Conflict Management In The Niger Delta (A Case Study Of The Amnesty Programme)
This study examines the conflict in Niger Delta region of Nigeria. The region is blessed with oil and mineral resources that have continued to draw attention in the oil industry since the discovery of oil in commercial quantity in the mid 1950’s. The exclusion of the area from the benefits of the oil appears to have fueled the crisis of agitation by the people of the region.
The project work takes as its baseline, the examination of the Niger Delta people and pre-modern conflict era, oil exploration and conflict in the region, the nature of the crisis and its dimension. The effort at resolving the crisis form military option to amnesty programme. A critical look at post-amnesty programme.
The Niger Delta area is the most fragile region in Nigeria. The presence of oil and gas in the region makes it the goose that lays the golden egg, thus making the region the center of economic and political activities in the country.
The Niger Delta was a foremost part of the area later to be called Nigeria and incorporated into the Atlantic world economy from the 16th century. Thus, the region developed a monetized economy and become ahead of contemporary developments in others part of the future Nigeria, leading to a substantial degree of prosperity and the development of a proud culture in the region. This rare feat constitutes the basis for the formation of own identity.
However, the struggle for self determination and proper distribution of resources among groups within the region and Nigerians ethnic group started with the formation and consolidation of the Nigeria colonial state from the 1940’s. This struggle became inevitable because Niger Delta is a dispersal of small ethnic groups which were force together with predatory and dominant majority ethnic groups.
This minority question was never addressed before Nigeria got her independence in 1960 despite The Henry Commission of 1956 that attempted to solve the issue of minority. The point here is to present a fact that the Niger Delta crisis is rooted in the foundation and structure of the Nigeria state. Over the years the question has contributed greatly to the emergence of violence in Niger Delta region over oil and mineral resources. The insurgency in Niger Delta whether oil or crude oil benefit bother on the foundation and structure of Nigeria state.
These works examine the Niger Delta people before 1960. The research contends that before independence, the people of the region live in peace despite some record of conflict among the ethnic groups in Niger Delta region. The origin of crisis in Niger Delta region and also took a look at the attempt at addressing the crisis through military option to peaceful means.
Aims / Objectives
The aims and objectives of this study include:
- To examine as baseline study that Niger Delta people and the extent to which it relates with others.
- To examine the Genesis of the crisis of agitation in the region and how it affects the Nigeria state.
- To examine the military option which hitherto escalate the Niger Delta crisis to insurgence in the country.
- To examine the nature of the conflict as it portents to undermine the economy of Nigeria.
- To identify and evaluate the amnesty programmes as relevant approach in addressing the Niger Delta struggle.
Significance of the Study
The Niger Delta question is an important discourse in Nigeria today. This is so because of the discovery of oil in the region, thus making the region the life wire of the country economy. Over the years resource has turn to serious issue as a result of the neglect of the region. The distribution and the development oil has led to violence and armed conflict between the people and the federal government.
The relevance of this study is to investigate into the genesis of the problem and provide a framework for a critical analysis of why it is important to ensure that the amnesty idea is the best possible solution to the resolution of the crisis. This work will provide first hand information for further research.
In the course of research for this work relevant data and information were obtained from the main sources. These were primary and secondary source.
Primary sources which were utilized in the course of the research for this work from archival research. Material was consulted at the Edo State Library, Benin City, Benin Institute of Studies, Benin City and the national archive at Ibadan. They include intelligence report other documents relating to this works.
Secondary source which consulted in some university and public libraries across the country include textbooks, journals and periodicals information obtained from primary sources. These sourced helped to provide data for a critical analysis of conflict management in the Niger Delta that will study Amnesty programme.
Scope of Study
The scope of this study on conflict management in the Niger Delta: A case study of the Amnesty programme is limited to the genesis of the Niger Delta question on the struggle for equal distribution of resources which later manifested to oil and mineral resources control. Its manifestation took the shape of violence and insurgence that inevitably led to military option until amnesty programme.
There is yet not much academic work on conflict management in the Niger Delta: A case study of the Amnesty Programme. This however, cannot be said of Nigeria where there are a number of works deal on the Nigeria evolution as a state in politics, economy and the society. There is however, certain literature that deal on relevant aspects on conflict management in Niger Delta. Some of the literature in this group include A. Boro work “A twelve Day Revolution” 1R.T. Akinyele “Patriarch of Minority activities in the Niger Delta”2 O. Ikime The merchant prince of the Niger Delta3. Boro, it highlight the need for a revolution as the solution to the continue exclusion of the area from benefiting from the oil. Akinyele work examine that the domination by the three major groups via Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo as the remote cause of the crisis in the region which border on unequal distribution of government services and institution and exploitation of the resources. Suberu work identified five broad themes as the basis for the people demand and grievances, the disposition of mineral law rent, the application of federally collected mineral revenues, the appropriate institutions and fiscal response to the ecological problem of the oil producing area, the responsibility of the oil prospecting companies to the oil producing communities and the appropriate arrangement of securing the integrity and autonomy of the oil producing communities within the federal structure.
The works are base on conflict in Niger Delta and the problems in the region. This however, would assist in the theoretical analysis of this study.
From the above, it can be seen that none of the existing literature has carried out any substantial analysis of the subject of our study, as their primary focus was on conflict and problem in the Niger Delta.
This however, it will provide the framework for a comprehensive and detailed analysis for this work. Thus, this work will provide a useful and detailed idea for further research on the conflict management in Niger Delta.
This project work is divided into five chapters:
- Chapter One: The Niger Delta; its people, cultures and values. This chapter provides a brief historic background of the Niger Delta people.
- Chapter Two: The Nature of Niger delta crisis (2003 to 2011). This chapter provides the analysis of the agitation move from peaceful on to insurgence in the region.
- Chapter Three: The military option that escalates the crisis.
- Chapter Four: The Amnesty Programme
- Chapter Five: Conclusion
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In the course of this research work, the researcher took a critical look at the Amnesty package as a panacea to the incessant Niger Delta crisis.
Oil in large quantity was first discovered in Oloibiri in 1958 and since then the region has continuously produce oil for the entire nation. One would have expected that such region so blessed with oil wealth that its streets would have been made with “Gold”, ironically this is not true because “the goose that lays the golden egg” is being denied of the eggs they lay.1
A critical examination of the data at the researchers disposal revealed that the Niger Delta people are being abandoned and subjected to lots of ecological and health problems as a result of the exploration taking place in the region. More saddening is the spate of under-development of infrastructural amenities that stares the region at the face now.2
Finally, the researcher advices that apart from wild attention and recognition the region has gained, rapid development of the region should be effected by the newly established Niger Delta Ministry.3
Also, strengthening the region while reducing the power of the federal and central government, that way, the regimes will give out their best towards fostering a more united and stronger Nigeria. Now so, much apathy, disunity, nepotism, corruption and greed. People do not give their best because there is no basis for such in a country where only the people in the corridors of power are comfortable.4
The amnesty package is a right step in the right direction but it should not end with mere unconditional pardon for militants but should extend to how to resolve the root causes of the Niger Delta problem. The government should be bold enough to take inventory of the background of militants to know what programme(s) suit them instead of publicizing the amnesty package.5
Finally, the issue of unity is the greatest challenge that is facing the people of the region. Because of the natural geographical settling of the area, compiled with the difficult terrain and the balkanization of the people, its been very difficult for them to recognize themselves as one people. This is not unconnected to the vastness of the area and the multiplicity of the ethnic nationalities therein.6
Clearly, good rehabilitation centre should be built for repentant militants to encourage a good integration processes into the society.
Consequently, the Niger Delta post-amnesty package should go beyond more monetary compensation because most of these militants have been exposed to large money as proceeds from bunkering and hostage takings.7