri. The Political Niger Delta is a recent phenomenon associated with the proposed Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). Politically, the Niger Delta has been made to be synonymous with oil production. It is assumed that all oil producing communities are part of the Niger Delta.
A publication of the defunct Oil Minerals Producing Areas Development Commission (OMPADEC) has this to say about the Niger Delta: The River disgorges its waters into the Atlantic Ocean through a large number of tributaries which form the Niger Delta. The area of the Delta is further enlarged by rivers other than tributaries of the Niger, Calabar, Rivers, Cross River and Imo, River to the East, and Siluko River, Benin River, Escravos River and River Forcados, to the West (OMPADEC, 1993). In the view of the OMPADEC, the River Niger, its tributaries and other rivers which have enlarged the area of the Niger Delta, defined the scope of the area. Accordingly, it posits that the Niger Delta is made up of, at least, 7 states; Rivers, Beyelsa, Delta, Akwa Ibom, Cross Rivers, Ondo and Edo States.
Some of the ethics groups in the Niger Delta include the Igbo, Ibibio, Annang, Efik, Itsekiri, Ogoni, Urhobo, Ukwuani, Abua, Ijaw, Yoruba, etc. In all; there could be as many as 60 languages in the Niger Delta. The primary occupations and means of sustenance of the people consist of fishing, farming, trading and forest product gathering. Despite the emergence and subsequent dominance of the hydrocarbon industry, over 80 percent are still the traditional agrarian trade (Alamieyeseigha, 2005). The Niger Delta region is characterized by wetlands and water bodies with creeks and rivers crisis-crossing the entire southern part. Indeed, it has been widely stated that the Niger Delta is one of the very few Deltas in the world.
The region is endowed with enormous and rich natural resources. In addition to oil and gas, the Niger Delta is blessed with both renewable resources, including construction materials, wildlife, water resources, and abundance of non-timber resources as a source of food, spices condiments and medical herbs, alongside great potentials for agricultural development. Despite this tremendous natural resources base, the region represents one of the extreme situations of poverty and underdevelopment (Nwachukwu and Pepple, 2011).
The Niger Delta is most significant and known for its large hydrocarbon deposits in oil and gas. The Niger Delta is indeed the epicenter of the West African belt and Nigeria’s economic heartbeat. This has been so since the 1970s when oil became the mainstay of the country’s economy. The country has over 20,000 million barrels of crude oil reserves, in addition to an estimated associated gas reserve of about 300 trillion cubic feet. All these are concentrated in the Niger Delta Region (Nwachukwu and Pepple, 2011).
1.1.1 Maps describing the Niger Delta Region
Figure 1. The geopolitical configuration of the Niger Delta Region, Nigeria NDPI, 2010
1.2 The Problem
The Niger Delta had witnessed severe economic deprivation and social exclusion in sharp contrast to the enormous wealth of the area. Environmental degradation, lack of infrastructural facilities, inadequate provision of functional educational system and deplorable socio-economic standard paint the picture of the area. Inspite of the huge wealth carted away by the foreign workers, especially the expatriates that also live in affluence, in contrast to the abject poverty and deprivation of the indigenes on whose land they got their wealth. There had been environmental pollution, forced unemployment as a result of land and water pollution arising from oil spillage. The Niger Delta communities as a result of these criminal neglect on the part of the Federal government and the oil exploring companies responded initially through road blocking and shutting the gates of oil companies. When these did not produce the desired results, pipelines vandalisation, blowing up of oil installations, bunkering and hostage taking were resorted to. As a result of the crises, volume of oil exploration is assumed to have reduced, oil workers operate in an insecure and hostile environment, and frequently, the Nigeria Joint Military Force (JMF) and the Niger Delta youths had clashed leaving casualties on both sides. The government responses since 1957 when oil was first discovered in commercial quantities at Oloibiri had not effectively reduced the agitation in Niger Delta. The failure of government’s efforts to stem the tide of violence in the region since the Willink’s report of 1939 even up to the creation of the Ministry for Niger Delta in 2008 raises questions such as:
- What is the historical background to the crises in Niger Delta?
- What is the sociological perspective in the Niger Delta Region.
- How have the Niger Delta people responded?
- What have been the responses of the oil exploiting organisation and the Federal government?
- Why are the efforts of the government not sufficient to redress the situation?
- What are the effects of the crises on the spirit of the Nigerian nation?
- What are the effects of the crises on the spirit of the Nigerian Nations’ economy?
- How has the crises affected human resource utilisation and organisational outcomes?
- To what extent can industrial relations’ conflict resolution approach of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) be applied to resolve Niger Delta crises?
The objective of the work is to trace the causes of insecurity, consequences and also review the attempts made by the government to resolve the crises in the Niger Delta region. The work will also examine the impacts of the crises on the Nigerian economy, human resource utilization and organizational effectiveness. This would be done using historical approach in examining the institutional framework used by the Federal government in responding to the long term neglect to invest in the social well being of the Niger Delta people. Ayandele (2006).
With the discovery of crude oil mainly in the deltaic basin of the River Niger, and the proliferation of states in the country, defining those states that qualify as states of the Niger Delta became a major political issue. In 2000, the Federal Government established the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and in the Act that created the Commission (Act 20, No. 6 – Federal Government Press: 2000, vol. 87), government defined the Niger Delta States as being Abia, Akwa Ibom Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo and Rivers. Not only do the people of these states (population, about 31 million – 2006 population census) come from diverse ethnic groups (about 40) and speak different languages and dialects (about 250), the content of crude oil reserves within their respective borders, and ipso facto, the collateral damages each suffers from the crude oil exploration and exploitation activities, differ substantially Akinyele (2006). Not surprisingly therefore, a number of other descriptive terminologies have emerged which such various political arrangements: the Oil Producing States; Littoral States; South-South States. However, many would accept that Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta and Akwa Ibom States, not only constitute the major oil producing states of Nigeria, they are the core states of the Niger Delta. Over a period of five decades from the 1960s, the Niger Delta, especially its core states, has been in the limelight, locally and internationally, for two principal reasons:
- Crude Oil Production
- Agitation, Violence and Instability.
1.3 Niger Delta Conflict
The current conflict in the Niger Delta first arose in the early 1990s over tensions between foreign oil corporations and a number of the Niger Delta‘s minority ethnic groups who feel they are being exploited, particularly the Ogoni and the Ijaw. Ethnic and political unrest has continued throughout the 1990s despite the return of democracy in 1999. Competition for oil wealth has fueled violence between ethnic groups, causing the militarization of nearly the entire region by ethnic militia groups, Nigerian military and police forces, notably the Nigerian Mobile Police.
More so, after nearly four decades of oil production, the Country had by the early 1980s become almost completely economically dependent on petroleum extraction, which at the time generated 25% of its GDP. This portion has since risen to 60%, as of 2008, Shell (2011). Despite the vast wealth created by petroleum, the benefits have been slow to trickle down to the majority of the population, who since the 1960s have increasingly been forced to abandon their traditional agricultural practices. Due to the effects that exploration and exploitation has on the environment. Annual production of both cash and food crops dropped significantly in the later decades of the 20th century. Cocoa production dropped by 43% for example; Nigeria was the world’s largest cocoa exporter in 1960. Rubber production dropped by 29%, cotton by 65%, and groundnut by 64% World Bank, (2011). While many skilled, well-paid Nigerians have been employed by oil corporations, the majority of Nigerians and most especially the people of the Niger Delta states have become poorer since the 1960s.
The Delta region has a steadily growing population estimated at more than 30 million people in 2005, and accounts for more than 23% of Nigeria’s total population, the population density is also among the highest in the world, with 265 people per square kilometre, according to the Niger Delta Development Commission (2010). This population is expanding at a rapid 3% per year and the oil capital, Port Harcourt, and other large towns are also growing quickly. Poverty and urbanization in Nigeria are growing, and official corruption is considered a fact of life. Daily Independent, (1993). The resulting scenario is one in which urbanization does not bring accompanying economic growth to provide jobs.
A 1979 constitutional amendment gave the federal government full ownership and rights to all Nigerian territory and also declared that eminent domain compensation for seized land would “be based on the value of the crops on the land at the time of its acquisition, not on the value of the land itself.” The Nigerian government could now distribute the land to oil companies as it deemed fit, said the Human Rights Watch.
The 1970s and 1980s saw government promised benefits for the Niger Delta peoples fall through and fail to materialize, with the Ogoni growing increasingly dissatisfied and their environmental, social, and economic apparatus rapidly deteriorating. The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) was formed in 1992, spearheaded by Ogoni playwright and author Ken Saro-Wiwa, became the major organization representing the Ogoni people in their struggle for ethnic and environmental rights. Its primary targets, and at times adversaries, have been the Nigerian government and Royal Dutch Shell. Daily Independent (1992).
In December 1992, the conflict between the Ogoni and the oil companies escalated to a level of greater seriousness and intensity on both sides. Both parties began carrying out acts of violence and MOSOP issued an ultimatum to the oil companies (Shell, Chevron, and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation) demanding some $10 billion in accumulated royalties, damages and compensation, and “immediate stoppage of environmental degradation”, as well as negotiations for mutual agreement on all future drilling.
The Ogoni people threatened mass action to disrupt oil company operations if they failed to comply with MOSOP demands, and thereby shifted the focus of their actions from the unresponsive federal government to the oil companies operating in the region. The rationale for this assignment of responsibility was the benefits accrued to the oil companies from extracting the natural wealth of the Ogoni homeland, and the central government’s neglectful failure to act brought about violence in the Ogoni Land. The government responded by banning public gatherings and declaring disturbances to oil production acts of treason. Oil extraction from the territory slowed to a trickle of 10,000 barrels per day (1,600 m3/d) (.5% of the national total) Aaron, (1992).
On May 21st 1994, Military repression escalated, soldiers and mobile policemen appeared in most of the Ogoni villages. On that day, four Ogoni chiefs (all on the conservative side of a schism within MOSOP over strategy) were brutally murdered. Saro-Wiwa, head of the opposing faction, had been denied entry to Ogoniland on the day of the murders, but he was detained in connection with the killings. The occupying forces, led by Major Paul Okuntimo of Rivers State Internal Security, claimed to be ‘searching for those directly responsible for the killings of the four Ogonis.’ However, witnesses say that they engaged in terror operations against the general Ogoni population. Amnesty International characterized the policy as deliberate terrorism. By mid-June, the security forces had razed 30 villages, detained 600 people and killed at least 40. This figure eventually rose to 2,000 civilian deaths and the displacement of around 100,000 internal refugees.
In May 1994, nine activists from the movement who later became known as ‘The Ogoni Nine’, among them Ken Saro-Wiwa, were arrested and accused of incitement to murder following the deaths of four Ogoni elders. Saro-Wiwa and his comrades denied the charges, but were imprisoned for over a year before being found guilty and sentenced to death by a specially-convened tribunal, by General Sani Abacha, on 10 November 1995. The activists were denied due process and upon being found guilty, were hanged by the Nigerian state. Daily times, (1994).
The executions met with an immediate international response. The trial was widely criticised by human rights organisations and the governments of other states, who condemned the Nigerian government’s long history of detaining its critics, mainly pro-democracy and other political activists. Daily times, (1994). The Commonwealth of Nations, which had pleaded for clemency, suspended Nigeria’s membership in response to the executions. The United States, the United Kingdom, and the EU all implemented sanctions-but not on petroleum, Nigeria’s primary export. Daily times, (1994).
Shell claimed to have asked the Nigerian government to show clemency towards those found guilty, but said its request was refused. However, 2001 Greenpeace report found that “two witnesses that accused them; Saro-Wiwa and the other activists, later admitted that Shell and the military had bribed them with promises of money and jobs at Shell. Shell admitted having given money to the Nigerian military, who brutally tried to silence the voices which claimed justice”. Daily times, (2001)
As of 2006, the situation in Ogoniland has eased significantly, assisted by the transition to democratic rule in 1999. However, no attempts have been made by the government or any international body to bring about justice by investigating and prosecuting those involved in the violence and property destruction that have occurred in Ogoniland, although individual plaintiffs have brought a class action lawsuit against Shell in the US. Ijaw Unrest (1998–1999).
The December 1998 All Ijaw Youths Conference crystallized the Ijaws’ struggle for petroleum resource control with the formation of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) and the issuing of the Kaiama Declaration. In it, long-held Ijaw concerns about the loss of control over their homeland and their own lives to the oil companies were joined with a commitment to direct action. In the declaration, and in a letter to the companies, the Ijaw people called for oil companies to suspend operations and withdraw from Ijaw territory. The IYC pledged “to struggle peacefully for freedom, self-determination and ecological justice,” and prepared a campaign of celebration, prayer, and direct action, Operation Climate Change, beginning December 28.
In December 1998, two warships and 10-15,000 Nigerian troops occupied Bayelsa and Delta states as the Ijaw Youth Congress (IYC) mobilized for Operation Climate Change. Soldiers entered the Bayelsa, the state capital of Yenagoa, announced they had come because youths were trying to disrupt the operation of the oil companies. On the morning of December 30, two thousand young people processed through Yenagoa, dressed in black, singing and dancing. Soldiers opened fire with rifles, machine guns, and tear gas, killing at least three protesters and arresting twenty-five more. After a march demanding the release of those detained was turned back by soldiers, three more protesters were shot dead including Nwashuku Okeri and Ghadafi Ezeifile. The military declared a state of emergency throughout Bayelsa state, imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew, and banned meetings. At military roadblocks, local residents were severely beaten or detained. At night, soldiers invaded private homes, terrorizing residents with beatings and women and girls with rape. Daily Sun (1998).
On January 4, 1999 about one hundred soldiers from the military base at Chevron’s Escravos facility attacked Opia and Ikiyan, two Ijaw communities in Delta State. Bright Pablogba, the traditional leader of Ikiyan, who came to the river to negotiate with the soldiers, was shot along with a seven-year-old girl and possibly dozens of others. Of the approximately 1,000 people living in the two villages, four people were found dead and sixty-two were still missing months after the attack. The same soldiers set the villages ablaze, destroyed canoes and fishing equipment, killed livestock, and destroyed churches and religious shrines.
Nonetheless, Operation Climate Change continued, and disrupted Nigerian oil supplies through much of 1999 by turning off valves throughout Ijaw territory. In the context of high conflict between the Ijaw and the Nigerian Federal Government (and its police and army), the military carried out the Odi massacre, killing scores if not hundreds of Ijaw people. Subsequent actions by Ijaw against the oil industry included both renewed efforts at nonviolent action and attacks on oil installations and foreign oil workers.
A February 2016 explosion in a pipeline operated by Shell Petroleum Development Corporation, a Royal Dutch Shell subsidiary to the Shell Forcados export terminal halted both production and imports. Speculation centered on militants using divers means towards destroying pipelines in the Niger Delta Region. E. I. Kachikwu, (2016). Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, the minister of state for petroleum and the head of Nigeria’s oil company said Nigerian production was down 300,000 barrels a day as a result of the Niger Delta Militant activities. On May 11 Shell closed its Bonny oil facility. Three soldiers guarding the installation were killed in an attack, said Col. Isa Ado of the Joint Military Task Force. A bomb had closed down Chevron’s Escravos GTL facility a week earlier. On May 19 ExxonMobil‘s Qua Iboe terminal shut down and evacuated its workers due to militant threats. Daily Sun, (2016).
The Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), a militant group in the Niger Delta, publicly announced its existence in March 2016. The NDA has attacked oil-producing facilities in the delta, causing the shutdown of oil terminals and a fall in Nigeria’s oil production to its lowest level in twenty years. Punch, (2016). The attacks caused Nigeria to fall behind Angola as Africa’s largest oil producer. The reduced oil output has hampered the Nigerian economy and destroyed its budget, since Nigeria depends on the oil industry for nearly all its government revenue. Omotola and Patrick, (2016).
In late August 2016, NDA declared a ceasefire and agreed to negotiate with the Nigerian government. After the declaration of a ceasefire by Niger Delta Avengers, Reformed Egbesu Fraternities comprising the three militants groups Egbesu Boys of the Niger Delta, Egbesu Red Water Lions and Egbesu Mightier Fraternity; announced a 60-day ceasefire. On 9 August 2016, Niger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate declared its existence and threatened to destroy refineries in Port Harcourt and Warri within 48 hours, as well as a gas plant in Otu Jeremi within a few days. The next day, the group reportedly blew up a major oil pipeline operated by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) in Isoko. On 12 August, the group warned that it will blow up additional oil installations in the future.
- On 19 August, the group reportedly blew up two pipelines belonging to NPDC in the Delta State.
- On 30 August, the group blew up the Ogor-Oteri oil pipeline. On 4 September, the group claimed it had rigged all marked oil and gas facilities with explosives and warned residents living near them to evacuate. Vanguard, (2016).